|A couple of weeks ago the run into the Wimmera Hockey Association finals looked to be predictable with most games going according to ladder positions, but with a number of unexpected results this weekend, all of the games over the remaining five rounds can have an influence on the make-up of the finals.
Both the Warrack Women and Nhill Rangers broke through for their first wins for the season, the Kaniva Cobras moved into the Open division top two for the first time in over three seasons and the Warrack Revengers have displaced the Leopards at the top of the Under 16 ladder after a close win.
After showing much promise over recent rounds, the Nhill Rangers have finally fulfilled their potential with a confident one goal win over the second placed Hoops.
The undermanned Hoops were unable to implement their usual quick short passing game and could not stop the Rangers’ fast running and long hitting game.
Jason Reichelt proved to be the difference between the teams when he scored at the 30 minute mark of the first half and along with his team mates were able prevent any scoring by the Hoops, including successfully defending twelve short corners.
Blake Miller was nominated as the Rangers’ best player, ahead of Mika McCarthy whilst Cameron Bardell and Marcus Williamson were the better players for the Hoops.
Even with this win the Rangers will still struggle to make the finals, but the result sees the Hoops slip out of the top two for the first time in three seasons, and will have to work hard to climb back up in the remaining five games.
The Kaniva Cobras have confirmed that they are a serious contender this year after following up their win over the Hoops last round with a spirited draw with the undefeated Yanac Tigers.
In a very fast game both displayed good team work and it was the Cobras who went into the break with a two goal lead courtesy of scores by Adam Feder and Mathew McDonald, putting unfamiliar pressure on the Tiger who are usually the ones ahead on the scoreboard.
Above - Yanac Tiger Brad Alexander was his team’s best player in their draw with the Kaniva Cobras on Saturday.
The Tigers have demonstrated on a many occasions that they have the resilience to fight out any game right to the last whistle, and by the twenty minute mark of the second half they had drawn level after Jamie Harding and Brad Alexander both found the goals.
With the pace of the game not slowing down, Kaniva gained a glimpse of an upset win when Lachlan Clark goaled with five minutes of play remaining, but Josh Cramer once again levelled the scores within one minute of the end of the game.
McDonald, playing his first game for the season after a layoff for injury, was named best of the Cobras along with Feder and Clark, whilst forwards Alexander, Lewis Wheaton and Cramer were the best for the Tigers
Despite this draw the Tigers remain favourites to retain top spot on the ladder until the finals, but it has allowed the Cobras to move into second place which will make the round 13 game between the Cobras and Hoops a mini final, with the all-important second chance in the finals as the prize for the winner.
The Dimboola Burras have given themselves some breathing space in fourth place after a tight three goals to two win over the Horsham Hurricanes who had briefly replaced them in that position between rounds six and eight.
Two goals to best-on-ground Caleb Halsall and one to Beau Lovett was enough to stay ahead of the Hurricanes who scored twice through Will Gulline and Cade Dodson. Other leading players for the Burras included Talor Dent and Lachlan Schultz with Paul Mackereth, Gulline, Jarryd Bannan and Eric Hayden named as the better players for the Hurricanes.
This win has not yet guaranteed the Burras a place in the finals, as the Hurricanes could still match them over the remaining rounds, but this win has put them in the prime position with five games remaining.
The Warracknabeal Women have broken through for their first win since round five last season, and whilst doing so have tripled their goal tally for the season.
Previously the team had only scored twice in nine games, but found the goals on four occasions against the Nhill Thunderbirds who could only reply with one.
Warracknabeal’s Sarah Hewitt opened the scoring late in the first half, and Jasmine Bull built on this with another goal early after the break.
Deb Cook kept the Thunderbirds in the game with a score midway through the second half but this was not enough as Kelly Krahe added two late goals to confirm the win.
The Warrack Women played a very even team game, but Krahe, Alana Morrow and Donna Robinson were selected as the better players, and once again Kellie Farquharson, Ameilia Rintoule and Ellie Murden earned that honour for the Thunderbirds.
Despite the win, Warracknabeal is unlikely to challenge for a place in the finals, but if they can build on this result they will cause some problems for their higher placed opponents for the remainder of the season.
The Dimboola Roos has asserted themselves at the top of the Women’s competition with a one goal win over their nearest rival, the Horsham Jets.
The difference on the field was only one goal, scored by Meaghan Pohlner who has scored in each game she has played this season, but more significantly it extends the Roos’ lead on the ladder to eight points which the Jets will struggle to overhaul in the remaining five games.
The Roos’ midfield proved difficult for the Jets to breach with Brooke McMaster, Pohlner and Rebecca Lovett the stand out players, and it was full back Karen Triffitt who was named best for the Jets along with Sophie Robinson and Robyn Creek.
In a close game the Yanac Women made the most of their opportunities and finished two goals ahead of their Kaniva opponent.
Yanac had most of the play in the first half, and despite failing to capitalise on a penalty stroke, still went into half time one goal ahead after Jill Kube was able to sneak the ball across the line.
Kaniva enjoyed more of the play after the break but were unable to convert their opportunities, but Shanaye Alexander from Yanac scored a second goal for her team off a short corner to create the final two goal victory margin.
The 2016 Women’s Best and Fairest winner, Louise Bone continues her good form and was named best player for Yanac along with defenders Sophie Pipkorn, Hannah Honeyman and Susan Hedt.
Rachel Clark, runner up to Bone in the Best and Fairest last season, is also having a good season and was again nominated as Kaniva’s best player whilst Sigourney and Olivia Williams were close behind.
The Warrack Revengers defeated the reigning premiers, the Nhill Leopards, for the second time this season when they registered a two goals to one win on Saturday, which has seen them climb to the top of the ladder for the first time this year.
Emily Koop scored for the Leopards mid-way through the first half and it took another 36 minutes of play before Ben Williamson was able to even the scores but with 8 minutes remaining Sandon Schultz converted a short corner to put the Revengers ahead.
In a tight finish, neither team was able to breach their opponent’s defence and the game finished in a Revengers win. Schultz, Faith Eilola and Lachlan Klemm were the best players for the victors and Koop, Blake Miller and Elly Murden stood out for the Leopards.
The Dimboola Kangaroos have kept the pressure on the top two teams with a six goal win over the Horsham Bombers, to the point where they can challenge for top spot next week.
The goals were evenly spread throughout the game with Teo Haines scoring twice to be the leading scorer, and one of the best players for the Kangaroos along with Daniel Danisch, Tom Krelle and Bradly Walker.
Not surprisingly in a high scoring loss the better players for the Hurricanes came from amongst the defenders and included Tom Roberts, Cade Dodson and Stuart Hallett.
The Kaniva Raiders prevailed in their clash with the Yanac Warriors with a five goals to one win which has opened the gap between fourth and fifth to 14 points making it very difficult for the Warriors to bridge the gap, as more win by the Raiders will lock in the current top four teams for the finals.
Tyson Mitchell scored three of the Raiders’ five goals but was only named third best for his team, behind Olivia Williams and Luke Shalders. Mikayla Farmers scored the only goal for the Warriors and was their best player, with goal keeper Alister Dickinson and forward Jasper Croot also playing well.
After a slow start to their season, the Warracknabeal Under 12 team won their second game on Saturday when they defeated the Nhill Bandits, and the Dimboola Kookaburras defeated the Horsham Blackhawks and the Kaniva Rampagers won a close encounter with the Yanac Lowan Stars.
Round Eleven Preview
The games of Round eleven will be shared between the Kaniva and Yanac venues, and will feature several pivotal games.
At the first venue, the feature game will be between the Warrack Hoops and the Dimboola Burras.
The Hoops have not lost four games in a row for over 25 years, and this group of players will not want to be the ones to set this new record. They are currently sitting on three consecutive losses and will need to win this game to get their season back on track, whilst the Burras will want to prove that they deserve their place in the top four which they reclaimed with a win last weekend.
The Cobras will also want to keep their recent momentum going with a win over the Horsham Hurricanes who need a win to keep their chances of making the finals alive.
Recent form and ladder positions suggest that in the Under 16 game the Kaniva Raiders should finish ahead of the Horsham Bombers, and in the Women’s the Horsham Jets should be able to defeat the Kaniva Women, but the last few rounds have shown that the results may not be as clear cut as they seem.
At Yanac all but one games involves a top three team playing a bottom three team which makes the clash between the Warrack Revengers, the new leaders on the Under 16 ladder, and Dimboola Kangaroos the one with the most interest.
These two teams are only separated by two points, so this result will either strengthen the Revengers hold on top spot, or give the Kangaroos the opportunity to overtake them, and depending upon the result of the game between the Leopards and Warriors, possibly find themselves on the top by the end of the round.
All the other games appear to be straightforward, but with the number of surprise results last weekend, anything could happen.
Round Eleven Fixture
- At Kaniva
9.30 am - Under 16 - Kaniva Raiders v. Horsham Bombers
11.00 am - Women - Kaniva Women v. Horsham Jets
12.30 pm - Under 12 - Horsham Blackhawks v. Kaniva Rampagers
2.00 pm - Open - Kaniva Cobras v. Horsham Hurricanes
3.30 pm - Open - Warrack Hoops v. Dimboola Burras
- at Yanac
9.30 am - Under 16 - Yanac Warriors v. Nhill Leopards
11.00 am - Under 16 - Warrack Revengers v. Dimboola Kangaroos
12.30 pm - Women - Warrack Women v. Dimboola Roos
2.00 pm - Women - Yanac Women v. Nhill Thunderbirds
3.30 pm - Open - Yanac Tigers v. Nhill Rangers
12.30 pm - Under 12 - Yanac Lowan Stars v. Nhill Bandits
12.30 pm - Under 12 - Warracknabeal v. Dimboola Kookaburras
Round Ten Results
Dimboola Burras 3 (Goals - C Halsall 2, B Lovett; Best - C Halsall, T Dent, L Schultz) defeated Horsham Hurricanes 2 (Goals - W Gulline, C Dodson; Best - P Mackereth, W Gulline, J Bannan, E Hayden)
Kaniva Cobras 3 (Goals - L Clark, A Feder, M McDonald; Best - M McDonald, A Feder, L Clark) drew with Yanac Tigers 3 (Goals - J Harding, B Alexander, J Cramer; Best - B Alexander, L Wheaton, J Cramer)
Nhill Rangers 1 (Goal - J Reichelt; Best - B Miller, M McCarthy, Murray Miller, J Reichelt) defeated Warrack Hoops 0 (Best - C Bardell, M Williamson, S Schultz, J Williamson)
| || Pts || GD |
| Yanac Tigers || 38 || 26 |
| Kaniva Cobras || 26 || 5 |
| Warrack Hoops || 24 || 15 |
| Dimboola Burras || 14 || -7 |
| Horsham Hurricanes || 10 || -16 |
| Nhill Rangers || 8 || -23 |
Dimboola Roos 1 (Goal - M Pohlner; Best - B McMaster, M Pohlner, R Lovett) defeated Horsham Jets 0 (Best - K Triffitt, S Robinson, R Creek)
Warrack Women 4 (Goals - K Krahe 2, J Bull, S Hewitt; Best - K Krahe, A Morrow, D Robinson) defeated Nhill Thunderbirds 1 (Goal - D Cook; Best - K Farquharson, A Rintoule, E Murden)
Yanac Women 2 (Goals - S Alexander, J Kube; Best - L Bone, S Pipkorn, H Honeyman, S Hedt) defeated Kaniva Women 0 (Best - R Clark, S Williams, O Williams)
| || Pts || GD |
| Dimboola Roos || 36 || 24 |
| Horsham Jets || 28 || 16 |
| Yanac Women || 20 || -1 |
| Kaniva Women || 18 || -5 |
| Nhill Thunderbirds || 10 || -16 |
| Warrack Women || 8 || -18|
Warrack Revengers 2 (Goals - S Schultz, B Williamson; Best - S Schultz, F Eilola, L Klemm) defeated Nhill Leopards 1 (Goal - E Koop; Best - B Miller, E Koop, E Murden)
Kaniva Raiders 5 (Goals - T Mitchell 3, L Shalders, K Clark; Best - O Williams, L Shalders, T Mitchell) defeated Yanac Warriors 1 (Goal - M Farmers; Best - M Farmers, A Dickinson, J Croot)
Dimboola Kangaroos 6 (Goals - T Haines 2, D Danisch, B Walker, T Bamford, C Baker; Best - D Danisch, T Krelle, B Walker, T Haines) defeated Horsham Bombers 0 (Best - T Roberts, C Dodson, S Hallett)
| || Pts || GD |
| Warrack Revengers || 30 || 17 |
| Nhill Leopards || 28 || 28 |
| Dimboola Kangaroos || 28 || 16 |
| Kaniva Raiders || 22 || -2 |
| Yanac Warriors || 8 || -22 |
| Horsham Bombers || 4 || -37|
Warracknabeal 6 (Goals - L Eilola 2, C Bennett 2, H Zwar, M Butcher) defeated Nhill Bandits 3
Kaniva Rampagers 1 (Goal - K Clark; Best - K Stimson) defeated Yanac Lowan Stars 0 (Best - S Pedie)
Dimboola Kookaburras 3 (Goals - L Krelle 2, J Johnston; Best - J Johnston) defeated Horsham Blackhawks 1 (Goal - J Schwarz; Best - K Dodson)
| || Pts || GD|
| Yanac Lowan Stars || 30 || 19|
| Dimboola Kookaburras || 22 || 11|
| Kaniva Rampagers || 22 || 9|
| Horsham Blackhawks || 22 || -7|
| Nhill Bandits || 16 || -13|
| Warracnabeal || 8 || -19|