Break through: Hepburn will take on traditional rivals Daylesford in their season opener. Photos: FILE

Footy’s back in the highlands – CHFL round one previews

April 15, 2021 BY

Bungaree vs Buninyong

FINALLY! senior Football returns to the Central Highlands Football League with the Demons and Bombers set to do battle in an epic encounter.

Buninyong will be hopeful to go one step further after winning the 2019 minor premiership only to be bundled out in straight sets in the finals.

Bungaree on the other hand missed the finals completely, but would fancy their chances of getting back there if they are capable of pulling off an upset of their home turf this weekend.

Prediction: Buninyong by 24 points.

Waubra claimed the big one in 2019. After 18 months off the park and the loss of their captain, can they do it again?

Clunes vs Creswick

2019 wooden spooners, Clunes host the always dangerous Wickers in an important matchup to kick off season 2021.

Magpies’ coach, Johno Leoncini, would no doubt see this potential winnable encounter for his side whereas Creswick know a loss to season 2019 cellar dwellers could already all but ruin a finals birth.

Footy is a funny game played on emotion and who knows, maybe new year, new me, for the Magpies.

Prediction: Clunes in an upset.


Daylesford vs Hepburn

Traditional rivals will once again go to battle to kick of the season with the Bulldogs hosting the Burra at Victoria Park this Saturday.

Hepburn loss in the 2019 grand final by 52-points after an impressive finals campaign which saw them make it to the final day of the season after finishing fifth.

Infamously, the Bulldogs lost a trio of players including captain coach, Zac Tisdale, in 2020 to seek football opportunities in VAFA and unfortunately things aren’t looking bright with the Burra expected to be far too good in this one.

Prediction: Hepburn comfortably.


Learmonth vs Rokewood-Corindhap

Both these sides finished the 2019 season with six wins a piece and missed finals action, which makes this round one encounter ever so important if they want to get back into the finals picture.

In the reverse fixture in 2019, the Hoppers were unstoppable with a 78-point victory however expect a much closer game this time as the Lakies are always a different side on their home deck.

Prediction: Rokewood-Corindhap in a flip of the coin.


Skipton vs Gordon

Match of the round as the Skipton and Gordon do battle at the Skipton Recreation Reserve.

Both sides featured in finals footy in season 2019 with the Emus no match for Hepburn in the first elimination final and the Eagles falling agonizingly short against eventual premiers, Waubra, by nine points in the preliminary final.

The Emus welcome ex-North Ballarat midfielder Sam Willian as the side’s new playing coach with his former Roosters teammate, Josh Schlanders, also making the jump from the Ballarat Football Netball League.

The Eagles have been thereabouts for a few seasons now and a difficult away game is defiantly not the way they would have wanted to start the 2021 season.

Prediction: Skipton in a close one.


Cat’s super boot Marcus Darmody bagged a tonne in 2019. Look out this season, he’s got back up!

Springbank vs Newlyn

Flag favourites Newlyn will go in odds on against the Tigers this weekend as they look to start their 2021 campaign in impressive fashion.

Last time out the Cats were 27-point victors with spearhead Marcus Darmody playing a loan hand up forward with seven of their nine goals for the day.

To help aid the ‘Darmody Show’, the Cats have added ex-Lake Wendouree forward Thomas Carey to their list to give them another direct avenue to goal.

Prediction: Newlyn by 45 points.


Waubra vs Dunnstown

Premiers Waubra start off their title defence against a side many expect to be in the finals mix in six months’ time.

After losing their opening nine games of the 2019 season, the Towners went on a remarkable seven game winning streak to finish ninth on the ladder and almost gain a finals berth.

Justin Abrams side knows that they need to start the season off better, however the Kangaroos are all but unbeatable on their home deck.

Prediction: Waubra by 24 points.


Carngham Linton vs Beaufort

It’s a historic occasion as the Linton Recreation Reserve will host a game under lights premiership points for the first time ever.

With the Saints finishing one game off the bottom of the ladder and Crows making the finals in season 2019 on paper this should read as a one-sided affair.

However, there has been a slight exodus of players from Crows with Lachlan Murray and Josh McDermott headlining the names of players to leave the flock.

Nevertheless, the 2018 Premiers still should count themselves heavy favourites going into this one as the ever-improving Saints aren’t quite ready to take the league by storm.

Prediction: Beaufort in one closer than many would think.