GISBORNE will try to break Strathfieldsaye Storm’s long-running unbeaten streak on home turf in Saturday’s 13th round of the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s senior footy action.
Since 2014, Storm’s been beaten just twice at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane.
Strathfieldsaye’s last defeat at home was a 53-99 loss to Golden Square in round 11 of 2017.
The Bulldogs snapped a remarkable winning run at home by Storm which began following a 79-point defeat inflicted by Sandhurst on April 19, 2014.
This Saturday’s clash between first and second will draw a huge crowd as Strathfieldsaye marks its 10th year since joining the Bendigo FNL.
Jumpers and tops worn by Storm’s players will carry the names of every player who has represented the club in football and netball.
The Troy Coates-coached Strathfieldsaye will be desperate to take the four points ahead of Saturday night’s unveiling of the club’s Team of the Decade.
It will not be an easy task against a Gisborne line-up which has plenty of goalkicking power, a lot of skilful onballers and midfielders, and a tight-knit defence.
The same can be said for Storm which has an 11-1 record.
A formidable Strathfieldsaye attack is led by Lachlan Sharp, Hugh Robertson, Fergus Payne and Lachlan Gill.
In midfield, Storm has Vin Flood, Kellan Smith and Josh Formosa, and a strong defence is led brilliantly by Bryce Curnow and the Geary brothers, Kallen and Shannon.
A key for Gisborne will be creating enough chances for classy forwards McKenna and Jack Scanlon.
Playing coach Clinton Young is a danger to Storm, especially with his precise and long kicking from half-forward or a wing.
The Bulldogs also have onballers Casey Summerfield, Brad Bernacki and Matt Goodyear, centreman Ethan Minns, and key defenders Tim Walsh and Jarrad Lynch in great form.
Defeated in its past two hit-outs at Queen Elizabeth Oval, Golden Square will be desperate to avoid a hat-trick when it plays South Bendigo.
Square’s round seven showdown with Sandhurst on the QEO ended in a one-point defeat.
In round 14 of last season, South Bendigo beat the Bulldogs by 15 points at the famous oval.
A win is a must for the Bernie Haberman-coached Golden Square to keep the heat on Eaglehawk in the fight for the double chance at finals time.
The Bulldogs welcome back the experienced Travis Baird and Brad Eaton, youngster Harry McCormick, and Adam Baird who captained Victoria Country to last Saturday’s win against the Victorian Amateurs in Carlton.
The marking power of Jayden Burke, Travis Baird and Jordan Rosengren, and creativity of Hamish Morcom and Ryan Hartley will put the Bloods under enormous pressure.
A strong Golden Square defence is led brilliantly by Jon Coe, Will Lee and Brayden Dorrington.
South Bendigo coach Nathan Horbury returns after representing Victoria Country.
In the centre or half-back, Horbury’s calmness under pressure and ability to win many one-on-one duels are among his many strengths.
The Bloods have named gun forward Kaiden Antonowicz in the centre, but he is likely to spend a lot of time in attack.
Callum Crisp has had an outstanding season in the ruck, while Tom Brereton, Brody Haddow, Brady Childs, Braydon Torpey and Will Allen have regularly featured among the best.
Another big game will be at Kangaroo Flat where the Roos take on Kyneton at Bendigo Mazda Oval in Dower Park.
The Roos are bolstered by return of stars Nick Lang in the ruck, Matt Boland at full-forward, and Ross Turner in the centre.
In a tough season for the Robert Bennett-coached Kangaroos, Jono Lanyon, Liam Collins, Dylan Klemm, Matt Despott and Hayden Pyke have played well.
The Roos must work hard to limit the influence that Tigers’ stars Rhys Magin, Hamish and Josh Govan have around the packs and through the midfield.
Pat McCarthy kicked three goals and coach Luke Beattie added two majors when Kyneton won the round four clash with the Flat at Tigerland.
Other players to watch for Kyneton are Harrison Huntley in defence, Max O’Sullivan, Ben Xiriha and Rooth.
Maryborough is back at Barkers Oval in Princes Park to play Sandhurst.
The Magpies have been tough to beat at home for most of the season.
Jayden Hooper, Lachlan Butler, Coby Perry, Daniel Vadala and Luke Bucknall win a lot of the footy for the Ben Lavars-coached Maryborough.
A big test will be for Magpies’ key defenders Bodie Malone and Mitch McClure against Matt Thornton and Will Holt.
Changes by the Dragons include Jasper Stewart on a wing for his first senior game.
Blair Holmes, Zac Pallpratt, Jake McLean, Adam Parry, Nick Stagg, Andy Collins, Jed and Lachlan Zimmer are just some of the many options Sandhurst can use in midfield and onball roles.
Castlemaine takes on Eaglehawk at Camp Reserve.
It’s another massive test for the Magpies against the high-flying Hawks.
Castlemaine is bolstered by the inclusion of Mitch Gough in the centre for his first senior game with the club.
Hough previously starred with Kangaroo Flat.
The play of Matt Filo as ruck-rover, Angus Monfries in attack, Dylan Atkins from a wing, Sam Nettleton in the ruck, Mitch Dance and Riley Pedretti will be important to the Magpies being in this contest.
In the second match of his comeback to the Two Blues, Brodie Filo returns to where his footy career kicked off.
The Filo family will have a big influence on this contest, Brodie in the centre or attack for the Borough and his dad, Derrick is coach of Castlemaine.
In-form players for Eaglehawk include Sam Harper, Cam McGlashan, Clayton Holmes, Joel Mullen, Dillon and Sean Williams, and Oscar Madden.
Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:
Strathfieldsaye 246 per cent, 44 points; Gisborne 236, 40; Eaglehawk 171, 36; Golden Square 169, 36; Sandhurst 146, 32; Maryborough 67, 20; Kyneton 60, 16; South Bendigo 67, 8; Kangaroo Flat 48, 8; Castlemaine 25, 0.