|After five rounds of the 2017 Wimmera Hockey Association season, all opponents have been played once which now gives a good indication of where each team sits within the competition and shows what they need to do to be part of the finals action at the end of the season.
The reigning premiers in the Open, Women’s and Under 16 competitions have had the perfect start to their title defences as they all remain undefeated so far in 2017, but the challengers to their supremacy are also beginning to emerge.
The ladder in the Open competition has taken on a predictable look, with the Yanac Tigers followed by the Warrack Hoops and Kaniva Cobras occupying the top three places, and the Dimboola Burras are the best of the remaining three teams to this point in the season. This is very similar to how the ladder has finished in this division for the last five years.
All three games in this round had clear cut results, with the top three teams all registering a comfortable victory over a lower placed opponent.
The Dimboola Burras went into their game against the Warrack Hoops needing a win to stay in touch with the competition leaders, but were no match for their well drilled opponent.
Firm and accurate short passing utilizing the whole width of the field by the Hoops allowed them to bypass the better Dimboola players and create many scoring opportunities.
The final 4 goal margin could have been higher had it not been for solid defence by Caleb Halsall at full back, Daniel Danisch on the half back line and goalkeeper Ellie Woods.
The Hoops controlled the midfield with Marcus Williamson, Hamish Wagenknecht and Todd Krahe repelling many Dimboola forward moves and setting up many for their own forwards.
With a goal less than five minutes after the start of their game, the Kaniva Cobras gained control of their encounter with the Horsham Hurricanes early and they built on this regularly throughout the rest of the game.
Luke Shalders converted a short corner for this first score, and Clint Beattie scored a second goal off another short corner to give the Cobras a two goal lead by half time.
Goals to Adam Wallace and Jimmy Mitchell in the second half extended the lead to four which looked to be the final score only minutes before the end of the game, when Will Gulline connected with a sharp cross from Stuart Hoffman, deflecting the ball into the goals to put the Hurricanes on the scoreboard., but the final result was still a three goal victory to Kaniva.
This win has kept the Cobras in touch with the competition leaders, and established a six point buffer between the top three and bottom three teams on the ladder.
A goal from a converted short corner four minutes into the game by the Yanac Tigers sounded an ominous warning to the bottom placed Nhill Rangers.
Solid defending by the Rangers, who needed to be bolstered by a number of the Nhill Women and Under 16 players, allowed them to go into the half time break only one goal behind, but the relentless pressure created by the Tigers eventually breeched the Rangers’ defence and they were able to finish the game with a total of six goals, with Shaun Alexander and Jamie Harding contributing two each.
Mont and Blake Miller were voted the best players for Nhill and Todd Alexander and Jayden Honeyman earned the votes for the Tigers.
The Horsham Jets have moved back into second place on the Women’s ladder after they overcame a determined Kaniva Women, with Sophie Robinson scoring twice and Ashlyn Allen once to establish the three goal result.
Robinson, Launa Schilling and Allen were named as the Jets’ best players and reliable full back Rachel Clark, and Lisa Stimpson and Jemima Bothe were the better players for Kaniva.
The Warrack Women tried hard to fend off the Dimboola Roos, which is shown by their best three players being full backs Tiffany Bull and Olinda Elsom and goalkeeper Megan Watts, but the relentless pressure by the ladder leaders resulted in a five goal victory to maintain their unbeaten record this season. Jennifer Klinge and Hannah Dichiera were noted as the better players for the Roos.
It has only taken five rounds for the Roos to establish a two game break on the rest of the competition, and the challenge remains to see if one of their opponents to defeat them in the next ten games before the finals.
A spirited game between the Nhill Thunderbirds and the Yanac Women was played mostly in the midfield with neither team being able to score in the first half.
Yanac came out hard after the break, setting up better passages of play and moving the ball with more effect resulting in two goals, but Nhill was able to answer each one, including a converted penalty stroke, to maintain an even score line.
With two points from this draw Yanac remain in third place on the ladder, equal on points with the second placed Horsham Jets, and although the Thunderbirds remain outside the top four, they are still well within reach of fourth place.
The Nhill Leopards are a game and a half ahead of second place after they returned another comfortable win, this time over the Yanac Warriors, in a game where a total of ten goals were scored.
Blake Miller shone with five goals, and the best on ground nomination, whilst his team mates Jason Reichelt, Emily Koop and Ellie Murden scored one goal each.
Jasper Croot scored both of the goals for the Warriors.
The Warrack Revengers have moved into outright second place on the ladder with a one goal win over the Dimboola Kangaroos, the opponent they shared that position with going into this round.
A converted short corner by Sandon Schultz in the first half was the difference between the two teams.
Lachlan Klemm, Oskar Bennett and Schultz shone for the victors and Daniel Danisch, goal keeper Noah Krelle and Rebekah Albrecht stood out for the Kangaroos.
The scorers were also kept busy during the Kaniva Raiders and Horsham Bombers game, with a total of nine goals scored. The Raiders scored six of these with Luke Shalders scoring two and Elizabeth Dixon, Charlie White, Nadia White and Tyson Mitcell one each.
The Bombers three goals came from Stuart Hallett, Joshua Schwarz and Archie Watt.
The Horsham Blackhawks won a tight game against the Kaniva Rampagers, with August Koch scoring the only goal for the game and receiving the vote as the best on the ground for his team. Charlie White was the player of the match for the Kaniva team.
In the other games, the Yanac Lowan Stars won a close encounter with the Nhill Bandits and every player on the Dimboola Kookaburras team scored in their eleven goal to one win over Warracknabeal. Mitch Hughes scored five goals for the winners and Eliza Williamson was the lone scorer for Warracknabeal.
Round Six Preview
This week the Warracknabeal Hockey Club has its first opportunity to host a round this season when Round six will be played at Anzac Park on Saturday.
Feature games will see the top teams in both the Under 16 and Women’s divisions clashing with their closest rivals, which provides the opportunity for these second placed teams to mount a serious challenge on the leaders.
The Warrack Revengers will need more than just the home ground advantage to stop the Nhill Leopards’ winning streak, but equally the Leopards will need to take this opponent seriously if they are to preserve their record.
When they are playing their best, the Dimboola Kangaroos could be a serious contender this year but some inconsistent form will make their game against the Horsham Bombers important to consolidate their place towards the top of the ladder. The Bombers will be looking to inflict the Kangaroos’ second loss in a row and keep in touch with top four.
A good win by the Yanac Warriors in their game against the Kaniva Raiders could see these two teams swap ladder positions and elevate the Warriors into the top four.
The other top of the ladder clash will be between the Dimboola Roos and the Horsham Jets in the Women’s competition, and although a win will not allow the Jets to overtake the Roos this week, they can build their confidence and firm up a place in the top two.
The battle at the other end of the ladder gives the Warrack Women a good chance to score their first win for the season when they face the Nhill Thunderbirds. Both teams need a win to stay in contention for the finals so a close game is anticipated.
The prize for the winner of the final Women’s game between Yanac and Kaniva could be second place on the ladder if the Jets cannot overcome the Roos, but more significantly the Kaniva team will be determined to show that they can maintain their early season form and continue their quest for a rare finals appearance.
In the Open competition the most interest will be in the Dimboola Burras and Horsham Hurricanes game where the winner will finish the round in the top four and the vanquished will be relegated to fifth. Both of these teams have had one win in the first five rounds, with the Burras’ draw with the Nhill Rangers in Round four the only thing currently keeping them in the top four.
Recent form would suggest that the Yanac Tigers and Warrack Hoops should be able to overcome the Kaniva Cobras and Nhill Rangers respectively in the final two games, if they play at their best.
Round Six Fixture - Saturday 3rd June
- At Anzac Park, Warracknabeal
9.30 am - Under 16 - Dimboola Kangaroos v. Horsham Bombers
11.00 am - Women - Dimboola Roos v. Horsham Jets
12.30 pm - Open - Kaniva Cobras v. Yanac Tigers
2.00 pm - Open - Dimboola Burras v. Horsham Hurricanes
3.30 pm - Open - Nhill Rangers v. Warrack Hoops
9.30 am - Under 16 - Nhill Leopards v. Warrack Revengers
11.00 am - Under 16 - Kaniva Raiders v. Yanac Warriors
12.30 pm - Under 12 - Dimboola Kookaburras v. Horsham Blackhawks
12.30 pm - Under 12 - Nhill Bandits v. Warracknabeal
12.30 pm - Under 12 - Kaniva Rampagers v. Yanac Lowan Stars
2.00 pm - Women - Nhill Thunderbirds v. Warrack Women
3.30 pm - Women - Kaniva Women v. Yanac Women
Round Five Results
Kaniva Cobras 4 (Goals - A Wallis, C Beattie, L Shalders, J Mitchell; Best - D Shalders, L Mills, L Shalders, D Cole) defeated Horsham Hurricanes 1 (Goal - W Gulline; Best - T Davey, J Bannan, B Tischler, W Gulline)
Yanac Tigers 6 (Goals - J Harding 2, S Alexander 2, T Alexander, S Croot; Best - T Alexander, J Honeyman, B Alexander) defeated Nhill Rangers 0 (Best - Mont Miller, B Miller, Murray Miller)
Warrack Hoops 4 (Goals - M Williamson 2, R Bennett 2; Best - M Williamson, H Wagenknecht, T Krahe) defeated Dimboola Burras 0 (Best - C Halsall, T Dent, D Danisch)
| || Pts || GD |
| Yanac Tigers || 20 || 16 |
| Warrack Hoops || 16 || 10 |
| Kaniva Cobras || 12 || 2 |
| Dimboola Burras || 6 || -5 |
| Horsham Hurricanes || 4 || -9 |
| Nhill Rangers || 2 || -14 |
Horsham Jets 3 (Goals - S Robinson 2, A Allen; Best - S Robinson, L Schilling, A Allen) defeated Kaniva Women 0 (Best - R Clark, L Stimson, J Bothe)
Dimboola Roos 6 (Goals - A King 2, E Woods, E Klinge, K Smithyman, V Smithyman; Best - J Klinge, H Dichiera, B McMaster) defeated Warrack Women 0 (Best - T Bull, O Elson, M Watts)
Yanac Women 2 (Goals - E Alexander 2; Best - M Farmers, K Miller, H Honeyman, S Hedt) drew with Nhill Thunderbirds 2 (Goals - E Koop, E Murden; Best - E Murden, L Hawker, S Crowhurst, E Koop)
| || Pts || GD |
| Dimboola Roos || 20 || 12 |
| Horsham Jets || 12 || 8 |
| Yanac Women || 12 || 0 |
| Kaniva Women || 10 || -1 |
| Nhill Thunderbirds || 6 || -1 |
| Warrack Women || 0 || -17 |
Warrack Revengers 1 (Goal - S Schultz; Best - L Klemm, O Bennett, S Schultz) defeated Dimboola Kangaroos 0 (Best - D Danisch, N Krelle, R Albrecht)
Kaniva Raiders 6 (Goals - L Shalders 2, E Dixon, C White, N White, T Mitchell; Best - L Shalders, T Mitchell, M Goodwin, N WHite) defeated Horsham Bombers 3 (Goals - S Hallett, J Schwarz, A Watt; Best - R Roberts, K Guest, S Hallett)
Nhill Leopards 8 (Goals - B Miller 5, J Reichelt, E Koop, E Murden; Best - B Miller, E Koop, J Reichelt, E Murden ) defeated Yanac Warriors 2 (Goals - J Croot 2; Best - S Pipkorn, M Farmers, R Croot, H Pedie)
Under 16 Ladder
| || Pts || GD |
| Nhill Leopards || 20 || 21 |
| Warrack Revengers || 14 || 11 |
| Dimboola Kangaroos || 10 || 2 |
| Kaniva Raiders || 8 || -7 |
| Yanac Warriors || 4 || -12 |
| Horsham Bombers || 4 || -15 |
Dimboola Kookaburras 11 (Goals - M Hughes 5, L Krelle 3, R Simpson 2, E Simpson; Best - R Simpson) defeated Warracknabeal 1 (Goal - E Williamson)
Yanac Lowan Stars 1 (Goal - C Zanker) defeated Nhill Bandits 0
Horsham Blackhawks 1 (Goal - A Koch; Best - A Koch) defeated Kaniva Rampagers 0 (Best - C White)
Under 12 Ladder
| || Pts || GD|
| Yanac Lowan Stars || 16 || 8|
| Kaniva Rampagers || 10 || 2|
| Horsham Blackhawks || 14 || 0|
| Dimboola Kookaburras || 12 || 14|
| Nhill Bandits || 8 || -5|
| Warracnabeal || 0 || -19|