Saints up for the battle in CHFL

HOME TOWN HERO: Essendon VFL captain Nick O'Brien will play for Carngham-Linton on Saturday.

HOME TOWN HERO: Essendon VFL captain Nick O'Brien will play for Carngham-Linton on Saturday.

As Carngham-Linton prepares to take centre stage in the Central Highlands Football League this weekend, its president Sam Richardson believes the club is on the upward spiral.

Little more than 12 months ago, Richardson was talking about possible mergers as the Saints battled with life in the tough 18-club competition.

A winless 2016 campaign followed and a serious battle for a senior coach ensued.

But the club appears to be heading in the right direction with solid senior football numbers and two wins from the opening nine rounds of the current season.

“Coming from a season with not having a win, you can’t go any lower in the stakes than that in a seniors perspective,” Richardson said.

“So we really did set out to get a little bit of respect back, I suppose. We certainly went out with a view to attract people back to the club playing-wise and supporter-wise.”

Despite some issues with the strength of the netball program and numbers in junior football, Richardson said he was much more optimistic about the club’s future than he was at the end of the 2016 campaign.

“We knew that if we continued down that path and had another year similar to that – without having had any success whatsoever – it would have been really starting to get pretty thin ice,” he said.

Plenty of football supporters are expected to head to Snake Valley on Saturday for Carngham-Linton’s clash with Buninyong.

Junior product Nick O’Brien will make a special appearance for the Saints alongside former Essendon teammate Jason Winderlich, with Bombers great Dustin Fletcher to assist with the coaching from the sidelines.

Richardson said the round 10 fixture is a big occasion and one that he hoped could see the club “compete with the big boys”.

“We don’t want to be down the bottom and getting kicked around. We want to try and put ourselves out there and see what we can do,” he said.

Saturday’s senior match will begin from 2.30pm, with the Saints looking to end a run of three-straight defeats against Buninyong, which is last season’s grand finalists.