FOR the first time in a long time, Gisborne has a chance to mark four consecutive victories in this Saturday’s ninth round in the Bendigo Football Netball League season.
The Bulldogs travel to Queen Elizabeth Oval for a crucial clash with South Bendigo.
There is plenty at stake as the Dogs and Bloods are in the fight to be fifth on the league ladder.
A loss at home would be a severe dent in the aspirations of the Bloods who have a win-loss tally of 3-4 and a draw of figuring in September’s action.
Gisborne’s confidence has soared after last Saturday’s 29-point win against the league’s other Bulldogs, Golden Square at Gardiner Reserve.
The Clinton Young-coached Gisborne has fought back from a 1-4 start to now be 4-4.
Beating South will be a must as Gisborne aims to keep the heat on the fifth-placed Dragons, who have a 4-4 record, but will start hot favourite in Saturday’s clash on Castlemaine’s turf.
Sidelined by injury in the early part of the season, Young was best afield in Gisborne’s latest win where it showed it has plenty of goalkicking options.
Key defender Jack Reaper and midfielder Ross Celano also starred in Gisborne’s best win this year.
The Bloods are on the rebound from an 87-point loss at Strathfieldsaye.
Kaiden Antonowicz kicked four goals against Storm and is second in the race for the Ron Best Medal as the league’s number one goalkicker on 31.
Next best at South is Brock Harvey on 11.
A greater scoring output from more forwards or on-ballers will be a goal for Bloods coach Brady Childs is likely to set for his team against Gisborne.
Another big game on Saturday will be at Golden Square when the Blue and Gold take on Kyneton.
The Dogs will be desperate to avoid a hat-trick of defeats.
Square was held to just nine goals at Gisborne last round.
Jayden Burke leads the Golden Square attack on 18 goals.
The play of Jack Geary, Adam Baird, Brad Eaton, Jon Coe, Jake Thrum and ruckman Matt Compston will be crucial in halting the Tigers charge to another win.
Kyneton scored a 128-point win against Castlemaine last round as Rhys Magin and Jake Ward kicked eight goals apiece and Ethan Foreman chipped in with five.
The Tigers know the defensive intensity will be much higher on Square’s ground.
Maryborough faces a huge task at home against the high-flying Eaglehawk, and it’s the same scenario as Castlemaine hosts Sandhurst at Camp Reserve.
Kangaroo Flat tackles the ladder-leading Strathfieldsaye at Dower Park.
Storm will be without gun goalkicker Lachlan Sharp, hamstring, and captain Kallen Geary, shoulder, but has plenty of class on every line.