Golden Square fights Gisborne to be top dog

by Nathan Dole

THE battle of the Bulldogs, Golden Square and Gisborne highlights this Saturday’s ninth round in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s senior footy action.

In a crucial contest between third and second, Square has home-ground advantage at Fur Life Vet Oval in Wade Street.

It’s not just premiership points, but also a chance to gain a psychological edge that will be so important for both line-ups in the run to September’s finals.

Gisborne’s only defeat as the league reaches the halfway mark of the home and away series was to the unbeaten Strathfieldsaye.

The Square was beaten by Strathfieldsaye and endured a one-point loss to Sandhurst in round seven.

There is plenty of goalkicking power in these top teams.

Golden Square has shown it has plenty of scoring options in most matches.

Leading goalkickers for Square are Jayden Burke, 19 goals; Alex Marklew, 18; and Adam Baird, 13.

A formidable Gisborne attack includes Pat McKenna, 41 goals; and Jack Scanlon, 22.

Opposing coaches, Golden Square’s Bernie Habermann and Gisborne playing coach Clinton Young will stress the importance of goalkicking accuracy and the one per cent plays such as tackles, smothers, blocks and shepherds.

In the midfield, Golden Square is led brilliantly by Jack Geary, Adam Baird, Liam Barrett, Hamish Morcom and ruckman Matt Compston.

Their duels with the likes of Casey Summerfield, Matt Goodyear, Bryce Bernacki, Nic Doolan and Josh Grabham will be important.

Square’s defence has the marking strength of Will Lee and Jon Coe and dash of Jake Thrum and Zack Shelton.

A tight-knit Gisborne defence is led by Jarrad Lynch, Tim Walsh, James Ferry and Trent Crosbie.

South Bendigo will celebrate win number two, or Castlemaine breaks its winless run when the Bloods and Magpies clash at Harry Trott Oval in Neale Street, Kennington.

The Bloods were held to just four goals, all kicked by Kaiden Antonowicz, in last Saturday’s match at Strathfieldsaye.

For Castlemaine it will be a chance for Angus Monfries to spend more time in attack or midfield than across half-back as he did last week.

Recruited to the Magpies after stints with AFL clubs Essendon and Port Adelaide, Monfries has kicked 16 goals from limited opportunities.

Key players for Castlemaine include Matt Filo, Jake O’Brien, Mitchell Dance, Anthony Robins, Dakota and Declan Slingo, and Jordan Matera.

The Bloods have talented youngsters such as Kade Blow, Braydan Torpey and Tom Brereton capable of winning plenty of the ball, and ruckman Callum  Crisp is back in action.

The experience of South Bendigo coach Nathan Horbury, Brady Childs and Joel Swatton may be a telling factor.

After wins at home and away, Maryborough is back at Barkers Oval in Princes Park to take on Strathfieldsaye Storm.

It’s a daunting task for the Ben Lavars-coached Maryborough which followed up a great win against Kyneton by outpointing Kangaroo Flat last Saturday.

Key players for the Magpies include Matt Bilton, Luke Bucknall, Jayden Templeton, Bodie Malone, Jake Postle, Jacob Long and Connor O’Shea.

A blow is Stewart Crameri, Lachlan Crameri and Daniel Vadala being out.

Storm star Lachlan Sharp is well on track to pass the century goals mark and claim another Ron Best Medal.

Sharp leads the goalkicking race on 60.

Strathfieldsaye also has Hugh Robertson, Fergus Payne and the versatile Bryce Curnow capable of kicking many goals.

Limiting Storm’s run from half-back and forcing turnovers will be keys to the Borough being in this contest.

The Troy Coates-coached Storm will be wary of Maryborough, but should be too strong.

Stung by consecutive defeats, Eaglehawk struck back in emphatic fashion as it scored a 140 to 15 victory at Kyneton last round.

The Hawks were ruthless, especially in defence where Tim Hill, Tyler Miles and Jack Fallon were outstanding.

The Hawks return to Canterbury Park to take on Kangaroo Flat.

It’s a massive test for the Roos defence in trying to limit the impact Borough forwards Sean Williams, Shaun Knott and Riley McIvor have on the contest.

Key inclusions for the Hawks are Clayton Holmes at centre half-back and the versatile Brenton Conforti.

Kangaroo Flat will be without key forward Matt Boland who has kicked 13 goals in just four games.

There will be greater pressure on Matt Clifford, Brodie Fry and Liam Collins in attack.

The Roos are still without number one ruckman Nick Lang, so young gun Dylan Klemm faces a massive challenge.

Jonathan Lanyon, Ryley Barrack, Ross Turner, Andrew Cussen and Corey Greer will play key roles for the Robert Bennett-coached Kangaroos.

Sandhurst takes on Kyneton at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

There have not been many fond memories for the Tigers on the QEO in recent years.

The Luke Beattie-coached Kyneton will be desperate to improve on scoring just one goal in its latest hit-out.

A talented Sandhurst line-up has the likes of Blair Holmes, Zac Palpratt and Adam Parry who are always ferocious at the contest, marking power of Matt Thornton and Chris Down, and skill of Nick Stagg, Jake McLean and many more.

The Dragons also welcome back strong-marking forward Will Holt.

Kyneton has had onballers Rhys Magin, Josh and Hamish Govan play well all season.

Key defender Harrison Huntley, Max O’Sullivan, Pat McCarthy, James Orr, Darcy Harris and Taylor Kelly are others who will be keen to perform after a disappointing result last round.

Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:

Strathfieldsaye 296 per cent, 32 points; Gisborne 200, 28; Golden Square 161, 24; Eaglehawk 148, 20; Sandhurst 127, 20; Maryborough 72, 12; Kyneton 60, 12; Kangaroo Flat 61, 8; South Bendigo 58, 4; Castlemaine 27, 0.

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