GRFNL - Mallee showdown ideal

ON TARGET: Nullawil forward, Kal Heslop has kicked 18 goals in the opening two matches of the 2018 GRFNL season.

ON TARGET: Nullawil forward, Kal Heslop has kicked 18 goals in the opening two matches of the 2018 GRFNL season.

AFTER two rounds of one-sided results, Sunday's Golden Rivers Football Netball League clash between Mallee rivals Ultima and Nullawil will be an encounter the competition has been looking forward to seeing.

Both sides go into the match undefeated, and are on track to challenge for the premiership again come September.

The Maroons have accounted for Wakool and Quambatook in the opening two weeks of the season, with Kal Heslop, Andrew Oberdorfer and Phillip Lobb leading the way.

The trio – who have combined for 47 goals so far this season – are on track to boot at least 100 goals individually come the end of round 18, but face the prospect on Sunday of battling against Lachlan Paull, Luke Kelson and Jayden Kiel to get the ball.

Ultima began its season last weekend with a 67-point win against Moulamein, with Jack O'Rourke and Luke O'Toole leading the way.

O'Rourke will need to rely on a number of players if the hosts are to dominate in front of goal, with the likes of Arnold Kirby, Adrian Knee and Kyle Symons able to boot multiple goals if allowed to dominate.

This will be hard against the Jason Cowland-led back line, whilst Daniel Watts and Scott Mathiske will aim to control the ball in the middle of the ground for the visitors against the likes of O'Toole and Tom Bull.

The 'Roos won by 43 points when the teams last played on a Sunday back in round three, 2017, with the Maroons producing a 71-point win when the sides last met in July.

PREDICTION: Nullawil will win by 30 points.

Perfect start to continue

MURRABIT will aim to keep its perfect start to the season going tomorrow with a win at Moulamein.

The Blues were too strong in the second half of last weekend's match against Macorna, whilst the Swans struggled against Ultima.

Moulamein could not stop the likes of Jack O'Rourke and Luke O'Toole from getting the ball, and it could be a one-sided affair tomorrow if Nathan Henry and Justin McConnell dominate proceedings.

The Tigers were able to contain the pair last weekend, but if the likes of Michael Morson and Ben Booth – who may go into defence to help out – cannot stop the duo, the Blues will add an eighth consecutive win against the Swans.

The midfield battle between Murrabit coach, Bryden Morison and fellow E.G. Hunt Medallist, Tom Isma will be a highlight, whilst the likes of Nick Hein and Dylan Morison will be able to stop Josh Gadsden and Max Baldissera from scoring in the home team's forward line.

PREDICTION: Murrabit will win by 60 points.

First win likely

QUAMBATOOK and Macorna will look to record their first win of the season tomorrow when the sides meet on the Saints' home ground.

Both teams have struggled against much stronger opponents, but coaches Adam Pollock (Quambatook) and Wayne Wishart (Macorna) will be aiming to register debut wins for their respective clubs.

The Saints were competitive early in last weekend's 140-point loss to Nullawil, whilst the Tigers were able to contain Murrabit in the opening half before the Blues produced a 61-point win.

Pollock's height in the ruck contests and Gregor Knight's work in the middle of the ground will be too strong for Macorna ruckman, Guy Duncan and key on-baller, Shaun Haffenden.

The challenge for the visiting Tigers will be where it will get its goals from, with Jordan Simpson and Jacob McIntosh – who booted the visitors' three goals of last week's match - more accustomed to playing in the back line.

This will enable Luke Parker and Ash Davis to rebound the ball back into the middle of the ground, with Martin Angus and Andrew Spengler to be too strong for Steven Morgan and Anthony Free in the Saints' forward line.

Quambatook defeated Macorna on both occasions the teams met last season, with the last encounter resulting in a 70-point win to the Mallee-based side.

PREDICTION: Quambatook will win by 50 points.

Lions' points grab

HAY'S percentage-boosting start to the GRFNL season is set to continue tomorrow, with the Lions to take on the winless Wakool.

Fresh from last weekend's bye, the Lions go into the match as strong favourites following a 201-point win against Macorna in the opening round.

Simon Bunyan, Jackson Ferguson and Hayden Polglase all dominated in the opening round win, which saw the Lions not concede a goal.

Season 2018 is proving to be a different situation for the Hawks, who have lost to 2017 finalists, Nullawil and Wandella by a combined average margin of 236 points in the first two weeks of the season.

Tomorrow's hosts have only kicked four goals so far this season, and will struggle to boot a competitive score against the likes of Ken Jubb and Andrew Low.

Reagan Hamilton will need to stop Ferguson if the Hawks are to record their best result of the season, but the Lions' midfield and forward options will be too strong for their fellow New South Wales-based rivals.

PREDICTION: Hay will win by at least 80 points.

• WANDELLA has the bye this weekend, with the undefeated defending premiers to host 2017 grand finalists, Ultima on April 28.

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