K rock Football

Saturday Spotlight – GFL Round 6

THE GAMES

Saturday, May 14

*K rock Football Match of the Day

MATCH OF THE ROUND

Is Round 6 too early for an elimination final? History tells us no club since the GFL was formed in 1979 has started the season 1-5 and played finals. That would be the task facing the loser of the clash between Grovedale and Bell Park at Burdoo Reserve. In fact, St Mary’s in 2019 is the only club to start 1-4 and feature in September. The Tigers’ lone win came in unconvincing fashion against Lara in Round 3, while the Dragons’ only success was against the winless St Albans in Round 2. 2021 GFL leading goalkicker and Rookie of the Year Tom Gillett will play his second game of the season after quietly returning from a back problem in last week’s loss to St Mary’s.

GIANT GETS CHANCE TO SHINE

Geelong West star Emmanual Ajang will get a chance to showcase his talents ahead of next month’s AFL mid-season draft after being included in the inaugural Fitzroy Cubs squad. Featuring non-AFL listed indigenous and culturally diverse talent, the Cubs will meet Carlton’s VFL team in an exhibition match at Princes Park on Sunday. Werribee-listed Ajang is averaging 24 disposals through the opening five rounds of the GFL season, with a best of 32 in the win over Grovedale in Round 2.

BROKEN WRIST SIDELINES JOEY

Already reeling from the news Riley Kershaw has suffered another ruptured ACL, St Joseph’s has received more bad news on the injury front with the versatile Nick Hutchinson unlikely to be seen until after the bye in early July due to a broken wrist. The Tasmanian product suffered the break in the Anzac Day win over South Barwon but played in the wins over Grovedale and Lara before scans on the morning of the Cats’ game confirmed the damage. Finn McCombe (hamstring) will also go out of the team defeated Lara. Geelong VFL listed Jack Mentha, premiership star Reid Adams, young gun Sam Clohesy and Yarrawonga product Joel O’Dwyer return to take on Geelong West.

 YOUNG GUNS MAKE VFL DEBUTS

Reigning North Shore best-and-fairest Noah Lever and St Mary’s Matt Keast both got a taste of VFL action for the first time last week. Lever had 11 disposals (four kicks, seven handballs) and laid seven tackles as Williamstown claimed a 10-point win over Gold Coast. Keast, who was one of six Saints in the Werribee team that lost to Sydney, finished with 12 disposals and four tackles.

RECORD IN SIGHT FOR SAINTS

If you’ve been following this column in recent weeks, you will be aware St Mary’s is closing in on one of the GFL’s more impressive feats. Well, a win for the Saints over Lara will see its unbeaten streak extend to 25 matches – the longest run without a loss in competition history. St Mary’s last tasted defeat in Round 14, 2019 – 1022 days ago. However, they still have some work to do to match the longest winning streak, which belongs to North Shore with 24 consecutive victories between Round 19, 1997 and the 1998 grand final. The Saints have won 10 straight since a draw against Newtown & Chilwell in Round 6 last year.

‘BOMBER’ HONOURED

North Shore will use today’s Past Players and Officials gathering to pay tribute to one of the region’s most decorated junior coaches, John Bligh. Universally known as ‘Bomber’, Bligh had a profound impact at under-18 and under-16 level at Windsor Park through the 1980s after arriving from St Peter’s. A roast hosted by ‘Tiger’ Brady will be held in Bligh’s honour from 1:15pm ahead of the Seagulls’ clash with Newtown & Chilwell.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT 

THE TEAMS

GFL – ROUND 6