CHRL Preview: Round 4

CAMERON STALLARD

Only two teams remain undefeated heading into Round 4 of the Central Highlands Rugby League competition.

Middlemount travel to Emerald to take on the Tigers in a grand final replay and the Bears will make the trip to Bluff to take on a hungry Rabbitohs side coming off two losses.

Both games are danger games for either team and after this weekend, the competition might be back on level-pegging proving how good of a local competition there is in the Central Highlands.

ROUND 4 FIXTURES

Blackwater Crushettes v Emerald Cowgirls
5.30pm Saturday, May 20
Hinrick’s Oval Blackwater

A rematch from Round 1 but this time round, a 56-6 score line probably isn’t going to be expected.
Olivia Hamilton should return from a calf injury and partner Megan Latchford in the halves and Blackwater should be full strength.
The Cowgirls are also expecting to bring a full-strength side over to Blackwater, something they weren’t able to do in Round 1.
Blackwater were the team the Cowgirls defeated last season to get their first ever competition win and even though they’ll give it a red hot crack this weekend, Blackwater should just edge out the visitors.

Dysart Bulls Ladies v Emerald Tigers Ladies
5.30pm Saturday, May 20
Hickey Oval Dysart

It’s been a tough start for the Dysart Ladies over their first two games but there are signs of some good footy to be played.

A lot of new players have joined the Bulls and building combinations will take time, but should be exciting to watch once they are developed.

There has been a massive changing of the guard in the Tigers Ladies with several new players joining the team, however this change has been almost seamless with no changes to the wins column from previous years.

The Tigers should travel up and get the two points in a good game to watch. A good home crowd will be in attendance to cheer on their local girls.

The Central Highlands Call Team will be live from 5.15pm.

Blackwater Crushers v Emerald Cowboys
7pm Saturday, May 13
Hinrick’s Oval Blackwater

Both teams are one win and two losses after three rounds, making this clash evenly poised.

Dean Blackman should return for the Crushers and with Gavin Duffy injured, Shae Cox will likely stay in the halves giving young Dwayne Parsons another opportunity to impress in the centres.

It will be interesting to see if Kevin Bartley suits up for Blackwater against his old club.

The Cowboys had a tough first two games against Middlemount and Springsure respectively and after a good win last weekend against Dysart, they’ve no doubt had their confidence levels boosted.

Close affair but it would be silly to tip against the home side, particularly when their effort has been consistent over the first three games.

Dysart Bulls v Springsure Mountain Men
Emerald Star Hotel Match of the Round

7pm Saturday, May 20
Hickey Oval Dysart

It’s been a tough start for Dysart who haven’t recorded a win in their first three games but have a great opportunity this weekend.

The Bulls should welcome a full 19 this week after playing short for the first three weeks, especially last week with only 11 on the field in the second half due to injuries. They also have a few new inclusions set to make their Bulls debut to give the home side an added boost.

Jared Owens is expected to return for the Mountain Men in the halves and will allow Ray Ebsworth to play more freely in attack. It’s unsure if Tom Hewitt and Sam Fairweather make the journey north, but if they do, they’ll be more than welcomed into the Mountain Men line-up.

Such a hard one to tip as on form Springsure are the favourites but Dysart have their best opportunity yet to record a win and upset one of the premiership favourites.

The Central Highlands Call Team will be live from 6.50pm.

Bluff Rabbitohs v Clermont Bears
7pm Saturday, May 20
Macca’s Oval Bluff

The Bluff Rabbitohs couldn’t break the Tigers hoodoo last week, going down to the defending premiers again at home. They’ve now been handed a tough task against the undefeated Bears.

The Rabbitohs are anticipating the return of Peter McLaughlin and Chris Conway to boost the side. Jack Laxton is almost ready to return into the run-on side after his finger injury and should add some extra go-forward for the Bluff pack.

The Clermont Bears have performed well in the first two weeks of the competition with last week their first real test at defending a lead.

Their youthful side led by Tom Murray has had a complete turnaround from last season with no major roster changes. The experience of a majority of last season plus a productive preseason has proven to be worthy for the young Bears who are faced with one of the toughest tasks in CH footy, particularly for the Bears as their longest road trip.

Bluff will be hard to beat at home, particularly coming off two losses. Clermont will try and keep their undefeated run intact but most punters will back the home side to win by a try or two.

Emerald Tigers v Middlemount Panthers
7pm Saturday, May 20
McIndoe Park Emerald

It was at this very venue 258 days ago that Middlemount watched the premiership trophy slip out of their hands in the grand final and this weekend, they’ll be chasing revenge against the Tigers.

The Tigers have lost a few key players including Isaiah Huet who is most likely out for the season with a hand injury. Dywayne Rigby is also out for a few weeks with the same injury sustained in Bluff.

Middlemount are also without halves Mitch Wyatte and Joel Duffy but should welcome back Sam Creedon and Alex Sainsbury. Danny Allen is also expected to make his Panthers debut after last playing in Bluff’s premiership winning side.

With the injuries to key Tigers players, Middlemount should get one back on the Tigers to keep their unbeaten run alive.




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