TOUGH. Leitchville/Gunbower will need to stop Ryan Semmel tomorrow if the Bombers are to defeat Huntly.THE Heathcote District Football Netball League’s minor premiership could be decided tomorrow if Leitchville/Gunbower defeats Huntly.

The Bombers – who have won their past 11 games – can open up a two-victory buffer over their premiership rivals going into the final three rounds of the season.

Matt Hawken’s men benefited from Huntly having the bye last round, reclaiming top spot thanks to a 113-point win against Mount Pleasant last weekend.

With last season’s minor premiers having next weekend off due to the bye, a win at Strauch Reserve will all but guarantee a break during the opening weekend of the finals series, despite the strong record of reigning premiers, North Bendigo – who have won 10 games this season.

However, if the Hawks defeat the Bombers for the first time since round 18, 2014, Leitchville/Gunbower can reclaim top spot with victories against Heathcote and Elmore in the final two rounds, as well as Huntly losing to North Bendigo in round 18.

“Huntly have been in terrific form and will be fresh after the bye,” Hawken said.

“They really work on being fast starters in their games and we will need to match this early intensity to ensure they don’t get a jump on us.”

Chris Gleeson, Ryan Semmel and Harry Whittle – who led the way when the Hawks lost the Bombers by 34 points back in round six – loom as danger players for the hosts, with the Bombers needing to shut the trio down to win.

Ruckman, Cam Ross – who kicked four goals for the Bombers back in round six – and co-captain, Daniel Couwenberg will push to be declared fit for the match, with Daniel and Brendan Meroli certain to take to the field.

The visitors will miss the defensive skills of co-captain, Hoby Bussey, youngster Jack Dye and Jarrad Nuttall, but have plenty of options to cover the trio.

Huntly’s back third, led by Stacy Fiske and Matthew Klein-Bretelner, will need to shut down Daniel Coates, Sam Kennedy and Matt Perri to have any chance of winning, whilst Tom German and Tim Lincoln will lead the way in the middle of the ground.

“Our win against Huntly in round six really kick started our season as we played a terrific match after suffering a number of injuries early in the game,” Hawken said.

“The midfield battle will be critical to the final scoreboard tomorrow.”

PREDICTION: Leitchville/Gunbower will win by 20 points.

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