Eaglehawk aims to repeat feat against Storm
by Nathan Dole
AS THE only team to defeat Strathfieldsaye this Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football League senior footy season, Eaglehawk will aim for a repeat in Saturday night’s second semi-final.
The Hawks and Storm will play under the Queen Elizabeth Oval lights from 6pm.
Win and it’s three grand final appearances in a row for either club.
The ledger from this season’s home and away action between Eaglehawk and Strathfieldsaye stands at one-all.
Strathfieldsaye won the first-round contest on home turf at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane by 38 points as Lachlan Sharp kicked six goals and coach Troy Coates added four.
Storm’s best were Sam Heavyside, Hugh Robertson, Hunter Lawrence and Ben Lester.
The Hawks’ attack was led by Jarryd Pertzel, four goals, as Oscar Madden, Richard Tibbett, Ben McPhee and Tim Hill starred.
Strathfieldsaye’s unbeaten streak ended on nine as the Borough won the round 10 clash at Canterbury Park by three goals.
Gedd Hommelhoff kicked three goals in a best afield performance as Sean Williams, three; McPhee and Riley Saunders, two, were also on target.
A highlight was the play of Oscar Madden to limit Storm’s gun full-forward Lachlan Sharp to just two goals as Sam Harper and Clayton Holmes were in great form for the Borough.
Best for Storm were Bryce Curnow, Lachlan Gill, Jack Neylon and Sam Heavyside.
Gill and Robertson booted three goals apiece.
After 18 rounds, Storm led the way on 17-1 from Eaglehawk, 15-3.
The Borough kicked off the finals by scoring a hard-fought 89-51 in last Saturday night’s qualifying final against Gisborne.
The Travis Matheson-coached Hawks dominated the second half as McPhee kicked three goals in a best afield feat, and Jesse Collins, Ryan Gillingham, Brodie Collins, Holmes and Richard Tibbett were among the best.
A key to the Hawks’ chances against Storm will be the onball and midfield contests.
Both line-ups have plenty of versatility, players able to crack in and win the footy and those who provide a lot of run and skill.
Players to watch for Eaglehawk include Brodie Filo, Riley Saunders, Jack Fallon, Riley McIvor, Cam McGlashan and a tight-knit defence that includes Madden, Hill, Brenton Conforti and Sam Thompson.
The evenness of the Borough’s goalkicking spread is shown by Sean Williams leading the way on 47 from Saunders, 42; McPhee and Harper, 30; Pertzel, 26 in nine games; and Hommelhoff, 24.
Williams is out of this match, though.
Shaun Knott, Justin Bateson and Ben Thompson were added to the squad.
In another remarkable season, Lachlan Sharp has kicked 129 goals to claim the Ron Best Medal.
Next best on Storm’s goalkicking list are Curnow, 28; Josh Formosa, 27; and Robertson, 26.
Number one ruckman Harry Crone will play a key role for Storm, as will Shannon Geary off half-back, Kallen Geary in the centre, Formosa, Heavyside and Jake Moorhead at the centre ball-ups and stoppages, and Ben Lester and Harry Conway in defence.
It will be season over for Gisborne and playing coach Clinton Young, or for the Bernie Haberman-coached Golden Square after Sunday’s first semi-final.
Golden Square will be without brilliant onballer/forward Adam Baird and defender Braydon Welch after they were handed four-match and three-match suspensions at this week’s tribunal hearing from elimination final incidents.
The blue and gold have brought in Alex Jenkyn and Dean Norris.
Gisborne is on the rebound from a qualifying final loss, and Golden Square stayed in the premiership race after a 15-point victory against Sandhurst in the elimination final.
Classy onballer Matt Goodyear returns to Gisborne’s team after being on the sidleines last weekend.
In the qualifying final it was Brad Bernacki, Pat McKenna, Ethan Minns, James Ferry, Sam Graham and Josh Grabham who were Gisborne’s best.
Stars for Golden Square in the elimination final were Callum Draper, Dale Lowry, Braydon Vaz, Jake Thrum, Travis Baird and Jack Geary.
A 17-point win by Gisborne at home against Golden Square in the 18th round meant it ended the regular season on a 14-4 record and Square was 12-6.
Bernacki, Minns, Tim and Scott Walsh, Graham and ruckman Josh Grabham were best for the red, white and blue.
Golden Square’s best were Jon Coe, Geary, Liam Barrett, Sam Brinsmead, Hamish Morcom and Mitch Treacy.
In round nine it was Square’s defensive pressure that played a key factor in an 8.15 (63) to 4.8 (32) win against Gisborne at Fur Life Vet Oval in Wade Street.
On that day, Liam Barrett was best on ground opposed to Gisborne’s gun full-forward Pat McKenna.
The play of Jon Coe, Will Lee and Jack Geary was outstanding.
Tim Walsh, Minns, Grabham and Bernacki worked hard for Gisborne.
A lot of Square’s focus in the lead-up to the first semi will be on McKenna who has kicked 84 goals.
Next best in Gisborne’s goalkicking race are Bernacki, 24; and Conolan, 20.
It’s the same for Square where Jayden Burke is on 40 goals, with Liam Barrett, 19; and Morcom, 16.
The return of Travis Baird to the attack releases a lot of pressure on Burke and provides another strong-marking option.
Although he has played most of the season dashing from half-back or a wing, Jake Thrum has kicked 16 goals for the blue and gold.
Schedule for Saturday’s second semi-finals at Queen Elizabeth Oval:
Seniors at 6pm: Strathfieldsaye v Eaglehawk.
Reserves at 3.55pm: Strathfieldsaye v Eaglehawk.
Under-18s at 1.50pm: Strathfieldsaye v Sandhurst.
Schedule for Sunday’s first semi-finals at Queen Elizabeth Oval:
Seniors at 2.20pm: Gisborne v Golden Square.
Reserves at 12.15pm: Gisborne v South Bendigo.
Under-18s at 10.10am: Gisborne v Kangaroo Flat.