Fierce GRFNL battle

A big crowd is anticipated for a stand-alone ANZAC Day themed match on Sunday between last year's leading Golden Rivers Football Netball League teams.

It will be a battle-royale at Ultima when it takes on reigning premier Nullawil. These two Mallee teams are fierce rivals with a mutual respect.

The senior football sides, along with the clubs' A Grade netballers will compete for new perpetual trophies which have been provided and named by the Returned and Services League at Swan Hill. 

This is the third annual Sunday ANZAC clash between the Roos and the Maroons.

Nullawil got the better of the Roos twice in the 2018 finals, including a comprehensive grand final display which the Maroons won by seven goals.

The only one of four 2018 contests between these sides that Ultima came out on top in was the corresponding Sunday round 3 match.

That day a dismally inaccurate Roos' outfit did enough to stave off Nullawil by nine points in a game that remained close at every break. 

With both sides having recruited strongly since last season and both starting 2019 in dominant fashion this matchup promises to be a dazzling display. 

It is the first serious test for inexperienced coaches Brodie Bennett (Ultima) and Kyle Doran (Nullawil), with both having taken charge this year.

"It's definitely going to be a highly contested and fierce game of footy. Anyone that comes to watch will see that there's no love lost between the two sides," Bennett said.

"They obviously got the chocolates last year in the grand final, but that's the beauty of footy I guess, we're able to redeem ourselves."

Nullawil coach, Doran is also looking forward to the challenge and summed up the significance of playing Ultima and the type of match these Mallee rivals normally produce.

"It's a big match for the club and probably a match that you mark straight away at the start of the year as one that you really want to play in.

"It's normally pretty hard at it sort of footy, always tight."

This scribe leans towards the Maroons in a thriller.

Wandella v Hay

UNBEATEN Wandella will look to extend its winning streak when it hosts Hay in the third round of Golden Rivers Football Netball League matches tomorrow.

The Bombers ended the Lions' 2018 season in the first week of the finals.

Hay hasn't tasted victory over Wandella since 2016.

The Lions need to find greater consistency than in round 2, when they were blown out of the contest in the third stanza after working hard to remain in the game at half time against Ultima.

Such a lapse will again prove fatal against Wandella.

To cause an upset this week, Hay must find more support for Jackson Ferguson, a player who has started the season in hot form, presenting a headache for opponents.

Macorna v Moulamein

ANTICIPATE a fierce start to the contest between two sides hungry for a breakthrough win when Macorna hosts Moulamein.

While the early stages are likely to be competitive, Moulamein's superior class will win out.

Although they ultimately fell short of victory in round 2, the Swans made Wandella work for its win.

The Swans will continue to improve as they gel more as a side.

This week's opponent, Macorna is light on for senior experience and firepower, managing a total of just seven goals in its two matches.

The Tigers' youngsters will give their all, but it won't be enough to claim victory as the Swans get their season moving in a positive direction.

Quambatook v Murrabit

QUAMBATOOK'S season has started disappointingly, with the undermanned Saints having an average losing margin of 132 points after the first two rounds.

However, Quambatook was handed a tough early draw with last season's grand finalists in the first two weeks.

This time the Saints host Murrabit, a side that has won one of its two games and was competitive in the first half of its season opener against Wandella before falling away.

Having taken charge of Quambatook this season, coach Graeme Davis is working hard to instill belief in his players.

He places a strong emphasis on getting them to adhere to structures and also wants them to become more adaptable.

Davis will continue to shift players around, building their ability to step into different roles when the match situation demands.

Despite the lopsided scorelines against his team so far, Davis noted some positives, with Ricky Wild getting plenty of the footy in the midfield and Dylan Pascoe playing well last week and successfully transitioning through several positions.

Jack Baker is another to display versatility, performing a productive role across the backline and on a wing.

Davis believes his list, although lacking depth, is capable of delivering better results and earmarks this clash with Murrabit as a crucial opportunity to prove that.

"This week will be the test, because they're going to be around about par with us. So it'll be interesting to see how we match up against them."

For the sake of a healthy competition it will be a positive if Quambatook can take the game up to Murrabit.

However, on what the sides have showed so far this season, the Blues start as strong favourites.

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