Pressure’s high as Bloods tackle Hawks at QEO
PRESSURE will be high across all five of Saturday’s senior footy matches in the 11th round of the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League season.
Finals prospects for several teams could be improved or dented, while two teams chase long-awaited victories.
Sixth and seventh on the ladder, Eaglehawk and South Bendigo clash on the Bloods’ turf at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Both are locked on 5-5 records which is the same as fifth-placed Sandhurst which has a significant percentage lead to the Hawks and Bloods.
South Bendigo and Eaglehawk are on the rebound from big defeats.
The Bloods were held to a score of 47 as Golden Square won last Saturday’s clash on the Bulldogs’ turf at Fur Life Oval by 93 points.
South Bendigo and Eaglehawk last met on Good Friday where the Hawks won 122-66.
Among the inclusions for the Bloods this week is Liam Byrne.
The classy Brock Harvey was goalless last round and will be fired up for a big game, along with Kaiden Antonowicz, Michael Herlihy, Oscar White and coach Nathan Horbury.
A key for the Bloods will be strong defensive play, but also the dare and run provided by the likes of captain Zac Hare, Isaiah Miller, Braydan Torpey and Oliver Simpson.
The Travis Matheson-coached Eaglehawk know a win will put it back in the five, provided Sandhurst is defeated.
A strength of the Borough line-up is the on-ball division of Jack Lawton in the ruck, Noah Wheeler and Billy Evans.
The Hawks also have the skill of Joel Mullen and Charlie Laangford in midfield; Liam Marciano, Darcy Richards and Sean Williams in attack; and a defence that includes captain Shaun Knott, Oscar Madden and Kobe Lloyd.
Castlemaine could mark win number two or Maryborough break it’s season ‘duck’ in the all-Magpies clash at Castlemaine’s Camp Reserve.
The Good Friday match ended in a 136-86 victory for the Don Moran-coached Castlemaine at Princes Park.
The ‘Maine was outgunned across the final three quarters of last Saturday’s match at Kyneton, while Maryborough was within 16 points of Kangaroo Flat when the siren sounded at Princes Park.
A key to Saturday’s clash will be centre breaks and stoppages.
Castlemaine has Brodie Browne-Kerr, Tommy Horne and Will Moran up against Ty Stewart, Lachlan Hull and Aidan Hare.
Jack Chester kicked seven goals when Castlemaine beat Maryborough in round two and looms as a danger, along with Zac Denahy, Brad Keogh and Liam Wilkinson.
A ‘from’ bench included Bailey Henderson.
Key players for the Rick Andrews-coached Maryborough include Chris Freeman, Kya Lanfranchi, Jayden Hooper, Dylan Harberger and Lucas Hurse.
Strathfieldsaye Storm is on home turf at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane to take on Sandhurst.
At Easter it was Storm which beat the Dragons by 26 points.
The Darryl Wilson and Shannon Geary-coached Storm will be expecting another tough contest against an opponent which jumped from seventh to fifth after a 33-point win against Gisborne.
Storm is still without gun full-forward Lachlan Sharp, but has James Schischka, Harry Conway and Baxter Slater in the attack.
Kallen Geary kicked three goals in the win at Eaglehawk, but is not in this week’s team.
Onballer Jake Moorhead just keeps on racking up possessions, while the play of Lachlan Gill, Mitch Hallinan and Ben Lester in defence will be important to Storm’s chances.
The Ash Connick-coached Sandhurst had plenty of contributors in one of its best wins of the season.
The Dragons have proven in beating Golden Square and Gisborne they are a team to be reckoned with.
Key players for Sandhurst include rover Lee Coghlan, ruckman Hamish Hosking, Lachlan Zimmer, Cobi Maxted and Matt Thornton in attack.
The versatility of Brodie Montague, Zach Pallpratt and Alex Wharton is a huge plus, along with the defensive work of Liam Ireland, Tanner Nally and Isaac Ruff.
Stung by its first defeat of the season to Sandhurst at the QEO, Gisborne is back at Gardiner Reserve to take on Kyneton.
On Good Friday the Rob Waters-coached Gisborne won by 89 points at Tigerland.
The Paul Chapman-coached Tigers are on a six-game winning streak and have many players in hot form.
The play of Gisborne on-ballers Ben Eales, Nic Doolan, Seb Bell-Bartels and Macklan Lord will be a key to setting up chances for an attack that includes Josh Kemp, Matt Merrett and Matt Panuccio.
Gisborne captain Pat McKenna was not named in its 22 to take on the Tigers.
A Bulldogs’ defence led by Jack Reaper and Spear faces the in-form Rhys Magin and Cameron Manuel.
The Tigers have plenty of scoring options through the likes of Guy Dickson, Angus Nolte and Steven Georgiou.
Players to watch in the yellow and black include Frazer Driscoll and Harrison Huntley in defence, James Gaff in the centre; and onballers Dean Bartrop and Hamish Yunghanns.
Kangaroo Flat faces the daunting task against Golden Square at Dower Park.
The Easter Saturday match ended in a 109-point win in the Wade Street kennel.
The James Flaherty-coached Kangaroos worked hard for a 16-point victory in last Saturday’s match at Maryborough.
Lachy Wilson led the attack on five goals as Mitch Trewhella, Campbell Smith and Mitch Collins were best.
Among the many challenges for the Roos against Golden Square will be stopping the Bulldogs run from half-back and through midfield.
Not only will Roos’ forwards such as Sam Barnes, Mitch Rovers and Max Johnson be aiming for goals, but also to not allow the likes of Liam Jacques, Liam Duguid and Will Lee to take the ball from Square’s defence with ease.
A highlight will be the ruck between one of the league’s best in Kangaroos’ captain Nick Lang up against young Jack Hickman.
Other key players for the Flat include Jake Hywood, Patrick Murphy and Nic O’Keefe in defence.
Jack Thrum kicked five goals in a best afield performance in Square’s win against South Bendigo and was named in a centreline that includes younger brother, Will, and Ryan Hartley.
A formidable Bulldogs’ attack has the marking power of Jayden Burke, Braydon Vaz, and skilful Joel Brett.
Another player to watch in Square’s forward line is Tom Strauch, brother of Jenna who won silver in the 200m breast-stroke at the world swimming championships in Hungary.
Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:
Gisborne 247 per cent, 36 points; Strathfieldaye 187, 32; Golden Square 242, 28; Kyneton 133, 28; Sandhurst 135, 20; Eaglehawk 109, 20; South Bendigo 90, 20; Kangaroo Flat 56, 12; Castlemaine 32, 4; Maryborough 27, 0.
Ron Best Medal goalkicking award:
47 Joel Brett, GS.
45 Rhys Magin, Kyn.
33 Pat McKenna, Gis.
31 Jayden Burke, GS.
25 Brock Harvey, SB; Cobi Maxted, Sh; James Schischka, S’saye.
24 Cameron Manuel, Kyn.
23 Josh Kemp, Gis.
21 Joel Wharton, Sh.
20 Lachlan Sharp, S’saye; Lachy Wilson, KF.
19 Kaiden Antonowicz, SB; Darcy Richards, Eh, Braydon Vaz, GS.
16 Chris Freeman, Mb, Matt Merrett, Gis.; Matt Thornton, Sh.
15 Kallen Geary, S’saye; Liam Marciano, Eh.
Written by Nathan Dole.