Eastern Oval, Saturday, 2.15pm
LAST TIME THEY MET: North Ballarat City 15.15 (105) East Point 4.12 (36)
SEVENTH in his first year.
Fifth in his second.
East Point coach Glen Wilkins will be satisfied with nothing less than another push up the Ballarat Football League ladder this season in his tenure at the Eastern Oval.
And to do this the Kangaroos have to begin claiming the scalps of more teams above them in the pecking order.
This means starting with North Ballarat City at the Eastern Oval on Saturday.
They met just the once last season, with City handing East Point a 69-point drubbing.
Get a win over Jordyn Burke’s North Ballarat outfit this time and it will mark progress.
Wilkins has a good feeling about this season, certain that he will have a stronger team to work with.
“We’re ready to go.”
He said in his first year East Point won eight games to miss the finals by percentage and then last season won 10 and was unlucky not to progress to the second week of the finals – being beaten by Lake Wendouree by two point in an elimination final.
Wilkins said there was no reason why East Point should not continue to improve. Not surprisingly Wilkins is extremely wary of North Ballarat City.
He said there was an unknown factor about last year’s grand finalist after a significant turnover of key players.
One thing is for sure he is not about to taken City lightly, Burke himself providing a new dimension up forward.
Burke has been named at centre half forward alongside the dynamic Derick Micallef and exciting recruit Marty Curtis.
”They’re always strong.”
He said they would be a great scalp to get first-up. Wilkins is pleased with the players East has attracted, with Nick Hind from Clunes, Jack Savige (Carngham-Linton), Chris Quinlan (Springbank) and Nick Weightman (Bungaree), who is on North Ballarat Roosters’ VFL list, all adding to the depth of its list.
Keegan Mellington will be another bonus.
Also on the Roosters’ list, the former Wimmera player virtually missed all last season with a knee injury.
Hind has been selected to play alongside Savige across half back, while Weightman goes into the midfield and Quinlan fills a spot on the half forward line.
Maddingley Park, Saturday, 2.15pm
Last time: round 14 (2015) Bacchus Marsh 13.13 (91) d Sunbury 11.10 (76)
Bacchus Marsh: Had two wins over the Lions last season and will be eager to continue the sequence. First-year coach Travis Hodgson isn upbeat with recruits David Burton and Jadyn Trowsdale, and Alex del Papa, Matt Denham, Rhys McKay, Coby Miller returning to bolster ranks. However, ruckman there will no Tom Wardell, who is facing surgery after breaking a foot for a second time in the pre-season.
Sunbury: The Lions are up and about with a much experienced line-up, with Alik Magin, Ben and Jess McInerney and Grant Valles all ones to watch. to complement a largely young list. They will be missing two of their biggest additions Chris Tsardakis (calf) and Patrick Macdonough (shoulder) to injury though.
Marty Busch Reserve, Saturday, 2.15pm
Last time: round 8 (2015) Ballarat 23.17 (155) d Sebastopol 5.5 (35)
Sebastopol: The arrival of Brett Goodes from the Western Bulldogs was just the off-season development the Burra needed. Just having him in the ranks will means Sebastopol stands much taller as it strives to lift itself off the bottom of the ladder.He is not the only new face as Sebastopol looks to build its stocks.
Ballarat: Development is a major focus for the Swans, which have again experienced some significant personnel changes. VFL-listed Glen Coleman will provide some spark after being given the all clear after a shoulder injury, while the returning Corey Gills, Brad McDonald and ruckman Marcus Powling be other names to watch to join the experience of Shane Hutchinson, Damien Larkin and Daniel; Kennedy.
McPherson Park, Saturday, 6.15pm
Last time: round 13 (2015) Melton 22.16 (148) d Melton South 11.11 (77)
Melton: The Bloods will debut their 2015 under-18.5 best and fairest Riley Walker, along with impressive recruit and onballer Mark Maric, who is expected to menace for rivals in attack. Unfortunately though Melton has lost two of key recruits to injury - Jack Walker (hamstring) and Hayden Gray, who will miss up to eight weeks after disclocating a shoulder. Coach Brad Murphy said Gray had been flying in the pre-season and it was setback the Bloods could have done without.
Melton South: While the Panthers did it tough in a heavy loss to Darley first-up, it had nothing to do with effort. They matched the Devils in patches after a slow start, but just came up a little short in the class department and then ran out of steam after throwing everything at it.
Wendouree Reserve, Saturday, 6.15pm
Last time: round 16 (2015) Redan 13.12 (90) d Lake Wendouree 7.11 (53)
Lake Wendouree: VFL experienced Nick Peters, defender Tom Litore and returning duo of Ben Taylor and Hayden Cartledge will all add depth and physical strength in a big game. There be no Isaac Kirby and Tanner Robertson (both suspended) though, but expect a fired up Lakers.
Redan: The Lions are wasting no time promoting youngsters. Lachie Lamb moves up from the under-18s to make his debut. Patrick Fitzgibbon is another from last year's thirds for what promises to be a great contest. Kyle Mackay and Scott Whiting also get a chance with recruit Kurt Lenehan in absence of Dean Matthews (calf), Matt Colbert (hamstring), Hayden Riley (foot) and Dean Chester (suspension).
Prediction: Lake Wendouree
at Learmonth, 2.30pm
Last time: Waubra 18.9 (117) d Rokewood-Corindhap 6.9 (45), round 2, 2015
ROKEWOOD-CORINDHAP coach Mick Hynes believes he now has the players to feel confident of matching it with the better teams in the competition.
The Grasshoppers, fresh from a round one victory against Skipton, get the chance to prove how far they’ve come against a Waubra side which reached an elimination final last season.
“This year I’m more than confident that we are (able to match it with the better sides) and hopefully we can show that this weekend,” Hynes said.
“I think we’ve got the personnel now.”
Backline utility Jonty Wall and recruits Isaac Quinlivan - an onballer - and Harry Stonnill - a ruckman - are inclusions for this weekend’s clash, while fellow new signings Jonathan Noy (collarbone) and Luke Campbell (concussion) are on the injury list as a result of knocks against the Emus.
Saturday’s match will be played at Learmonth with the ground at Rokewood currently too hard for football.
Waubra heads into the clash on the back of a comfortable round one win over Carngham-Linton.
The Roos selectors have picked assistant coach Mal Niblett and premiership player Nick Lawrence to bolster the defence, while Nick Moran has been left out owing to a knee injury he sustained at training on Tuesday night.
at Beaufort, 2.30pm
Last time: Beaufort 10.8 (68) d Springbank 9.11 (65), round 2, 2015
BEAUFORT has been rocked by the serious neck injury to Mathew Begbie, but will need to refocus for the blockbuster against reigning premiers Springbank on Saturday.
The Crows have asked the Central Highlands Football League to investigate the incident, which occurred in the round one clash against Daylesford and left Begbie requiring surgery in a Melbourne hospital.
He is now on the mend, but has already announced his retirement from the game.
The Crows will also be without coach Dale Power this weekend, with his impending replacement Rohan Brown set to lead the senior side against the Tigers.
Brown will take the reins of a team that started in good fashion against the Bulldogs and beat Springbank in this fixture 12 months ago.
Coming back to help the Crows’ cause is versatile tall Jake Garvey, who will run out for his 100th senior match with the club on Saturday.
Springbank got through a potential danger match against Dunnstown with a big second half last weekend and coming in to boost the team for the trip to Beaufort is joint-coach Michael Searl and key position player Peter Lewis.
Searl’s sidekick Nick Couch has been struggling with a calf issue, but is selected to play against the Crows.
at Bungaree, Saturday, 2.30pm
Last time: Bungaree 13.8 (86) d Ballan 6.11 (47), round 2, 2015
Bungaree: Dynamic defender Mitch Bruns is set for a stint on the sidelines after injuring his ankle in the Demons' round one win over Gordon. He is the big out for the clash with Ballan, while veteran onballer Chris O'Keefe is a chance to come in and play his first game of the year.
Ballan: The Blues opened the year with a good win over Creswick and now face a serious test against one of the competition powerhouses. Ruckman Trent Laurie and half-forward/winger Lachlan Snaith missed against the Wickers and were among the potential inclusions being considered by coach Justin McConnell.
at Buninyong, Saturday, 2.30pm
Last time: Buninyong 14.14 (98) d Daylesford 9.9 (63), round 2, 2015
Buninyong: Defender Cameron Baker is set to miss the Bombers' clash with Daylesford after picking up a groin injury in the win over Learmonth. However, the team will get back swingman Adam Scott, who missed the season-opener with a calf issue.
Daylesford: The Bulldogs were outclassed by Beaufort last weekend and things don't get any easier in round two. In fact, it's an extremely difficult start to the campaign for new coach Marcus Goonan and his men, who have upcoming games against Hepburn, Creswick, Bungaree and Ballan to look forward to.
at Creswick, 3pm
Creswick 14.15 (99) d Clunes 8.6 (54), round 2, 2015
IF CRESWICK hopes to be a finals participant in 2016, success in the upcoming three-match sequence is vital.
Wickers football manager Brad Jarvis knows just how important it is.
“The next three weeks we’ve got Clunes, Learmonth and Daylesford, which we are all probably at a very similar level,” Jarvis said.
“You’ve got to win those games or that's the season.”
Creswick was blown out of the water in the first term against Ballan last Saturday, and despite rallying after the break and matching it with the Blues for the rest of the match, the Wickers were beaten by 40 points.
They were without recruit Sam Lehmann for the round one encounter, but the ex-Buninyong player has been named as a key inclusion into the side for this weekend.
Clunes is also fronting from a round one defeat, with its second-half capitulation resulting in a whopping 160-point belting from Hepburn.
The Magpies were 42 points down at the main break, but conceded 21 goals in the third and fourth terms to fall to the bottom of the ladder.
That was the first game in charge for new Clunes coach Dale Cowell, who said his side will be going full-on against a major rival this Saturday.
“We won’t be leaving any petrol in the tank this game,” Cowell said.
at Dunnstown, Saturday, 2.30pm
Last time: Newlyn 11.7 (73) d Dunnstown 7.3 (45), round 2, 2015
Dunnstown: The Towners took it up to reigning premiers Springbank in round one, but faded after half time in a 51-point defeat. This looms as a big game for coach Justin Abrams and his charges, which must beat the sides around them if they hope to push for finals in 2016.
Newlyn: Assistant coach and top onballer Dan Wehrung is named for his first game of 2016. Cats coach Kal Young said Wehrung missed the big win over Smythesdale last weekend through illness, but is right for the important clash with Dunnstown on Saturday.
at Gordon, Saturday, 2.30pm
Last time: Gordon 36.24 (240) d Carngham-Linton 6.6 (42), round 2, 2015
Carngham-Linton: The Saints have been forced to move their home game to Gordon this Saturday, with the ground at Linton currently suffering from a lack of water. Carngham-Linton, which lost by 64 points to Waubra in round one, will be looking forward to more winnable games against Rokewood-Corindhap and Smythesdale following the bout with last year's grand finalists.
Gordon: The Eagles have been forced to leave out recruits Ben Peters (hamstring) and James Kirkpatrick (concussion) after they suffered injuries in the opening-round loss to Bungaree. However, the big inclusion is Chris McGuigan, who missed the loss to the Demons through suspension.
at Hepburn, Saturday, 2.30pm
Last time: Hepburn 16.16 (112) d Learmonth 4.7 (31), round 2, 2015
Hepburn: After a 160-point drubbing of Clunes in round one, Hepburn is on top of the ladder. And following that polished performance, Burras coach Jason Olver is confident he'll have the same side running out on Saturday.
Learmonth: The Lakies, beaten by Buninyong in round one, are still awaiting a clearance for key position defender Conor Dickson. The Courier understands Dickson will meet with Sebastopol on Friday in the hope of breaking his contract and being able to play with Learmonth in 2016.
at Smythesdale, Saturday, 2.30pm
Last time: Skipton 16.19 (115) d Smythesdale 3.0 (18), round 2, 2015
Smythesdale: It wasn't a win that the Bulldogs were after, but Saturday's defeat at the hands of Newlyn returned some positives, including the team's biggest total since mid-way through 2013. Coach Stephen Frys comes into the side for round two, while Branxholme Wallacedale pick-up Brenton Heron lines up for his Smythesdale senior debut.
Skipton: The Emus are set to debut recruits Austin Jones and Adam Romey, who were unavailable for last weekend's loss to Rokewood-Corindhap. Jones, the brother of Skipton player Mitch, is from Redan, while Romey has been lured from Wahgunyah.
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