Hawks prepare for dogfight with Golden Square

By Nathan Dole

PLAY will be at finals-type intensity as Eaglehawk and Golden Square meet in this Saturday’s 15th round of the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s senior footy action.

The Hawks and Bulldogs are locked on 44 points, but superior percentage has Eaglehawk in third place and holding the double chance at finals time.

Being on home turf at Canterbury Park, a ground where they have been beaten just once in 2019, is a huge plus for Eaglehawk.

In round six, Golden Square beat the Hawks by 10 points at Fur Life Vet Oval in Wade Street.

There is plenty of incentive for both teams.

Golden Square onballer/forward Adam Baird will play his 150th senior game for the blue and gold.

The play of Baird, Jack Geary, Liam Barrett and Matt Compston at centre ball-ups and stoppages will be crucial for the Bulldogs.

A great sign for Square was the play of key forward Travis Baird in last week’s win at Maryborough.

The marking power and competitiveness of Travis Baird, Jayden Burke and Jordan Rosengren in the Bulldogs forward line will test the Borough.

Will Lee, Jon Coe, Nathan Holt and Jake Thrum are key figure in Square’s defence.

At the other end of the field, Eaglehawk has shown it has plenty of scoring options.

Sean Williams leads the goalkicking race on 37, but Riley Saunders, 30; Sam Harper, 24, plus Ged Hommelhoff and Ben McPhee are dangerous in the forward 50m arc.

The Hawks also have the class and X-factor of Brodie Filo and Jack Fallon, and toughness of Brodie and Jesse Collins, Riley McIvor and Dillon Williams in the clinches.

South Bendigo will be desperate to mark its third victory when it plays Kyneton at Queen Elizabeth Oval on Saturday.

Final quarter fade-outs have cost the young Bloods past two rounds against Golden Square and Gisborne.

South Bendigo was within 35 points of Gisborne at three quarter-time of last Saturdays match at Gardiner Reserve, but the Bulldogs slammed on 6.2 to just two behinds in the last term.

Tough onballer Brody Haddow is one of South Bendigo’s most consistent players and will again play a key role along with coach Nathan Horbury off half-back, ruckman Callum Crisp, Kaiden Antonowicz and Brock Harvey in attack.

The Bloods defence is led by co-captain Zac Hare, Joel Swatton and Braydan Torpey.

In round six, Kyneton won a thrilling battle with the Bloods at Tigerland by five points.

Kyneton coach Luke Beattie booted six goals in that win.

The Tigers will be without Nathan Thompson, but have Hayden Ingleton, Max O’Sullivan and Pat McCarthy to lead the attack.

Kyneton’s strength is the play of Rhys Magin in the centre, and onballers Hamish and Josh Govan.

Limit their impact and the Bloods will be right in the game.

Maryborough takes on Gisborne at Barkers Oval in Maryborough’s Princes Park.

The Magpies worked hard to be within four goals of Golden Square at three quarter-time of last Saturday’s home game, but the Bulldogs added 6.3 to 1.2 in the final 30 minutes.

Maryborough is up against another Bulldogs’ line-up which also went on a last quarter blitz in its latest hit-out.

Stewart and Lachlan Crameri return for the Magpies.

Key players for Maryborough include ruck-rover Lachlan Butler, rover Matt Bilton, Daniel Vadala and coach Ben Lavars in defence, Coby Perry and Liam Latch in midfield, and an attack led by Stewart Crameri, Jayden Templeton and Hooper.

Among the biggest challenges for Maryborough will be stopping Gisborne star forward Pat McKenna who kicked six goals last round and has a season tally of 67.

A powerful Gisborne team which has coach Clinton Young on a wing, includes Tim Walsh and Anthony Belcher in defence, Wood, Brad Bernacki and Lynch in attack, and an on-ball division of ruckman Grabham, Ethan Minns and Scott Walsh.

Strathfieldsaye Storm regains three of its best – Kallen Geary, Lachlan Sharp and Vin Floood– to take on Kangaroo Flat at Triple M Park in Strathfieldsaye’s Tannery Lane.

Sharp will start the day on 89 goals.

The versatility of Storm’s team was on show in the win at Kyneton as Bryce Curnow who has spent most of the season at centre half-back went to attack and kicked a game-high six goals.

Playing coach Troy Coates can switch players to many roles without a hitch.

Best in Storm’s latest victory were Jake Moorhead, Lachlan Wallace, Harry Conway and Bryce Curnow.

Kangaroo Flat has beaten Kyneton at home and then won at Castlemaine the past two rounds.

The Robert Bennett-coached Roos face a danting task to make it a hat-trick.

Players to watch for Kangaroo Flat include Nick Lang in the ruck, Matt Clifford and Brodie Fry in attack, Matt Despott at centre half-back, and onballers Jono Lanyon and Liam Collins.

This match will be another great learning experience for the likes of Nathan McHugh, Darcy Poulter, Kyle Symons, Lachlan Tranter and Riley Bouwmeester.

The round will be completed on Sunday when Sandhurst takes on Castlemaine at Queen Elizabeth Oval from 1.20pm.

A 57-78 result in last Saturday’s clash with Kangaroo Flat at Camp Reserve was Castlemaine’s best performance of the season.

The Magpies worked hard to be within two goals going into the final term, but the Rooskicked way to score 4.4 to 2.7.

Sandhurst will have too much skill and scoring power for the Magpies to hold across four quarters.

The Dragons attack is led by Matt Thornton, 33 goals, and Jake McLean has played well in many matches to be on 21 goals.

Sandhurst’s most consistent include ruckman Chris Down, Jake Wilkinson and Jake Pallprattin defence, Lachlan Ross, Blair Holmes and Nick Stagg.

Leading goalkickers for the Magpies against Flat were Angus Monfries and Jake O’Brien on two each.

Recruited to Castlemaine after stints at AFL level with Essendon and Port Adelaide, and then in the VFL with Western Bulldogs, Monfries has kicked 20 goals for the Pies, but also spent time across half-back or in midfield.

The play of O’Brien as rover, Matt Filo in the centre, Riley Pedretti in attack, Jesse Johnson from a wing, Mitchell Dance in the centre and Sam Nettleton in the ruck have been highlights for the young Castlemaine team.

Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:

Strathfieldsaye 258 per cent, 52 points; Gisborne 215, 44; Eaglehawk 188, 44; Golden Square 172, 44; Sanndhurst 131, 36; Maryborough 67, 20; Kyneton 55, 16; Kangaroo Flat 54, 16; South Bendigo 64, 8; Castlemaine 26, 0.

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