Storm works to cut through Square’s defence
STRATHFIELDSAYE must find a way through Golden Square’s defensive set-up to be any chance in Saturday’s start to the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s senior footy finals action.
The Storm and Bulldogs will contest the qualifying final from 2.20pm at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Both teams met just seven days ago where Golden Square dominated for many minutes in an 88-41 victory at Triple M Park in Strathfieldsaye’s Tannery Lane.
There have been many changes to Storm’s line-up.
Ins for Strathfieldsaye are co-coach Shannon Geary, Daniel Clohesy, Harry Conway, ruckman Michael Pilcher, and Riley Wilson.
Out are Callum McCarty (head knock), Jye Formosa and George Simpson.
Storm named a ‘from’ interchange of six which has to be cut to four.
In last Saturday’s clash, the Bulldogs led 21-13 at ¼ time and slammed on 5.8 to nil in the second stanza.
Gun forwards Joel Brett and Jayden Burke kicked three goals apiece as the Bulldogs dominated stoppages and in midfield through the play of Ricky Monti, Hamish Morcom and Jack Hickman for another big win.
It was the second time this season where a dogged defence led by Liam Barrett, Jon Coe, Will Lee and Zack Shelton kept Storm to under 50 points.
Storm’s best in the latest hit-out with Square were Mitch Hallinan, Lachlan Ratcliffe, Jack Neylon and Jake Moorhead.
It was a more emphatic victory for the Christian Carter-coached Golden Square against Storm in the ninth round at Fur Life Oval in Wade Street.
On that day the Dogs held Storm to a score of 22 points.
Golden Square had 10 goalkickers in a final tally of 10.20 as ruckman Matt Compston, Braydon Vaz, Ryan Hartley and Hamish Morcom were best.
Storm’s best were Mitch Hallinan, Thomas Bennett, Lachlan Ratcliffe and Callum McCarty.
Strong defensive play have been hallmarks of Square’s wins the past two Saturdays against Strathfieldsaye and Gisborne.
The Bulldogs also have plenty of attacking flair through the likes of captain Jack Geary, wingman Jake Thrum, and Liam Jacques.
Ruckman Matt Compston is one of Golden Square’s most valuable players and has starred at centre ball-ups and stoppages.
A massive challenge for Storm will be limiting the supply to Bulldogs’ forwards Joel Brett and Jayden Burke who have kicked 92 and 53 goals in the team’s 14-4 run.
The Strathfieldsaye defence includes Ben Lester, Harry Conway, Shannon Geary and Thomas Bennett.
The Darryl Wilson and Shannon Geary-coached Storm will look to Michael Pilcher in the ruck, Kallen Geary as ruck-rover, rover Jake Moorhead, and Daniel Clohesy in the centre to win first possession and put the heat on the Bulldogs.
In terms of ‘big game players’, Kallen Geary is one of the league’s best.
Whether he be playing from a half-back flank, through midfield, or near goal, Geary is a tough match-up, not just because of his running ability, but superb skills.
Storm has captain Lachlan Sharp and James Schischka as the main targets in attack and well supported by the likes of Caleb Ernst, Baxter Slater and Riley Wilson.
Winner of Saturday’s match advances to the September 3 second semi-final against Gisborne.
It’s a showdown between Gisborne and Strathfieldsaye when the reserves qualifying final starts at 12.15pm.
In round five, Gisborne won on Storm’s turf by 66 points.
Hayden Doricic kicked four goals as Thomas Fraser, Heath Simpson, Boyd Nalder and Adam Brancatisano were best for the Bulldogs.
Zach Charles, Rhys Zera, Lachlan Monti and Darcy Mulquiny worked hard for Storm.
The round 14 match at Gardiner Reserve was abandoned.
Winner of Saturday’s match will meet Golden Square in the second semi on September 3.
First of the BFNL finals will be the under-18s qualifier between Golden Square and Gisborne from 10.15am.
The all-Bulldogs showdown in the 17th round at Golden Square ended in a 63-28 win for the visitors.
Harry Luxmoore, Cameron Freake, Jackson Kerr and Kne Minns led the way for the red, white and blue.
Best for Golden Square were Bailey Cain, Harrison Kelly, Hugh Freckleton and Billy Meade.
In round eight, Golden Square fought from 13 points down at half-time to win 54-43 at Gardiner Reserve.
Zackery Tickell, Liam Thomas, Billy Meade and Nick Sherriff were best for the blue and gold.
Gisborne’s best were Darcy Lockens, James Fox, Connor Bills and Matthew Barake.
Golden Square welcomes back captain Macey Eaton to a line-up that includes Ned Jenkyn, Flynn McConville and Noah Warfe.
In-form players for Gisborne include Jarrod Ainsworth, Connor Bills, Cameron Freake and Darcy Young.
Beaten just once in the run to the finals, Sandhurst awaits the winner of the Dogs versus Dogs in a second semi-final showdown.