Eaglehawk’s home run under threat from Gisborne
by Nathan Dole
AS it eyes off a 22nd consecutive victory at home, Eaglehawk faces a huge threat from Gisborne in Saturday’s seventh round in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s senior footy action.
Indigenous Round for the Bendigo FNL is marked by two contests which will have a bearing on who or does not make the top three.
Eaglehawk tackles Gisborne at Canterbury Park, and Sandhurst meets Golden Square at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Hawks’ fans have had plenty to cheer and be happy about at home games throughout 2018 and this season.
Saturday’s showdown with Gisborne will be one of the Borough’s biggest.
Eaglehawk is bolstered by the return of experienced defender Tim Hill, but will be without key forward Sean Williams.
A Hawks’ defence that includes Tyler Miles, Clayton Holmes, Oscar Madden, Brenton Conforti and Sam Thompson will have to team well against a formidable Gisborne attack.
The Bulldogs have gun forward Jack Scanlon and another classy forward in Jaidyn Owen on the sidelines, but still have Pat McKenna, Lynch and Bernacki capable of doing a lot of damage.
On-ball battles will be crucial.
The Hawks have Richard Tibbett and Cam McGlashan to share the ruck duties against Josh Grabham.
At ground level, Ben McPhee, Brodie Collins, Sam Harper and Ged Hommelhoff are always strong at the contest.
They will need to be against the likes of Casey Summerfield, Matt Goodyear, Scott Walsh and Ethan Minns.
Two of the competition’s fiercest rivals, Sandhurst and Golden Square clash.
Matt ‘Bear’ Thornton will play his 200th senior game for Sandhurst.
Whether it’s at centre half-forward or centre half-back, Thornton’s marking power is a huge bonus for the Dragons.
Sandhurst also regains the skilful Nick Stagg, Zach Pallpratt and Oscar Perez for this contest.
There’s plenty of scoring options for Square, so the pressure will be on a Sandhurst defence led by Jake Wilkinson, Liam Ireland and Jake Pallpratt.
The Dragons have the toughness of Blair Holmes and Adam Parry at the centre ball-ups, and the run provided by Jake McLean, Jed Zimmer and Alex Wharton.
Ruck battles between Chris Down and Bulldogs’ ace Matt Compston will be pivotal.
A Golden Square attack led by Jayden Burke, Alex Marklew and Travis Baird is in fine form.
The experienced Brad Eaton is back in and capable of playing a variety of roles.
Square has Will Lee, Brayden Dorrington, Jon Coe and Jake Thrum playing brilliantly in defence, while on-ballers Jack Geary, Adam Baird and Liam Barrett are among the league’s best.
Maryborough takes on Kyneton at Barkers Oval in Maryborough’s Princes Park.
The Magpies have played well at home, but face a challenge against a Tigers line-up that has surprised many followers by being on a 3-3 record.
Key players for Maryborough include Stewart Crameri and Roughead in attack, onballers Lachlan Butler and Matt Bilton, and Daniel Vadala and Bodie Malone in defence.
Magpies’ playing coach Ben Lavars will be expecting the intensity and skills to be at a level similar or higher than what they were when Maryborough almost upset Eaglehawk a few weeks ago.
Kyneton’s stars such as Rhys Magin, Harrison Huntley, Hamish and Josh Govan have been in superb form in every match.
Tigers’ coach Luke Beattie turned back time with a six-goal haul in last week’s thrilling win against South Bendigo on Kyneton’s turf.
The play of Patrick McCarthy, B. Xiriha, Max O’Sullivan and D. Harris will be crucial to the Tigers’ chances.
It’s 1st against 10th as Strathfieldsaye takes on Castlemaine at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane.
Just how many goals Storm’s gun full-forward Lachlan Sharp kicks may be the talking point of this contest.
Storm’s inclusions for this match include Kallen Geary, multiple premiership-winner and foundation player Lachlan Bonney, Sam Heavyside, Matt Smith and Jordan Wilson.
Bryce Curnow, Harry Crone, Hugh Robertson and Josh Formosa have been among the most consistent in Storm’s brilliant start to the season.
From limited opportunities, Angus Monfries has led Castlemaine’s attack.
Recruited to the Magpies after stints at AFL level with Essendon and Port Adelaide, and in the VFL with Footscray, Monfries is a class act in attack or through midfield.
It’s another huge challenge for the young Castlemaine line-up.
Workrate and defensive pressure are the non-negotiables for coach Derrick Filo.
The play of Jake O’Brien and Matt Filo have been highlights in the Magpies.
Both will play crucial roles in trying to win or not be dominated at centre clearances and stoppages.
Indigenous Round is completed on Sunday when South Bendigo plays Kangaroo Flat at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Both teams will be confident of breaking a winless run.
Key players for South Bendigo include Kaiden Antonowicz, Brock Harvey and Brady Childs in attack, ruckman Callum Crisp, coach Nathan Horbury in the centre.
An inexperienced Bloods’ defence will be tested by Kangaroo Flat’s gun recruit Matt Boland from Subiaco.
Youngsters to watch in South Bendigo’s team are Kade Blow on a wing, Tom Brereton, Will Keck and Braydan Torpey.
In the ruck or attack, Nick Lang is one of the most valuable players in the Kangaroo Flat line-up.
The hardworking Jonathan Lanyon and Liam Collins, the pacy Riley Barrack and Lloyd Needs, and Matt Despott and Dylan Klemm will all play key roles for the Robert Bennett-coached Kangaroo Flat.