By Nathan Dole
By Nathan Dole
Published on:
12 April 2024


Grand final rematch highlights season rematch

A REMATCH of last season’s grand finalists, Balranald and Kerang highlights Saturday’s start to the 3SH-backed senior footy competition in the Central Murray FNL.

Balranald will have home-ground advantage at Greenham Park when it tackles the reigning premier from 2.30pm.

The Jydon Neagle-coached Balranald includes Jaxon Neagle at centre half-back and Matt Neagle as ruck-rover.

Key players for the Kangaroos are Colin Andrews and Drew Lloyd in attack, rover Harrison Soraggi, Jack Salau and Toby Lay in defence.

A brilliant on-field leader and nine-time premiership winner with Kerang, Troy Coates is now non-playing coach of the Blues.

After being joint coach in Mount Pleasant’s premiership victory in the Heathcote DFNL in ’23, Adam Baird has made the move to Kerang.

Baird was part of four grand final wins with Golden Square in a remarkable era of 2009 to ’13.

He also earned the Michelsen Medal as the Bendigo FNL’s fairest and best in the 2019 season.

Baird joins a Blues’ line-up that includes ruckman Nick Lang, centreman and captain Josh Nitschke, ruck-rover Sam Heavyside and key forwards Archer Dibsdale and Caleb Nitschke.

Woorinen and Swan Hill clash in Tigers’ territory at Woorinen.

The Marcus Demaria-coached Woorinen was beaten in both of last September’s finals.

Talented on-baller Michael Herlihy is Swan Hill’s new senior coach.

After starring for the Eagles in the South Australia NFL, former Melbourne and Port Adelaide forward Jimmy Toumpas has joined Swan Hill.

Players to watch for the Swans include forward Kallen Heslop, Thomas Isma who has crossed from Woorinen, captain Luke Phelan, and Ned McKeown, son of Collingwood defender Ron McKeown.

Tooleybuc Manangatang is on home turf at Tooleybuc to take on Mallee Eagles.

Saints’ coach Dean Helmers will be keen to see Tooleybuc Manangatang rise from last year’s 10th placing.

The play of Johnathan Marsden at centre half-forward, Connor McDonald in the ruck, roving of Kai Kearns, and defensive work of Jackson Morris and Richard Wardle will be a key to the Saints chances.

Mallee Eagles are also determined to hit back from a 4-12 run last season.

The Brent Macleod-coached Eagles have gained former Richmond player Jayden Post who was named at centre half-forward.

Other key players for the Mallee include Zac O’Meara and Paul Davis on the half-back line, ruckman Jai Middleton and rover Beau Bennett.

Tyntynder and Cohuna Kangas clash at Alan Garden Reserve in Swan Hill.

The Josh Stone-coached Tyntynder will be keen to mark a winning start.

Huge task for the likes of Jason Eagle at full-forward, Patrick Crowe in the centre, on-ballers Darcy Bibby and Jayden Magro, and Cayden Crowe and Luke Jones in defence.

A six-time premiership winner at Golden Square and Michelsen medallist, Jack Geary steps into senior coaching with the Kangas.

Geary is arguably one of the most decorated players in country Victorian football.

The Kangas’ coach was named at half-forward, but can be just as damaging ruck-roving or across the half-back line.

Stung by last year’s sixth placing, Cohuna Kangas are likely to make a strong rebound.

Cohuna’s charge is likely to be led by the likes of co-captains Jarrod Findlay and Joel Helman, Sam McGlone and former Elmore coach Dylan Friedberger.

The Kangas recruits include Golden Square premiership defender Will Lee, former Huntly coach Jayden Cordy, and Ryan Semmel, a multiple Cheatley medallist in his time with Huntly in the Heathcote DFNL.

Most challenging task for any of Koondrook-Barham’s players against Nyah Nyah West United will be taking on gun forward Brandyn Grenfell.

After kicking 303 goals across Marong’s premiership wins of ’22 and ’23, Grenfell has joined the NNWU Demons.

Scott Wood was named at full-back and Grenfell at full-forward for the opening round clash at Barham Recreation Reserve.

The Scott Callow-coached Koondrook Barham faces a daunting task against a Demons line-up which was 9-7 going into last year’s finals series and made it all the way to a preliminary final.

Key players for the River Raiders include Mitch Christensen, Reagan Hamilton, and co-captains Patrick Goble, Jack Shannon and Jack Thrum.

Billy Driscoll has made his way from Navarre to play for Koondrook Bahram.

Although Grenfell is the main target in attack, NNWU has plenty of goalkicking options through Riley Daniels, Darcy Butler and Jordan Iudica.

The Corey Daniels-coached Demons have Joel Campbell and Joel Walsh to lead the defence, and on-ball division of Blake Larkings, Ethan Saville and Dominic Gallo.

Lake Boga has the bye.

The Dean Helmers-coached Magpies will be home at Lake Boga Sports Club to face Balranald in round two.

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