District rivals on centre stage

By Andrew Johnston

THE more things change, the more they stay the same.

When Leitchville-Gunbower and Lockington-Bamawm United clashed in round four of the Heathcote District Football League, the Cats were undefeated, sitting pretty at the top end of the table.

The Bombers, despite being the competitions reigning premiers, were chasing tail at 1-3, desperately hunting a win to really kick start their season.

Since then, LBU have stayed on essentially the same course.

The Cats have dropped just two of their 10 clashes, falling to Mount Pleasant in round six by five points, before falling to North Bendigo the following week by 24 points.

The Bombers have been on a similar path since the match.

Since losing to the Cats, they have claimed five of their seven contests to hold ground in the top five of the competition.

This contest, more so than the round four contest, is huge for where their seasons go next.

A win for the Cats will put distance between them and Colbinabbin, with their round 14 victory against White Hills yet to be officially added to the ladder.

The Grasshoppers have the bye this week, so a LBU victory would make the gap between second and third two games for at least a week.

A victory for the Bombers will keep their two game advantage over White Hills intact, with rounds of football for sides outside the five to make up ground running out.

It will also be a handy win in their battle with Mount Pleasant for fourth spot.

Leitchville-Gunbower assistant coach Liam Guinan told the Riv earlier this week the club still needed to win to lock down September.

“We want to be there come finals, so if we are going to be successful we need to keep getting these wins and putting ourselves in the best possible position,’’ he said.

“We’ve had a really good month ... we feel like things are really starting to fall into place and that this side is really meshing.’’

After the resurgence of the Bombers, LBU coach Kahl Oliver is wary of what his opposition will bring to the contest on Saturday.

‘‘The games are always an exciting contest,’’ Oliver said.

‘‘They’ve started to find some strong form recently so we will certainly have our hands full.

‘‘We want to keep moving forward with our momentum.’’

The clash has added importance by being the only major local football contest of the weekend.

On the netball courts, two sides who found themselves struggling throughout the season.

But the Bombers are the side with the distinct advantage.

Having three wins for the season, Leitchy Gunny are definitely not high flyers, and are all but out of finals contention.

However the Cats, who have seen a number of changes in personnel, have struggled to find the rhythm as the season goes on.

The Bombers are likely to get the win, but on home court the Cats could provide a late season shake up.