Crucial contest for Dogs, Hawks at Golden Square

by Nathan Dole
TWO of the league’s greatest rivals, Golden Square and Eaglehawk clash in Saturday’s sixth round of the Bendigo Bank Football Netball League’s senior footy season.

A big day at Fur Life Vet Oval in Wade Street, Golden Square will be followed by the club’s inaugural Hall of Fame.

On-field the Bulldogs will be determined to mark a fifth victory and move a win clear of the Borough.

Golden Square’s line-up is bolstered by the return of Travis Baird and Jordan Rosengren in attack and Drew Barrett.

Key inclusions for the Hawks are Brenton Conforti, Tim Hill and Clayton Holmes.

This clash may well be decided by the midfield and on-ball battles.

Golden Square ruckman Matt Compston marks his 150th match and has great support from the likes of Jack Geary, Adam Baird and Liam Barrett at ground level.

They will be up against Richard Tibbett, Brodie Collins, Ben McPhee and Ryan Gillingham.

From a half-back or a wing, Jake Thrum is one of the most influential players in the Golden Square team.

Thrum’s play in Bendigo’s big win in the Community Championships clash with Outer East earned the Derrick Filo medal for best afield.

The experience of Brayden Dorrington, Jon Coe, Jayden Burke and Alex Marklew will be important in such a big game.

Team unity is a major strength at Eaglehawk.

The Hawks showed plenty of fight to win their latest showdown with Sandhurst and will be primed for another big challenge.

A defence that includes Tyler Miles, Oscar Madden, Sam Thompson and Joel Mullen is not easy to beat.

Sean Williams, Shaun Knott, Ged Hommelhoff and Riley McIvor add to the Borough’s goalscoring power.

Another of the Hawks’ classy midfielders or on-ballers, Sam Harper takes on his former club.

Gisborne tackles Maryborough at Gardiner Reserve.

The Bulldogs look to have too many scoring options for the Magpies to hold across four quarters.

Key players for Gisborne include Casey Summerfield in the centre, Trent Crosbie at half-back, Patrick McKenna and Jack Scanlon in attack, and ruckman Josh Grabham.

Maryborough is bolstered by the return of coach Ben Lavars and key forward Stewart Crameri.

A  defence led by Bodie Malone, Mitch  McClure and Daniel Vadala will rely a lot on pressure from further up the ground.

Luke Bucknall, Matt Bilton and Lachlan Butler are capable of racking up many possessions.

Castlemaine takes on Sandhurst at Camp Reserve.

Despite a hamstring concern, gun recruit and leading goalkicker Angus Monfries was named in the Castlemaine line-up.

Even from a forward pocket, Monfries is capable of a few goals for the Magpies.

On-ballers Jake O’Brien and Matt Filo will again play key roles, as will Dylan Atkins and Sean Moss in defence, and Braidon Blake at full-forward.

Injuries have hurt Sandhurst once again, although Adam Parry and Taylor Strachan return.

An attack that includes Matt Thornton, Nick Stagg and Joel Wharton will be keen to capitalise on the chances set up by the likes of McLean, Blair Holmes, Jed Zimmer and Alex Wharton.

Kyneton will be eyeing win number three when it takes on South Bendigo, 1-4, in Tigerland at Kyneton Showgrounds.

Tigers’ midfielders Rhys Magin and Josh Govan have been in great form all season and are two players the Bloods must defend well against.

Harrison Huntley’s superb play in defence earned selection for Bendigo once again, while Hamish Govan, Max O’Sullivan and Patrick McCarthy are key players for the Luke Beattie-coached Kyneton.

Victorious in the opening round, South Bendigo has endured a run of four-straight defeats.

The Bloods have brought in Cohen Balnaves, Mitch Goodwin, Aaron Gundry and Riley Walsh, but injury to co-captain Zac Hare and Joel Swatton are major blows.

Number one ruckman Callum Crisp played well in the inter-league clash, and coach Nathan Horbury is also in great form.

An attack led by Kaiden Antonowicz, Brock Harvey and Brady Childs will test the Tigers.

Kangaroo Flat faces a huge task against a red-hot Strathfieldsaye at Bendigo Mazda Oval in Dower Park.

The Roos regain Riley Barrack, but key forward Matt Boland is among those out of this contest.

Defensive pressure and limiting skill errors will be two factors coach Rob Bennett will have emphasised in the lead-up.

The play of Nick Lang, Corey Greer, Jonathan Lanyon, Matt Despott and Liam Collins will be vital for the Roos.

There were four changes, some of them forced by injury, to Strathfieldsaye’s line-up.

Ben Lester and Harry Crone return for Storm, while Sam Heavyside and Kallen Geary will not play.

A star-studded Storm team includes Bryce Curnow at centre half-back, Shannon Geary on a half-back flank, coach Troy Coates in the centre, Hugh Robertson and Lachlan Sharp as key targets in attack.

Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:

Strathfieldsaye 207 per cent, 20 points; Gisborne 217, 16; Golden Square 162, 16; Eaglehawk 155, 16; Sandhurst 120, 12; Kyneton 66, 8; Maryborough 65, 4; South Bendigo 60, 4; Kangaroo Flat 54, 4; Castlemaine 37, 0.

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