Ladder leaders trek to Colbinabbin

April 19, 2024 BY

On the ball: Heathcote coach Andrew Saladino said the Saints can't afford to be complacent. Photo: FILE

SITTING atop the senior footy ladder in the Bendigo Bank Heathcote FNL, Heathcote makes the trek to Colbinabbin’s M.J. Morgan Oval for a third-round clash.

Although the opponent is winless, Heathcote coach Andrew Saladino has warned the Saints cannot afford any complacency.

“Colbinabbin is never an easy opponent, especially at home,” Saladino said of being in the Grasshoppers’ territory.

“They usually play their ground well.”

It has been a positive start to the Saints season. Victory in the rematch of the ’23 grand finalists on Mount Pleasant’s turf at Toolleen was followed by a 68-point win against Lockington Bamawm United.

“We started really well,” Saladino said of tackling the Cats at Pigeon Park in Heathcote’s Barrack Reserve.

The Saints scored seven goals to nil in the opening term.

“Our starts to matches have not been great.

“It was a focus leading into this match.”

The Saints were on top at centre clearances through the work of ruckman James Orr and gun on-baller and Cheatley medallist Liam Jacques.

“Winning most of the centre breaks in the first quarter meant we were in control and were able to set up defence from there,” Saladino said.

In attack it was Corey Grindlay who kicked a match-high four goals as Liam Birch and Liam Jacques chipped in with three.

“It was an interrupted pre-season for Liam [Jacques] because of illness. On Saturday he was back to his best, not just playing on-ball but when in attack.”

Saladino said the Saints had more options for on-ball roles this season as Jacques and Braden Padmore are joined by the likes of Louis Piccolo and Zak Saad.

One of the best across pre-season, Rhys Bolton has made a great start in a new role at half-back.

In his third season of senior footy with Heathcote, Rhys is up against a club where his father, Chris, was a brilliant player.

In other matches, North Bendigo is home at the Bendigo Club Oval in Atkins Street to play Leitchville Gunbower.

Lockington Bamawm United faces White Hills at Lockington.

Mount Pleasant and Huntly clash at Toolleen.

Elmore has the bye.