BY NATHAN DOLE
A CLASH between top teams Sandhurst and Golden Square highlights this Saturday’s round 12 action in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL senior footy season.
It’s second against first on Golden Square’s turf at Fur Life Oval in Wade Street from 2.20pm.
The Christian Carter-coached Bulldogs are on a seven-game winning streak, but are up against an opponent which has a record of 10 wins, one draw, no defeats.
When these clubs met in round three it was Sandhurst which retained the Ron Best Memorial Shield in a 94-59 victory.
Golden Square marked arguably its best match of the season in last Saturday’s clash with Strathfieldsaye.
The Bulldogs won by 13 goals as Liam Barrett, ruckman Matt Compston, and defender Harry Burke starred on home turf.
First goal of Saturday’s contest by Golden Square’s gun forward Joel Brett will be his 50th of the season.
A formidable Bulldogs’ attack includes Jayden Burke, Hamish Morcom and Bradyon Vaz.
They will be up against Darcy Mills, Bryce Curnow, Lachie Hood and Liam Ireland.
On-ball duels will be crucial to the result.
The Dogs have Thomas Toma, Ricky Monti, Ryan Hartley and Jack Geary opposed to James Coghlan, Nick Stagg, Lee Coghlan and Noah Walsh.
The Sandhurst squad jointly coached by Ash Connick, non-playing, and Bryce Curnow, playing, includes VFL-listed players Sam Conforti and Lachlan Tardrew on the bench.
Golden Square’s defence led by Jon Coe, Zack Shelton and Jack Hickman is up against Matt Thornton, Lachlan Wright and Cobi Maxted.
Another big match will be at Eaglehawk’s Canterbury Park where the Two Blues take on Gisborne.
It was a 49-point win for Eaglehawk at Gisborne’s Gardiner Reserve in round three.
The Travis Matheson-coached Eaglehawk has won its past two matches and will be fighting to hold a top-three berth.
Among the many key match-ups will be on-ball where Hawks’ ruckman Connor Dalgleish takes on the athletic Braidon Blake.
Noah Wheeler and Billy Evans have been winning plenty of the footy for the Hawks, but face a huge test against Brad Bernacki and Flynn Lakey.
Key players for the Borough include Kallen Geary at half-back, Joel Mullen on a wing, Dillon Williams, Cam McGlashan and Darcy Richards in attack.
In last week’s play, Seb Bell-Bartels racked up 32 disposals, 10 marks, six clearances and 11 tackles in Gisborne’s big win against Castlemaine to earn the Barry Plant Player of the Week award.
Bell-Bartels was named in the centre for Saturday’s clash.
Other key players for the Brad Fox-coached Gisborne include captain Jack Reaper in attack or defence, Matt Merrett on a wing or at half-forward, Jed and Zac Denahy, Jake Normington and Liam Spear.
Kyneton tackles South Bendigo at Kyneton Showgrounds.
It’s a must-win match for the sixth-placed Tigers who start the day two wins adrift of the fifth-placed Strathfieldsaye.
Inaccuracy was costly for Kyneton in a 46-point loss to South Bendigo in round three.
The play of the classy Cameron Camuel, key defender Harrison Huntley, Thomas Quinn in attack, ruckman Jye Chambers and ruck-rover Hamish Yunghanns will have a major bearing on the chances of the Paul Chapman-coached Tigers.
Kyneton named Ben Cameron in the centre to take on the in-form Brody Haddow.
Major challenge for the Tigers will be in defence against the pacy and skilful Brock Harvey, Will Keck and Steven Stroobants.
The Nathan Horbury-coached Bloods also have Mac Cameron in the ruck, Braydan Torpey and Isaiah Miller attacking off half-back, and Sam Langley and Tait Poyser at half-forward.
It will be a fourth victory for Kangaroo Flat or a first for Maryborough when they meet on the Roos’ ground at Dower Park.
Previous meeting at Princes Park ended in a 17-point win for the Roos.
It’s a second match in charge for Jeremy Hayes as Roos’ coach.
Kangaroo Flat welcomes back on-baller/mid Mitch Trewhella for this match.
Other key players for the Roos include Liam Collins in the centre, Ryan O’Keefe, Jordan and Zac Rouse, Ethan Roberts, Nic Keogh and Harry Whitty.
Maryborough coach Coby Perry was named on a wing where he will link up with Joel Swatton, up against one of his former clubs, and Luke Bucknall.
The Magpies will also look to Kya Lanfranchi, Jake Postle and Tom Harrison to defend well, Ty Stewart, Jacob Lohmann to compete strongly at centre ball-ups and stoppages.
Other key players for Maryborough are Darcy Bond, Chris Freeman and Matt Johnston.
Strathfieldsaye Storm will be keen to hit back from a disappointing hit-out at Golden Square when it takes on Castlemaine at Triple M Park in Strathfieldsaye’s Tannery Lane.
The Darryl Wilson-coached squad to represent Strathfieldsaye includes captain Lachlan Sharp, Shannon Geary, Daniel Clohesy, Callum McCarty, Luke Webb and James Schishcka.
Been a tough season for the young Castlemaine line-up which has put some fine quarters together, but conceded many goals in others.
The Magpies’ squad bound for Strathfieldsaye includes talented key forward Bailey Henderson.
Castlemaine will also look to Liam Wilkinson, John Watson, Matt Filo, Brad Keogh and Callum McConachy to win contests and use the ball well.
Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:
Sandhurst 243 per cent, 42 points; Golden Square 233, 36; Eaglehawk 219, 30; South Bendigo 140, 28; Strathfieldsaye 136, 28; Kyneton 83, 20; Gisborne 122, 16; Kangaroo Flat 56, 12; Castlemaine 40, 8; Maryborough 17, 0.
Leaders in the goalkicking race for the Ron Best Medal:
49 Joel Brett, Golden Square.
44 Lachlan Sharp, Strathfieldsaye.
34 Brock Harvey, South Bendigo.
32 Steven Stroobants, South Bendigo.
30 Lachlan Wright, Sandhurst.
28 William Keck, South Bendigo.
25 Cameron Manuel, Kyneton.
20 James Schischka, Strathfieldsaye.
20 Matt Thornton, Sandhurst.
20 Braydon Vaz, Golden Square.
19 Lewin Davis, Eaglehawk.
17 Andy Collins, Sandhurst.
17 Ryan Hartley, Golden Square.
16 Darcy Richards, Eaglehawk.
16 Harry Whitty, Kangaroo Flat.
15 Cam McGlashan, Eaglehawk.
15 Thomas Quinn, Kyneton.
15 Nick Stagg, Sandhurst.
14 Callum McCarty, Strathfieldsaye.
14 Hamish Morcom, Golden Square.
13 Dylan Hird, Eaglehawk.
13 Liam Marciano, Eaglehawk.
13 Noah Wheeler, Eaglehawk.