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GNFL Round 9 preview: Northampton v Brigades poised to be match of the round

Victor TantiGeraldton Guardian
Northampton colts player Aidan Bartolo kicks the ball away.
Camera IconNorthampton colts player Aidan Bartolo kicks the ball away. Credit: Arctic Moon Photography/Supplied

Interesting sub-plots could come to the surface in this round’s headline game between Northampton and Brigades at Purcher International Oval on Saturday.

On paper and on the ladder, there are 12 points and a chunk of percentage separating second-placed Hawks and fourth-placed Rams. But Northampton have been improving with a young side and could prove to be competitive against a solid Brigades outfit.

What won’t help the Rams is the fact that Brigades spearhead Dale Williamson is back. Williamson, who earlier this season broke the GNFL’s all-time goal kicking record, needs just six goals to be the first player to reach 800 goals.

The top three — Railways, Brigades and Rovers — are way ahead of the rest. Northampton, in fourth, has a 103.71 percentage and three wins against teams lower on the ladder, but wins all the same.

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They gave Brigades a contest when they met in April at the same venue, going in level pegging at half-time.

“We can match the top three — we’ve been competitive but unfortunately unable to put four full quarters together,” Northampton co-coach Grady Tomelty said.

“Without making excuses it’s been tough for every team with COVID and the likes, we’re averaging five or six changes a week.

“We’re young but improving with players learning the importance of their role and the reigning premiers will be a test.

“They proved that last time with key personnel out but still got the job done and we’ll assess what did and didn’t work then and put an emphasis on how we want to play to give it a crack.”

North’s better players this season include Tyler Caddy, Ethan Brown, Braden Jupp, Jamie Williams and Flynn Dillon.

“Tyler is a PE teacher in Kalbarri who was keen to have a kick for us, he’s been an incredible midfield addition with his in-and-under work and grunt in the guts — rarely loses a one-on-one contest.”

“Browny is our general down back and straightens us up, he reads the play and his intercepts mean we can attack from the backline.

“Jamie, Juppy and Flynn have gone next level in terms of leadership and starting to bring others into the game.

“The standout is Aidan Bartolo, who rarely makes mistakes and is one of our toughest players — he knows where to have an influence and his form follows a hard preseason.”

Northampton could use more experience but 2019 Clune Medalist Kingsley Smith is available every second week while Harry Taylor has committed to playing when he can.

Brigades has Kim and Jayden Schofield, Graham Sandy, Izac Ronan, Ben Bockman, Jamie and Kris Ryder and if available, Erinn McCartney.

The Towns and Chapman Valley game at WA Country Builders Stadium is also interesting. Towns are coming off a respectable loss to Norths while the Valley had an easy win over Mullewa.

The other match is at Mullewa where Railways should win.

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