PREMIUM
Sport

Important Sunday fixture for Wombats

Kicking goals: Rhys Smith (main picture) kicked his biggest bag of goals for the season (he has 18 so far this season) at Stanhope on Saturday, against Longwood. He kicked five and was among 13 goalkickers for the team, while leading goalkicker Tomas Rennie was a little off target but finished the day with six goals. He has 27 for the season.
Straight six: Tomas Rennie kicked six goals for Stanhope in its 225 point win on Saturday.

Lancaster’s Sunday fixture with Violet Town is its most important step en-route to a charge into the Kyabram District Football League top four and a finals double chance.

The Wombats tackle the Towners at Lancaster in a stand alone fixture, at Lancaster, on Sunday.

Violet Town is a game clear of Lancaster, but has a significantly inferior percentage.

A win will move Lancaster into fifth and within site of fourth ranked Stanhope and third placed Shepparton East, which it will need to displace in the final five home and away rounds to earn a double chance.

The weekend’s round 12 matches feature two blockbusters on Saturday when top team, and unbeaten, Avenel tackled second ranked Murchison-Toolamba.

The other big match is third versus fourth, Shepparton East and Stanhope, the result of which will open the door for the Wombats if they can score a win against Violet Town.

Lancaster was unable to shake a determined Dookie United at the weekend until late in the afternoon, eventually winning 10.14 (74) to Dookie’s 8.7 (55).

Dookie led at quarter-time and trailed by just four points at the final change, the Wombats win influenced by another brilliant display by half-back Luke Davies.

The younger brother of reigning McNamara Medallist, and club coach Tom, has almost outshone his brother with his performances this season.

Zac Cerrone, who has returned to the club after a stint in the GVL with Kyabram, continued his good recent form and kicked two goals.

With Zed Besim (three goals) and Jake Mills (two) they accounted for a large all but three of Lancaster’s goals.

After the Violet Town match the Wombats face four teams outside the top eight — Undera (12th), Girgarre (10th), Rushworth (13th), before facing Dookie again in the final round.

They have a much easier draw than Stanhope, which must beat Shepparton East this weekend in order to stay in the top four hunt.

Stanhope’s final four matches are with Avenel (a Sunday game at Stanhope), Merrigum, Murchison-Toolamba (second) and Tallygaroopna.

– Percentage could play a part in deciding the top four teams in the Kyabram District League this season, Stanhope’s 225 point win against Longwood on Saturday helping it to increase its hopes of grabbing the double chance.

Stanhope kicked 35.16 (226) to Longwood’s solitary point at the weekend, with 13 players joining in the goals feast.

Key forward Tomas Rennie and livewire forward Jye Adamson kicked six goals each in the win, while opportunist Rhys Smith bagged five in the victory.

Jason Leocarta, Ryan Semmel and Mark Adamson all kicked three goals, while veteran Jarrad Mason and mid-field star Luke Semmel added two apiece.

Stanhope has a 9-2 win-loss record this season, separated only by percentage from third ranked Shepparton East.

It will need to cause at least one upset, against one of the top three teams, in the final five rounds of the season in order to keep its fourth ranking.

The team is hoping to have Luke Mann and Chris Gleeson back in the team in coming weeks, which will assist in it being able to compete against the league’s strongest combinations.

Seventh ranked Merrigum and Dookie (eighth) both have tough finishes to the season, while Nagambie (ninth) also faces the three top teams in the run to the finals.

It may open the door for Girgarre, which will need to win at least four of its five remaining matches to challenge for the last spot in the finals.

Apart from Lancaster the Kangaroos do not face another team above it on the ladder in the final five weeks. It will need a significant percentage boost in order to reach the finals.

– Girgarre will be forced to do things the hard way if it wants to finish among the KDL’s top eight, and play finals in 2022.

The Kangaroos caught Violet Town without its champion goalkicker, Josh Mellington, on the weekend, but suffered a 48-point loss as his understudy Jack Exell dominated the match.

Exell kicked nine goals to take his 10 game total for the season to 56, after sis last weekend when Mellington also missed. Exell now sits only eight goals behind Mellington on the goalkicking table.

Girgarre coach Damien Cupido kicked four of his team’s nine goals and has 55 for the season. He will be hoping to influence Girgarre’s rise into the top eight in the final five weeks.

The Kangaroos have 12th ranked Undera this weekend before facing 13th ranked Rushworth and, in three weeks, a July 30 fixture with Lancaster — during the league’s split round.

In the final two weeks Girgarre faces Tallygaroopna (11th) and bottom team Longwood, on a Sunday to end the year.

Wins in four of those games will have the team finish on 28 points.

Dookie is currently on 16 points, and sits eighth, two likely wins to come from its final five games.

Four Girgarre wins would put them inside the eight, as long as Nagambie results go the way they are expected — the Lakers face the three top teams in the final five weeks.

– Merrigum will need to put its 157-point loss to Avenel at the weekend in the rear vision mirror as quickly as possible.

With six wins this season the team is ranked seventh and two wins clear of eighth ranked Dookie. It will need to win at least two of its final five matches to guarantee it qualifies for the finals.

Those wins should come against Rushworth and Nagambie, giving the team eight wins for the season.

In the other three games it faces teams inside the top four.

With just two goals on the weekend the Bulldogs will need to step up as its percentage took a huge hit and is the 10th highest in the competition.

Merrigum didn’t score in the first half against Avenel and faced a 102 point half-time deficit.

Jack Sinclair was again the Bulldogs’ best performer, while experienced Rohan Hearn did his bit in defence and Zak Parkinson was one of its two goalkickers.