Golden Square under pressure from Bloods
INTENSE pressure is what Golden Square can expect from the Bloods from South Bendigo in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s senior footy first semi-final on Sunday.
Lose and it’s season over for the Bulldogs or Bloods.
Although it won both showdowns with South Bendigo in the home-and-away series by comfortable margins, Golden Square has to be prepared as stakes are so much higher.
The Bulldogs had beaten Strathfieldsaye in both of their previous meetings, but were stunned by a six-goal loss to Storm in the qualifying final.
The Christian Carter-coached Bulldogs earned the double chance by finishing the regular season in second place.
A major focus for Golden Square in the build-up to this match will have been on centre clearances and stoppages.
The Bulldogs will aim to capitalise on the ruckwork of Matt Compston through the play of Ryan Hartley, Jack Geary, Ricky Monti and Jack Hickman at ground level.
They will all play big roles against Will Allen, Cooper Leon, Liam Byrne, Michael Herlihy and Sam Maher.
On the wings, Golden Square has the running power of Hamish Morcom and Jake Thrum to test the Bloods.
South Bendigo coach Nathan Horbury was named on a wing and Oliver Simpson on the other.
Major challenge for South Bendigo will be stopping a powerful Bulldogs attack led by Joel Brett, Jayden Burke and Braydon Vaz.
The Bloods will look to Cameron Taggert, Andrew van Heumen and Daniel Johnstone to win or spoil in the marking contests, and for Zac Hare, Braydan Torpey and Isaiah Miller to take possession at ground level.
South Bendigo does not have a lot of height in attack, but has the pace and footy smarts of Brock Harvey, Kaiden Antonowicz and Will Keck to trouble the Bulldogs’ back six.
In the qualifying final it was Storm’s smaller forwards, led by Baxter Slater who had a huge impact on the game.
Bulldogs’ defenders Jon Coe, Will Lee, Liam Barrett and Liam Duguid have been superb all season.
In the Harmac Homes reserves, Strathfieldsaye takes on Sandhurst.
Storm is on the rebound from a 49-52 loss to Gisborne in the qualifying final.
The Dragons marked a 73-43 victory in the elimination final against Eaglehawk.
It’s one-all in this seasons meetings between Strathfieldsaye and Sandhurst.
In round two, the Dragons won 94-31 on the QEO as Luke Crawford and Jasper Stewart kicked four goals each.
Storm led 32-19 at three quarter-time of the round 11 clash before the Dragons scored 3.4 to 2.0 in the last.
Strathfieldsaye fought on for a 44-41 victory.
Key players for Storm in the first semi-final include captain Jakob Finch, Jye Formosa, Jake Hall, Brady Hall, Fergus Payne, Jordan Wilson and Patrick Blood.
The Dragons had Jed Zimmer, Harrison Free, Jack Keating and Xavier Walsh star in the elimination final.
Other players to watch in the maroon and blue include Conor, Patrick and Sean O’Farrell, Caleb Connick, Billy Robertson, Martin Leyden, Zac Sims and Matt Wilkinson.
It’s a Golden Square and Strathfieldsaye showdown in the SportsPower under-18s first semi.
Both had dramatic finishes in their first finals.
Golden Square fought from 20 points down at the start of the last quarter to be within four points of Gisborne when the final siren sounded.
Baxter Gurd led the Dogs’ attack on three goals as Macey Eaton, Xavier Carter, Nick Sherriff and Zac Wescott were best.
It was more dramatic the next day when the elimination final between Strathfieldsaye and Maryborough went into extra time.
Scores were 62-all at the end of regular time before Storm claimed a 69-64 victory.
Jye Stephens led Storm’s goalkicking on three as Riley Mulquiny, Ben Elkington, Rowan Fox and Carson James were best.
The round nine match between the teams at Fur Life Oval in Golden Square was abandoned when scores were 12-all.
In round 12, Golden Square scored five goals and kept Storm to just one in the final term to claim a 67-49 victory at Triple M Park in Strathfieldsaye’s Tannery Lane.
Schedule for Sunday’s first semi-finals at Queen Elizabeth Oval:
Under-18s at 10.15am: Golden Square v Strathfieldsaye.
Reserves at 12.15pm: Strathfieldsaye v Sandhurst.
Seniors at 2.20pm: Golden Square v South Bendigo.
Written by Nathan Dole.