BFNL Round 5 Football Preview


Red-hot Dragons tackle previous QEO co-tenant

SANDHURST takes on previous QEO co-tenant, South Bendigo in this Saturday’s fifth round of senior footy action in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL season.

It’s also Community Umpiring Round in which players and fans recognise the important role all umpires play across all levels of football and netball.

The Sandhurst and South Bendigo match was originally slated as the Graeme Wright Memorial Cup, but that will now be later in the season at South Bendigo’s new home at Kennington’s Harry Trott Oval.

Massive challenge for the Steven Stroobants and Isaiah Miller-coached South Bendigo to halt Sandhurst’s run and skilful disposal to a formidable attack in this contest.

The Dragons marked a league record score of 347 points and winning margin of 333 in last Saturday’s match at Maryborough’s Princes Park.

Sandhurst captain Lachlan Tardrew is one of the favourites for the Michelsen Medal awarded to the league’s fairest and best player.

At Maryborough, Tardrew racked up possessions at will in a best afield performance.

A tally of 57 disposals and 283 points was the highest ranking since Premier Data started doing stats for the league.

The Dragons have Connor Sexton in the ruck, James Coghlan and Noah Walsh as on-ballers, and Tardrew in the centre.

South Bendigo will need Alex Smith, Brody Haddow, Zac Sims and Anthony Zimmerman to limit the number of disposals their opponents win, but also rack up disposals.

The work of the Bloods’ on-ball and midfield group is crucial in supporting a defence led by Andrwe van Heumen, Zac Hare, Tait Poyser and Isaiah Miller.

Sandhurst co-coaches Ash Connick, non-playing, and Bryce Curnow, playing, would be rapt with the connection and workrate of forwards Fergus Green, Lachlan Wright, Nick Stagg and Joel Wharton.

At the other end of the field, Brock Harvey has kicked 20 goals and leads the race for the Ron Best Medal.

Premiers of the previous two seasons, Gisborne and Golden Square clash at Gisborne’s Gardiner Reserve.

Both teams have changed markedly, especially Golden Square, since they raised the Bendigo Advertiser premiership cup.

The Rob Waters-coached Gisborne is in great form.

Gisborne captain Jack Reaper was rewarded for his outstanding play and consistency by being named captain of the Bendigo FNL team to play the Victorian Amateur Football Association in July.

A Gisborne attack led by Pat McKenna, Harry Luxmoore and Zac Denahy has capitalised on the dominance of ruckman Braidon Blake and on-ballers Flynn Lakey and Jackson Cardillo in recent weeks.

Among the many key match-ups will be in the centre where Gisborne star Brad Bernacki takes on the in-form Jordan Rosengren.

The return of Ricky Monti is a massive plus for the Brad Eaton-coached Golden Square.

Whether he is playing on-ball or in attack, Monti is one of the league’s best.

Golden Square will need big games from the likes of captain Jayden Burke, Jon Coe, Kai Daniels, Zack Shelton and Tom Strauch.

After a disappointing result at Golden Square last round, Kangaroo Flat will aim to rebound on its turf at Dower Park against Eaglehawk.

The Roos teamed brilliantly on their turf just two weeks ago to beat South Bendigo.

Kangaroos’ coach Michael Ellings will be keen to see the team play with the dare and defensive intensity it brought against the Bloods.

Key players for the Roos include Jack Lefroy, ruckman Toby Roberts, Justin Bateson against his former club, Luke Ellings on a wing, Kyle Symons, Josh Leersen and Daniel Stagg.

Crucial roles to be played by Campbell Smith against Hawks’ captain Billy Evans, and Lachlan Dalziel in the centre against Joel Mullen.

The Roos will be without Harry Whitty after he accepted a two-match ban for rough conduct against Golden Square.

Goalscoring power of Eaglehawk may be difficult for the Roos to match.

The Hawks’ forward line includes Jonty Neaves, Darcy Richards, Bailey Ilsley and Mitchell Ronchieri.

Hawks’ coach Travis Matheson has ruckman Brayden Frost in hot form, the running power and versatility of Kallen Geary,  Marcus Angove and Ben Thompson.

Castlemaine is back on home turf at Camp Reserve to take on Strathfieldsaye.

The Michael Hartley-coached Castlemaine will be desperate to show it can be a challenger for the top five.

Huge test for the Magpies against an unbeaten Strathfieldsaye team refreshed by the bye.

Castlemaine has the marking power of Hartley, Bailey Henderson and Zach Greeves in attack.

Huge roles to be played through midfield and on-ball by the likes of Zavier Murley, Declan Slingo, Jack Chester, Kalan Huntly and Will Moran.

It’s another important milestone for Strathfieldsaye star Shannon Geary.

A three-time premiership captain of Storm, Geary will mark his 250th Bendigo FNL match and 206th with Storm.

Geary’s senior footy journey began at Eaglehawk and involved stints at Sandhurst and Kangaroo Flat, and at VFL level with Bendigo Bombers.

An incredible run of seven grand finals with Storm includes four victories.

The popular clubman also had a stint as senior co-coach with Darryl Wilson and also coached a reserves team to premiership glory.

Although he is likely to start in defence, Geary may drift forward at one stage in a bid to his 250th senior goal.

Wearing number 65, Geary continues to play a key role for the Luke Freeman-coached Storm.

A talented Strathfieldsaye team includes Daniel Clohesy, Lachlan Ratcliffe, James Schishcka, Abe and Caleb Sheahan, Carson James and Riley Wilson.

Maryborough has the bye.

Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:

Sandhurst 522 per cent, 12 points; Strathfieldsaye 136, 12; Gisborne 392, 8; Eaglehawk 129, 8; Golden Square 116, 8; Kangaroo Flat 69, 8; Castlemaine 92, 4; South Bendigo 66, 4; Maryborough 19, 0.

Leaders in the goalkicking race for the Ron Best Medal:

20 Brock Harvey, South Bendigo.

17 Pat McKenna, Gisborne.

16 Fergus Greene, Sandhurst.

16 Michael Hartley, Castlemaine.

16 Harry Luxmoore, Gisborne.

16 Lachlan Wright, Sandhurst.

9 Bailey Henderson, Castlemaine.

9 Lachlan Tardrew, Sandhurst.

8 Justin Bateson, Kangaroo Flat.

8 Jayden Burke, Golden Square.

8 James Schischka, Strathfieldsaye.

8 Steven Stroobants, South Bendigo.

8 Noah Walsh, Sandhurst.

8 Joel Wharton, Sandhurst.

8 Harry Whitty, Kangaroo Flat.

7 Sam Graham, Gisborne.

7 Cobi Maxted, Sandhurst.

7 Fraser Russell, Maryborough.

7 Jack Stewart, Golden Square.