Storm fights to gain edge against Golden Square
A QUALIFYING final showdown is locked in as Strathfieldsaye and Golden Square fight to gain a crucial mental edge in Saturday’s 18th round of the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s senior footy action.
Stakes will be higher when they meet on day one of the finals series, but Storm and the Bulldogs have plenty to play for in Saturday’s match at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane.
Stung by a 58-point loss and season-low of 22 points at Golden Square in the ninth round, Strathfieldsaye will aim to square the ledger.
Both teams are in winning form.
The Darryl Wilson and Shannon Geary-coached Storm is eyeing a fourth victory in a row.
Since a round 13 loss to Eaglehawk at home the Christian Carter-coached Golden Square has won its past four matches.
Storm and the Bulldogs have plenty of midfield and onball depth, and powerful forward lines.
Key targets in Strathfieldsaye’s attack are Lachlan Sharp and James Schischka, while Baxter Slater and Riley Wilson often swoop on the loose ball.
They will be up against a Bulldogs defence led by Jon Coe, Will Lee, Liam Barrett and Liam Duguid.
Storm is bolstered by the return of Caleb Ernst in the ruck to take on the in-form Matt Compston.
On-ballers Jake Moorhead, Callum McCarty and Lachlan Gill have been in great form all season and take on Ryan Hartley, Jack Geary and Ricky Monti.
A Storm defence that includes Jack Neylon, Ben Lester, Harry Conway and Lachlan Ratcliffe faces a big test against Joel Brett, Jayden Burke, Braydon Vaz and Jarrod Fitzpatrick.
It’s always a hard-fought contest between Gisborne and Eaglehawk.
The Rob Waters-coached Gisborne will be ready for the battle on home turf at Gardiner Reserve.
The Bulldogs regain gun onballer Brad Bernacki on the eve of finals.
An attack that includes the marking power of Pat McKenna and Josh Kemp, and creativity of Ethan Foreman and Matt Merrett will test the Hawks’ defence.
Key players for the Bulldogs include Ben Eales in the ruck, Jack Reaper and Jaidyn Owen in defence, Seb Bell-Bartels, Scott Walsh and Sam Graham.
The Travis Matheson-coached Eaglehawk will rely a lot on its work at stoppages to cause an upset.
Billy Evans, Joel Mullen and Noah Wheeler have been in great form for the Two Blues all season.
Main targets in attack are Sean Williams, Darcy Richards, Cam McGlashan and Liam Marciano.
Hawks’ captain Shaun Knott faces another big task in defence, along with Fraser Verhey and Brady Rowles.
South Bendigo will mark its final ‘home’ game at Queen Elizabeth Oval when it takes on Kangaroo Flat.
The Bloods will be based at Harry Trott Oval in Kennington from next season.
It’s also James Flaherty’s final game as senior coach at Kangaroo Flat.
Fourth on the ladder, South Bendigo will be aiming to build momentum going into a likely elimination final against Sandhurst.
When the Bloods and Roos met in round nine at Dower Park it was the red and white who scored six goals in the last to complete a 46-point victory.
Key players for South Bendigo include Brock Harvey and Kaiden Antonowicz in attack, coach Nathan Horbury, captain Zac Hare and Andrew van Heumen in defence, and on-ballers Liam Byrne and Michael Herlihy.
For Kangaroo Flat, Lachy Wilson has made the most of opportunities to kick 32 goals and he will be a threat to the Bloods.
The Roos will be determined to end the season with a strong performance and will look to captain and ruckman Nic Lang, Liam and Mitch Collins, Ryan O’Keefe, Ethan Roberts and Mitch Rovers to lead the way.
Sandhurst grabbed fifth place after last Saturday’s win on the QEO against Kyneton and only has to win at Castlemaine’s Camp Reserve to be assured of another finals berth.
Cobi Maxted kicked six goals in Sandhurst’s win against the Tigers and could dominate this contest, too.
A Magpies’ defence that includes Liam Wilkinson, Riley Pedretti, Jackson Hood and John Watson will be up against the in-form Maxted as well as Connor Sexton, Lachlan Zimmer, Blair Holmes and the skilful Jasper Stewart.
The Don Moran-coached Castlemaine will look to limit the Dragons’ dominance at stoppages.
Sam Nettleton faces a huge task for the Magpies in the ruck against the powerful Hamish Hosking.
At ground level the Magpies will look to Will Moran, Declan Slingo and Tom Cain to swoop on the loose ball and deny the likes of James and Lee Coghlan, and Brodie Montague a possession.
Kyneton is back at Tigerland in Kyneton Showgrounds to play Maryborough.
The Paul Chapman-coached Tigers start the round in seventh place, equal on 36 points with Sandhurst, but more than 13 per cent behind.
Kyneton will be determined to mark its 10th win of the season as the Rick Andrews-coached Magpies eye a monumental upset and their first win of the ’22 campaign.
The Tigers will be without brilliant forward Rhys Magin.
Stars for the Tigers include Harrison Huntley, Angus Nolte, Cameron Manuel, Hamish Yunghanns and Louis Thompson.
It’s been a tough run for the Magpies, but the ability of on-ballers Aidan Hare and Liam Latch to keep winning contests is a feature of Maryborough’s play.
The Pies will again look to Kya Lanfranchi, Dylan Harberger and Jake Postle in defence, captain Coby Perry, ruckman Ty Stewart and Jayden Hooper to lead the way.
Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:
Gisborne 262 per cent, 60 points; Strathfieldsaye 198, 56; Golden Square 246, 52; South Bendigo 104, 40; Sandhurst 129, 36; Eaglehawk 117, 36; Kyneton 116, 36; Kangaroo Flat 48, 16; Castlemaine 32, 8; Maryborough 25, 0.
Leaders in the goalkicking race for the Ron Best Medal:
89 Joel Brett, GS.
66 Rhys Magin, Kyn.
59 Pat McKenna, Gis.
52 Lachlan Sharp, S’saye.
51 Brock Harvey, SB.
50 Jayden Burke, GS; Cobi Maxted, Sh.
42 James Schischka, S’saye.
37 Cameron Manuel, Kyn.
36 Kaiden Antonowicz, SB.
32 Lachy Wilson, KF.
31 Josh Kemp, Gis.
29 Matt Merrett, Gis.; Braydon Vaz, GS.
27 Darcy Richards, Eh; Joel Wharton, Sh.
24 Liam Marciano, Eh.
22 Michael Herlihy, SB; Harry Thomas, Gis.
21 Matt Panuccio, Gis.; Matt Thornton, Sh.
20 Chris Freeman, Mb; Sean Williams, Eh; Lachlan Zimmer, Sh.
Written by Nathan Dole.