Heat’s up as Dragons confront Gisborne
by Nathan Dole
THE heat will be turned up as Sandhurst tackles Gisborne at Queen Elizabeth Oval in Saturday’s 17th round of senior footy in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League.
Both teams had markedly different results in last Saturday’s play.
Sandhurst defeated Golden Square for the second time this season as Gisborne was outpointed on home turf at Gardiner Reserve by Eaglehawk.
Defeat in consecutive weeks would weaken Gisborne’s grip on the third rung of the ladder and the double chance at finals time.
Gisborne is a win and 46 per cent clear of fourth-placed Golden Square, but the clubs face one another in the final round at Gardiner Reserve.
For Gisborne playing coach Clinton Young and his team the focus is on a confident Sandhurst line-up.
When these teams last met the Bulldogs had 34 scoring shots in a 104 to 78 victory.
A Gisborne attack led by Pat McKenna, 77 goals; Jaidyn Owen, Jake Conolan and Brad Bernacki will be determined to strike back after being held to just five goals last Saturday.
Their task will not be easy against Sandhurst defenders Jake Wilkinson, Zac Pallpratt, Isaac Ruff and Oscar McKinley.
Midfield and onball contests will be vital.
The Bulldogs welcome back Matt Goodyear and Casey Summerfield to team with ruckman Josh Grabham, Nick Doolan, Ethan Minns and Scott Walsh.
They will be opposed to the in-form Blair Holmes, Andy Collins, Chris Down, Nick Stagg and Lachlan Zimmer.
The Dragons also regain gun onballer Lachlan Tardrew from Collingwood’s VFL team.
A Gisborne defence that includes Tim Walsh, James Ferry, Clinton Young and Trent Crosbie will be tested by the marking power of Matt Thornton, 38 goals, Lachlan Ross, and the skilful Joel Wharton, Vincent Rodi and Jed Zimmer at ground level.
South Bendigo has a hat-trick of wins in its sights as the Bloods prepare to take on Strathfieldsaye at Harry Trott Oval in Kennington.
The young Bloods put in arguably their best performance of the season as they defeated Kangaroo Flat by 10 goals at Bendigo Mazda Oval in Dower Park last Saturday.
South Bendigo did not rely on a bag of goals from Kaiden Antonowicz, 52 goals; gun ruckman Callum Crisp, or coach Nathan Horbury to dominate.
Instead it was rising stars such as Mitch Goodwin, four goals; Dylan McCutcheon, three goals; Tom Brereton, Brody Haddow, Brock Harvey, and the experienced Brady Childs who led the way.
Now the challenge is to put in a sustained four-quarter effort against the competition benchmark, Strathfieldsaye.
Biggest tasks will be in defence where Andrew Van Heumen, Daniel Johnstone, Horbury, Joel Swatton and Regan Harvey take on a Storm attack led by Lachlan Sharp, 111 goals; Bryce Curnow, Hugh Robertson, Vin Flood and Josh Formosa.
Versatility is a major strength of a Storm line-up which has coach Troy Coates capable of playing on a wing, half-forward, half-back or onball.
There are many such as Jake Moorhead, Sam Heavyside, Harry Conway, Fergus Payne and Shannon Geary who can switch roles with a minimum of fuss.
Kyneton will be desperate to atone for its round eight clash when it scored 1.9 at Tigerland against Eaglehawk.
This time the team in yellow and black is on Hawks’ turf at Canterbury Park.
All season Eaglehawk has shown it has a lot of goalkicking power.
Sean Williams leads the goalkicking award on 40, but Riley Saunders, 34; Sam Harper, 25; Ben McPhee, 21; and Gedd Hommelhoff, 20, add to the unpredictability of the Hawks’ attack.
For Kyneton it will be “team defence” not stopping one or two that will be crucial.
A blow for Kyneton is key defender Harrison Huntley being on the sidelines.
The Tigers’ leading goalkickers are Max O’Sullivan, 20, and coach Luke Beattie, 17.
Kyneton’s midfield led by Rhys Magin, Hamish and Josh Govan have worked hard all season and will need to do so opposed to the likes of Brodie and Jesse Collins, Brodie Filo and Ryan Gillingham.
The Kangaroo Flat line-up will be desperate to rebound from a disappointing performance when it plays on Maryborough’s turf at Barkers Oval in Princes Park.
Earlier in the season the Magpies won at Kangaroo Flat by five goals.
Maryborough will also be keen to mark Ben Lavars final game as coach on home turf with a victory.
Key players for the Magpies include Matt Bilton, Stewart Crameri, Bodie Malone, Jayden Templeton, Coby Perry, Jayden Hooper, Lachlan Butler and Lachlan Bond.
Kangaroo Flat’s best last week were Ethan Roberts, Matt Clifford, Brodie Fry and Kobe Brown.
Number one ruckman Nick Lang, onballers Jono Lanyon, Kevin Clarke and Hayden Pyke, plus Liam Collins, Dylan Klemm, Mitch Holt, Trent McInnes, Damian Wust and Ross Turner will be determined to turn the Roos’ form around.
Golden Square will be aiming to build confidence when it plays Castlemaine at Fur Life Vet Oval in Wade Street.
Jayden Burke has kicked 33 goals as the number one target in the Bulldogs’ attack, but needs more support.
A Bulldogs’ attack that includes Hamish Morcom, Jordan Rosengren and Ryan Hartley should have plenty of scoring chances set up by the likes of Jack Geary, Drew and Liam Barrett, Jake Thrum and Nathan Holt.
Workrate and pressure will be important for Castlemaine.
An inexperienced team was overwhelmed by Storm last round, but had played well the previous two rounds against Kangaroo Flat at home, and Sandhurst at the QEO.
Recruited to the Magpies after an AFL career with Essendon and Port Adelaide, and in the VFL with Footscray, Angus Monfries has kicked 23 goals.
Castlemaine onballers such as Jake O’Brien, Matt Filo, Daniel Easson, Will Moran and ruckman Mitch Dance will be primed to take on some of the league’s best.
A Magpies’ defence that includes Jesse Johnson, Riley Pedretti, Dakota and Declan Slingo can expect a busy afternoon.
Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:
Strathfieldsaye 304 per cent, 60 points; Eaglehawk 186, 52; Gisborne 205, 48; Golden Square 159, 44; Sandhurst 137, 44; Maryborough 63, 20; Kyneton 60, 20; South Bendigo 70, 16; Kangaroo Flat 48, 16; Castlemaine 25, 0.