GNFL Round 12 preview: Chapman Valley look to join the party as they seek take down Rovers

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Richard Bartlett was a star against Railways.
Camera IconRichard Bartlett was a star against Railways. Credit: Justine Rowe Around the Traps

With Country Week over, all eyes turn back to the GNFL season and the run into finals as round 12 action kicks off this weekend.

Let us get the simple stuff out the way first: Towns were out of the running long ago and it’s difficult to see where their next win will come from with a tough run home in what has been a harrowing season for the Bulldogs.

Mullewa also won’t make it but after three years without a win, to pick up three wins so far this season is nothing short of a success and they could still spring a surprise or two.

Chapman Valley is an interesting case, as the Royals haven’t looked like challenging teams above them all year but now they sit just four points behind Northampton in fourth after knocking over Railways in a stunning upset.

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With the Rams having the bye, a win this week could see them also on 20 points with just percentage separating them from a play-off position.

However, they can’t have Matt Priddis and Lewis Jetta running around for them every week as they did with the Railways boilover and this weekend they face a Rovers side coming off a big win over Northampton which saw them solidify their top three spot.

It’s hard to see the Royals replicate that stunning performance with their regular playing group but coach Aaron Thomas believes they are not out of the fight.

“It was a huge result for us on the weekend and no doubt Priddis and Jetta were big contributors,” he said.

“But when we reviewed the game, our local boys really stood out and lifted their intensity and if we can bring that again we are certainly in with a chance.”

Thomas is wary of the powerful Rovers’ midfield with the likes of Gabriel Parfitt, Kobe Simpson and Shaun Brennan but knows what’s on the line this weekend.

“The game will most likely be won in the midfield battle,” he said.

“Internally we rate ourselves really highly. We have a ways to go to earn that respect externally, having been down for so long as a club.

“But all we can do is focus on the next game and we know a win puts us right in the mix.”

The other Saturday game will see new ladder leaders Brigades up against Mullewa at home, which the Hawks should win although they haven’t played for two weeks.

In the other game, Railways should have more than enough to avoid three losses in a row against the lowly Towns at home on Sunday.

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