BFNL Round 18 Football Review | Dragons send Hawks tumbling to eliminator


A NINE-GOAL victory by Sandhurst in Saturday’s 18th round in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL senior footy season has put Eaglehawk into an elimination final.

Stakes were high as the Dragons and Hawks clashed at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

A win would ensure Sandhurst would retain top spot and a rest for next weekend’s start to the finals series.

Dragons’ gun forward Matt ‘Bear’ Thornton also joined the exclusive “250 Game” club.

The Hawks were fighting to hold third place and the double chance in the finals action.

In a brilliant opening half, Sandhurst scored 8.4 and played brilliant defence to limit the Borough to a tally of 1.5.

Defences controlled a lot of the third quarter as Sandhurst added 2.3 to a point.

The Travis Matheson-coached Eaglehawk fought on to win the final term, 20-19, but it was Sandhurst which marked a 13.8 (86) to 4.8 (32) victory.

The Dragons’ attack was led by Cobi Maxted, three; Sam Conforti, Jake McLean and Matt Wilkinson, two.

Thornton kicked a goal in his milestone match.

Best for a Dragons team jointly coached by Ash Connick and Bryce Curnow were Sam Conforti, Hamish Hosking, Zach Pallpratt, James Coghlan, Bryce Curnow and Isaac Ruff.

Eaglehawk’s best were Ben Thompson, Dillon Williams, Joel Mullen, Dylan Hanley, Sam Thompson and Charlie Langford.

Strathfieldsaye jumped to the third rung and a qualifying final berth after a seven-goal win at Kyneton.

Storm surged to a 45-14 lead at quarter-time of what may be Kyneton’s final game in the Bendigo FNL.

The Tigers are seeking a clearance to the Riddell competition.

On Saturday the Darren Chambers-coached Kyneton put in a great effort to score 10.10 (70), but a Storm attack led by Lachlan Sharp, six goals; and Caleb Ernst, four, was too strong.

Leading goalkickers for Kyneton were Steven Georgiou, three, and Cameron Manuel, two.

The Darryl Wilson-coached Strathfieldsaye warmed up for another finals campaign by scoring a 16.16 (112) to 10.10 (70) victory.

A multiple premiership winner and co-coach in ’22, Shannon Geary played his 200th senior game for Strathfieldsaye.

Storm’s best were Callum McCarty, Tim Hosking, Daniel Clohesy, Lachlan Gill, Luke Webb and Mitch Hallinan.

Ben Cameron, Ethan Foreman, Thomas Quinn, Jake Summers, Steven Georgiou and Cameron Manuel were best for the yellow and black.

South Bendigo regained confidence and form ahead of an elimination final as it took on Castlemaine at Harry Trott Oval in Kennington.

The Nathan Horbury-coached Bloods led 28-21 at quarter-time and then scored 5.5 to 2.1 in the second.

A hard-fought third quarter was won by the Brendan Shepherd-coached Magpies, 19-11.

Led by Braydan Torpey, Sam Langley and captain Zac Hare, South Bendigo steadied to run away with the game by scoring 4.3 to a goal in the last.

At the final siren the Bloods led 95-59.

The classy Brock Harvey kicked five goals as Steven Stroobants added three.

Castlemaine’s attack was led by Jackson Hood and John Watson with two each.

Best for South Bendigo included Brody Haddow, Alex Smith and Sam Griffiths.

Callum McConachy, Riley Pedretti, Daniel Lawson, Matt Filo, Nicholas Woodman and Sam Nettleton were Castlemaine’s best.

Gisborne marked its final hit-out of the season with a 40-goal win at Maryborough’s Princes Park.

The Rob Waters-coached Bulldogs led 65-9 at quarter-time and did not let up the intensity.

Gisborne scored 10 goals in the second, seven in the third and 11 in the last.

At the final siren the Bulldogs led 38.27 (255) to 2.3 (15).

Sam Graham kicked a team-high seven goals as Harry Luxmoore added six and Brad Bernacki chipped in with four.

Other multiple goalkickers were Adam Brancatisano, Matthew Cassidy, three; Braidon Blake, Ben Eales, Luke Ellings, Flynn Lakey and Jarrad Lynch on two.

Jai Howell and Brady Neill were on target for Maryborough.

Best for Gisborne were ruckman Braidon Blake, on-ballers Brad Bernacki and Flynn Lakey, along with Matt Weber, Jake Postle and Nic Swan.

Kya Lanfranchi, Matt Johnston, coach Coby Perry, Brady Neill, Jake Postle and Nic Swan were Maryborough’s best.

Golden Square’s remarkable winning streak against Kangaroo Flat kept rolling.

The Christian Carter-coached Bulldogs won every quarter on their way to a 142-35 victory.

A highlight was the blue and gold’s third quarter in which it scored 8.5.

Joel Brett finished with eight goals to be runner-up in the race for the Ron Best Medal as the competition’s leading goalkicker.

Other multiple goalkickers for the Bulldogs were Jack Stewart, Jake Thrum and Braydon Vaz, two.

The Roos’ attack was led by Sam Barnes on two.

Jake Thrum earned best afield honours as Thomas Toma, Tom Strauch, Joel Brett, Zavier Murley and Ricky Monti won plenty of the footy in the lead-up to a qualifying final.

Best for the Jeremy Hayes-coached Kangaroo Flat were Nic Keogh, Mitch Collins, Zac Rouse, Sam Barnes, Jake Hywood and Liam Collins.

Final standings in the Bendigo FNL senior footy competition for the ’23 home and away series:

Sandhurst 230 per cent, 66 points; Golden Square 244, 64; Strathfieldsaye 159, 48; Eaglehawk 183, 46; South Bendigo 128, 40; Kyneton 81, 36; Gisborne 137, 32; Kangaroo Flat 56, 20; Castlemaine 41, 8; Maryborough 18, 0.

Finals action kicks off next Saturday at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Teams which finished the season in second and third place earnt the double chance and a place in the qualifying final.

On Saturday it will be Golden Square against Strathfieldsaye in the seniors match from 2.20pm.

Golden Square takes on Sandhurst in the reserves match at 12.15pm.

First of this year’s finals is the under-18s qualifying final between Gisborne and Sandhurst at 10.15am.

Sunday’s play is elimination finals.

Eaglehawk and South Bendigo clash in the seniors match at 2.20pm.

In the reserves it’s Strathfieldsaye against Gisborne from 12.15pm.

The under-18s match from 10.15am features Maryborough and Strathfieldsaye.

Final standings in the goalkicking race for the Ron Best Medal:

93 Lachlan Sharp, Strathfieldsaye.

84 Joel Brett, Golden Square.

65 Brock Harvey, South Bendigo.

55 Steven Stroobants, South Bendigo.

45 Lachlan Wright, Sandhurst.

39 Will Keck, South Bendigo.

36 Cameron Manuel, Kyneton.

34 Lewin Davis, Eaglehawk.

33 Braydon Vaz, Golden Square.

29 James Schischka, Strathfieldsaye.

28 Jack Stewart, Golden Square.

26 Andy Collins, Sandhurst.

26 Matt Thornton, Sandhurst.

25 Thomas Quinn, Kyneton.

24 Harry Luxmoore, Gisborne.

24 Harry Whitty, Kangaroo Flat.

23 Ryan Hartley, Golden Square.

22 Brad Bernacki, Gisborne.

22 Nick Stagg, Sandhurst.

21 Hamish Morcom, Golden Square.

21 Tom Toma, Golden Square.

21 Noah Wheeler, Eaglehawk.

20 Darcy Richards, Eaglehawk.

20 Baxter Slater, Strathfieldsaye.

19 Matt Merrett, Gisborne.

18 Jed Brereton, Strathfieldsaye.

18 Sam Conforti, Sandhurst.

18 Ethan Foreman, Kyneton.

17 Luke Ellings, Gisborne.

17 Cobi Maxted, Sandhurst.

17 Cam McGlashan, Eaglehawk.

17 Jordan Wilson, Strathfieldsaye.

16 Zac Denahy, Gisborne.

16 Billy Evans, Eaglehawk.

16 Jack O’Shannessy, Eaglehawk.

16 Jake Summers, Kyneton.

15 Liam Marciano, Eaglehawk.

15 Callum McCarty, Strathfieldsaye.

15 Matt Wilkinson, Sandhurst.

14 Sam Barnes, Kangaroo Flat.

14 Braidon Blake, Gisborne.

14 Jack Hickman, Golden Square.

14 Brad Keogh, Castlemaine.

14 Nic Keogh, Kangaroo Flat.

14 Sam Langley, South Bendigo.

14 Zavier Murley, Golden Square.

13 Adam Brancatisano, Gisborne.

13 Liam Collins, Kangaroo Flat.

13 Luke Foreman, Kangaroo Flat.

13 Sam Graham, Gisborne.

13 Dylan Hird, Eaglehawk.

13 Jack Reaper, Gisborne.

13 Tom Strauch, Golden Square.

12 Liam Barrett, Golden Square.

12 Hugh Freckleton, Golden Square.

12 Kallen Geary, Eaglehawk.

12 Bailey Henderson, Castlemaine.

12 Ben Thompson, Eaglehawk.