Dragons prepare for another battle with Bloods
ANOTHER chapter in the heated rivalry between the Sandhurst Dragons and South Bendigo Bloods will be played out in this Saturday’s 12th round of the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s senior footy action.
The QEO co-tenants clash after the general bye in a match that will have a huge bearing on their finals aspirations.
A win would put the fifth-placed South Bendigo eight points clear of the Dragons.
Lose and the Bloods spot on the fifth rung will be taken by Sandhurst.
When these teams met in round three it was South Bendigo which won a great contest befitting of Anzac Round, 94-86.
The Nathan Horbury-coached Bloods also regained the Graeme Wright Memorial Cup.
Pressure was on the Bloods in the 11th round where they scored a 97-75 win against Eaglehawk on the QEO turf.
South Bendigo’s best in win number six included Brock Harvey, Michael Herlihy, Kaiden Antonowicz, Matt Long, Isaiah Miller and captain Zac Hare.
The Bloods will also look to Daniel Nalder, Liam Byrne, Andrew van Heumen, Daniel Johnstone and Sam Langley to have a major influence on the match.
The Ash Connick-coached Dragons worked hard to hold a one-point lead at three quarter-time of their latest hit-out at Strathfieldsaye’s Triple M Park.
Sandhurst could not halt Storm’s final term surge to complete a 101-78 victory.
Best for the Dragons in the 11th round were Tanner Nally, Isaac Ruff and Lee Coghlan.
Key forward Matt Thornton kicked five goals in that match, but will not take on the Bloods as he is on an overseas holiday.
There will be greater pressure on Cobi Maxted and Joel Wharton to lead the attack.
The Dragons have the experience of Blair Holmes, Jake McLean and Brodie Montague in the clinches, and the skill of Noah Walsh, Lachlan Zimmer and Jeremy Rodi to test the Bloods.
Stung by 59-point loss at Gisborne in round 11, Kyneton is back on home turf for another big challenge against Strathfieldsaye.
The Paul Chapman-coached Tigers were 1-2 after a 46-point loss on Storm’s ground in Anzac Round, but had since gone on a 6-2 run to hold fourth place on the ladder.
Kyneton will need to sustain the pressure for longer against a Storm line-up that never stops running.
Key players for the Tigers include Frazer Driscoll and Harrison Huntley in defence; on-ballers Hamish Yunghanns and Dean Bartrop; and Guy Dickson and Rhys Magin in attack.
Kyneton will be without mid-forward Cameron Manuel as he starts a two-game suspension.
The yellow and black also has the running power of Angus Nolte, Louis Phillips and James Gaff.
Although Storm has gun forward Lachlan Sharp on the sidelines because of injury, James Schischka has stepped up to lead the attack.
Schischka kicked five goals in Strathfieldsaye’s win against Sandhurst as Lachlan Gill, Callum McCarty and Mitchell Hallinan were best.
A talented Storm line-up co-coached by Darryl Wilson and Shannon Geary includes Harry Conway, Jye Formosa, Jake Hall, Brady Hore, Jake Moorhead and Jack Neylon.
The classy Kallen Geary is on a ‘from’ interchange of five.
Eaglehawk is back at Canterbury Park to take on Kangaroo Flat.
It’s a must-win for the Travis Matheson-coached Hawks in their fight to claim fifth and a finals berth.
In Anzac Round, Eaglehawk kicked away in the last term to score a 49-point win on the Kangaroos’ ground at Dower Park.
Key players for the Hawks include Darcy Richards and Ben Thompson in attack; Kobe Lloyd and Oscar Madden in defence; midfielders Joel Mullen and Charlie Laangford, ruckman Jack Lawton, and onballer Billy Evans.
A young Kangaroo Flat line-up includes Mitch Rovers at half-forward, ruck-rover Campbell Smith, and Jack Barras.
Roos’ coach James Flaherty will look to ruckman/forward Nick Lang, Lachy Wilson, Max Johnson and Ryan O’Keefe to compete well in the air.
Maryborough takes on Golden Square at Princes Park.
The Rick Andrews-coached Magpies will be desperate to avoid a margin of 200-plus as it was in round three on Golden Square’s ground at Fur Life Oval.
The ability of Maryborough’s onballers and midfielders to not only the Bulldogs an easy run and passes into the forward 50m arc will be crucial.
A lapse in concentration and pressure could be costly against a powerful Golden Square attack led by Joel Brett, Jayden Burke and Braydon Vaz.
Maryborough will look to Liam Latch, Kya Lanfranchi, Jayden Hooper, Aidan Hare and Chris Freeman to win plenty of contests.
The Magpies’ best at Castlemaine included Liam Murphy, Damon Nitschke and Patrick Van der Pol.
A great sign for the Bulldogs in their win at Kangaroo Flat was the best afield performance by captain and gun onballer Jack Geary.
Others in top form for the blue and gold include Jack Hickman, Liam Duguid, Tom Strauch, Jake Thrum and Terence Reeves.
Castlemaine is on home turf at Camp Reserve against Gisborne.
The Magpies scored just two points at Gisborne in round three, but confidence is up after a 90-56 victory in the Pies’ latest clash with Maryborough.
Best for the Don Moran-coached Castlemaine in its second win of the season were Tommy Horne, Riley Pedretti and Jackson Hood.
The Magpies also named Bailey Henderson at centre half-forward.
Former captain Zac Denahy starred with six goals and will again be a key target against the Bulldogs.
Others to watch for the ‘Maine include Brodie Byrne, Will and Ben Moran, Declan and Dakota Slingo.
A major challenge for the Magpies will be at centre ball-ups and stoppages.
Gisborne has Ben Eales capable of winning many hit-outs to the likes of Flynn Lakey, Sam Graham, Seb Bell-Bartels, Macklan Lord and Nic Doolan.
Josh Kemp kicked six goals for the Rob Waters-coached Bulldogs in the win against Kyneton but is not in this week.
The Gisborne attack includes Matt Merrett, Ethan Minns, Matt Panuccio, and Daniel Davie returns from injury in a forward pocket.
Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:
Gisborne 241 per cent, 40 points; Strathfieldsaye 181, 36; Golden Square 251, 32; Kyneton 122, 28; South Bendigo 93, 24; Sandhurst 128, 20; Eaglehawk 105, 20; Kangaroo Flat 52, 12; Castlemaine 37, 8; Maryborough 29, 0.
Leaders in the Ron Best Medal goalkicking race:
53 Joel Brett, GS.
46 Rhys Magin, Kyn.
35 Jayden Burke, GS.
33 Pat McKenna, Gis.
30 James Schischka, S’saye.
29 Josh Kemp, Gis.
28 Brock Harvey, SB; Cobi Maxted, Sh.
24 Kaiden Antonowicz, SB; Cameron Manuel, Kyn.
23 Darcy Richards, Eh.
21 Matt Thornton, Sh; Braydon Vaz, GS; Joel Wharton, Sh; Lachy Wilson, KF.
20 Lachlan Sharp, S’saye.
18 Matt Merrett, Gis.
16 Chris Freeman, Mb.
15 Kallen Geary, S’saye; Liam Marciano, Eh; Matthew Panuccio, Gis.
Written by Nathan Dole.