Sandhurst fights to break Eaglehawk’s run on home turf
by Nathan Dole
THE last club to beat Eaglehawk on its home turf at Canterbury Park, Sandhurst will fight to repeat the feat in Saturday’s fifth round of senior football in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League.
It is Beyond Blue Round across Victoria this weekend.
The Bendigo FNL will be promoting its partnerships with Headspace and Bendigo Community Health as footballers and netballers kick in or throw their support for research and treatment of mental health.
On the football field, Eaglehawk and Sandhurst renew one of the league’s greatest rivalries.
Since a 32-point loss to Sandhurst at Canterbury Park in round 17 of the 2016 season, Eaglehawk has made its home a fortress.
There have been some closely-fought contests in that time, but Hawks players and fans have left their ground smiling each time.
Sandhurst has the line-up to test the Hawks all match.
At selection, Eaglehawk regained hard-running defender Tyler Miles, but will be without the inspirational Tim Hill.
Sandhurst brought in Martin Leyden and Alex Wharton as Sean O’Farrell and Zach Pallpratt go out.
Midfield and on-ball duels will be vital in this match.
Eaglehawk has ruckman Richard Tibbett in top form and teaming brilliantly with the likes of Brodie Collins, Jesse Collins, Sam Harper, Ben McPhee and Ged Hommelhoff.
In attack, Sean Williams leads the Borough’s attack on 16 goals, while Jarryd Pertzel, 13 goals; Sean Knott, Riley McIvor and Riley Saunders add to the attacking power.
A defence led by Oscar Madden and Dylan Hanley always works hard.
The Dragons have the strength of Blair Holmes, Andy Collins, ruckman Chris Down and the skilful Lachlan Tardrew able to win plenty of contests in and around the packs.
In-form players for Sandhurst include Jake McLean on a wing or closer to goal, Matt Thornton at centre half-forward, key forward Will Holt, and on-baller Nick Stagg.
The play of Jake Wilkinson, Tom Calvert and Jake Pallpratt in defence will be crucial to Sandhurst’s hopes.
Kangaroo Flat and Castlemaine have a great chance to mark their first wins of the season when they meet at Bendigo Mazda Oval in Dower Park.
The Kangaroos regain number one ruckman Nick Lang, Turner and Brown.
Key forward Matt Boland will be better for last week’s run after a knee reco.
On a day where the footy will be at ground level a lot, the Roos have Corey Greer, Jonathan Lanyon, Liam Collins and Lloyd Needs capable of winning many contests.
Just who has the task of opposing Castlemaine’s star recruit Angus Monfries will have kept the Roos’ coaching staff busy throughout the week.
From limited opportunities, Monfries has kicked nine goals, with last week’s first quarter at Eaglehawk the best the former Essendon and Port Power forward-mid has put together in his short time with the Pies.
Matt Filo and Mitchell Dance are in great form, while Jordan Matera, Braidon Blake and William Moran are just some of the many players that coach Derrick Filo will be keen to see have an impact for longer.
Football is back at Harry Trott Oval in Neale Street, Kennington when South Bendigo tackles Gisborne.
A highlight of the day will be the reunion of players, officials and supporters from the Kennington Strathdale Football Club days.
Winless since round one, South Bendigo will be desperate to take the points against a highly-rated opponent.
The Bloods have brought in Jesse Sheahan and Tyler McLeod to replace AndrewVanheumen and Brad Wright.
In attack, South Bendigo has Kaiden Antonowicz again leading the goalkicking on 11.
Antonowicz earned the Ron Best Medal as the league’s leading goalkicker last season.
The Bloods will look for Brady Childs, Brock Harvey and Will Allen to cap many of the attacks.
Playing coach Nathan Horbury, ruckman Callum Crisp, Brody Haddow and Tom Brereton have been among their team’s best each round.
The big test will be in defence where South Bendigo has to stop the in-form Patrick McKenna, 17 goals; and Jack Scanlon, 12.
Gisborne is bolstered by the return of Trent Crosbie at half-back, on-baller Shaun Comerford, key defender Anthony Belcher, and James Ferry.
The Clinton Young-coached Gisborne is on the rebound from defeat and has the class of Matt Goodyear, Bradley Bernacki and Casey Summerfield to lead the way.
Golden Square takes on Maryborough at Fur Life Vet Oval in Wade Street.
It’s another reunion for the Bulldogs, this time the stars from the 1989 grand final win, will be watching on.
A huge plus for the blue and gold is the return of gun on-baller Jack Geary, winner of the Michelsen Medal as the league’s fairest and best player in 2018.
The Bulldogs will be without Brad Eaton and Dale Lowry for a clash with a team that has a 1-3 record and put up a strong challenge against Eaglehawk and Sandhurst the past two rounds.
A Golden Square line-up that has the class of Jayden Burke, Alex Marklew and Hamish Morcom in attack, strength of Brayden Dorrington and Jon Coe and dash of Jake Thrum in defence may be too strong.
On-ballers Liam Barrett and Adam Baird are also in great form.
Maryborough will again be without key forward Stewart Crameri, which again puts a lot of onus on Jayden Templeton, 10 goals, to lead the attack.
Key players for the Ben Lavars Magpies include Bodie Malone at centre half-back, on-ballers Matt Bilton and Lachlan Butler, Jayden Hooper and Coby Perry in attack, and Jacob Long in the centre.
The unbeaten Strathfieldsaye takes on Kyneton at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane.
Just as Eaglehawk has racked up a remarkable record at home, the same applies for Strathfieldsaye.
Playing coach Troy Coates is among the inclusions this week, along with Torin Petrie, Josh Martyn and Jordan Wilson.
Storm will be without ruckman Harry Crone and versatile big man Ben Lester.
A key for Kyneton will be limiting the amount of possessions that Sam Heavyside, Josh Formosa and Kellan Smith accumulate.
Full-forward Lachlan Sharp leads the race for the Ron Best Medal on 21 goals.
A formidable attack includes Hugh Robertson, Harry Conway and Fergus Payne.
Kyneton centreman Rhys Magin is in hot form, while Hamish and Josh Govan, Harrison Huntley and Pat McCarthy have been among the Tigers best all season.
Key forward Nathan Thompson is on the sidelines, so it’s a daunting task for the Luke Beattie-coach Kyneton to kick enough goals to match, let alone defeat Storm.