BFNL Round 6 Football Preview | Fight to be “top dog” rolls on at Golden Square


IT WILL be Golden Square or Gisborne which carries “top dog” tag after Saturday’s showdown in round six of the Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL’s senior footy action.

After a general bye, the league’s two breed of Bulldogs take to Fur Life Oval in Golden Square’s Wade Street at 2.20pm.

There’s plenty at stake for both clubs.

Victory for Golden Square, third on a 3-2 record would ensure it stays in the top three.

Gisborne is fifth on a 2-3 tally and in danger of dropping from the five should Strathfieldsaye beat South Bendigo.

The Christian Carter-coached Golden Square has plenty of run through midfield and attacking options.

Those traits were on show in the 239-point win at Maryborough in round five.

On that day key forward Braydon Vaz took 22 marks and racked up 36 disposals and eight goals to earn the Barry Plant Player of the Round award.

Playing at centre half-forward, Vaz is a crucial cog in a Golden Square attack that includes Ron Best medallist Joel Brett.

After playing in defence the past two games the strong-marking Jayden Burke was named at full-forward.

A major strength for Square is midfield and on-ball through the likes of captain Jack Geary, Ryan Hartley, Tom Toma, Ricky Monti and ruckman Matt Compston.

The defence led by Jon Coe, Zack Shelton and Liam Duguid will play crucial roles.

Gisborne’s attack is led by premiership-winning captain Pat McKenna and includes the skilful Matt Merrett and the powerfully-built Zac Denahy.

Ruckman Braidon Blake and rover Flynn Lakey have been outstanding for the Brad Fox-coached Gisborne all season.

The play of captain Jack Reaper at full-back, Luke Ellings and Seb Bell-Bartels in midfield, Sam Graham and Liam Spear will go a long way toward Gisborne marking an important victory.

Another big match will be at Kennington’s Harry Trott Oval where South Bendigo takes on Strathfieldsaye.

Both are on the rebound from defeat.

The Nathan Horbury-coached Bloods have a 3-2 record which includes a one-point win at Golden Square in the fifth round.

Defeats for South Bendigo have been to the ladder-leading Eaglehawk and Sandhurst.

A Bloods’ attack led by Steven Stroobants, Brock Harvey and Will Keck will trouble Storm because of their quick leads and work at ground level.

Mac Cameron is in the ruck for South Bendigo and provided many opportunities for on-ballers Cooper Leon, Brody Haddow and coach Nathan Horbury.

In defence it will be Isaiah Miller, Braydan Torpey and captain Zac Hare who provide plenty of rebound.

Illness and injury have tested Strathfieldsaye’s depth all season.

The Darryl Wilson-coached Storm does regain captain Lachlan Sharp, a multiple premiership winner, Michelsen medallist and dual Ron Best medallist in attack.

Strathfieldsaye’s attack that has the marking power of James Schischka and Jed Brereton, and Baxter Slater and Shannon Geary roving will test the Bloods.

Other key players for Storm include ruck-rover and Michelsen medallist Jake Moorhead, Callum McCarty, Tim Hosking, Mitch Hallinan and Lachlan Gill.

The eyes of the Kyneton Tigers are on a third consecutive victory when they are at home to play Castlemaine.

A 75-73 win at Gisborne has injected a lot of positivity at Tigerland.

Key players in the winning run by the yellow and black include Cameron Manuel, Thomas Quinn, Harrison Huntley, Ethan Foreman and Jake Summers.

The Tigers also have captain James Orr, Jordan and Lucas Iudica and Hamish Yunghanns capable of winning many contests.

Castlemaine played well against Kangaroo Flat in round five, but the Magpies could not sustain the defensive intensity in the second half.

The Brendan Shepherd-coached Magpies will look to Matt Filo, Callum McConachy, Liam Wilkinson, Brodie and Jackson Byrne, and Brad Keogh to put the Tigers under pressure.

Kangaroo Flat is back on its ground at Dower Park to take on the ladder-leading Eaglehawk.

Accuracy played a key role in Kangaroo Flat’s win at Castlemaine’s Camp Reserve.

The Roos scored 9.1 in the first half on their way to an eight-goal victory.

Pressure on Flat’s forwards will be much higher this round.

The Nathan Johns-coached Roos have worked hard for a win-loss tally of 2-3.

Highs for the Roos include the play of Jordan and Zac Rouse, Ryan O’Keefe, Mitch Trewhella, and co-captains Mitch Collins and Ethan Roberts.

Gach Chuol was named in the ruck to take on Connor Dalgleish.

It will take a determined effort by all 22 in the Roos’ line-up to take this contest right up to the Two Blues.

The defensive play of the Travis Matheson-coached Hawks was outstanding as they held Strathfieldsaye to just two goals in round five.

A talented line-up from the Borough includes Billy Evans, Cameron McGlashan, Clayton Holmes, Liam Marciano and Joel Mullen.

The Geary brothers, Kallen and Shannon were not named.

Sandhurst is back at Queen Elizabeth Oval to take on Maryborough.

Dragons’ co-coaches Ash Connick and Bryce Curnow will want to see the team bring the same intensity to the contest as it has in recent weeks against Golden Square and South Bendigo.

Ruckman Hamish Hosking has starred in all of the Dragons’ wins.

A talented crop of youngsters that includes Noah Walsh, Cooper Smith and Lachie Hood has impressed in Sandhurst’s streak.

The Dragons also have Curnow, Lee Coghlan and Andy Collins back in action.

It’s been a tough start to Coby Perry’s coaching stint with Maryborough.

The Magpies were up against a Golden Square team determined to make a statement last round.

A Maryborough defence that includes Kya Lanfranchi, Jake Postle, Josh Britten and Jack Shay is likely to be in for another busy day.

The Magpies’ back six will rely greatly on the pressure and workrate of the on-ballers and midfielders to not allow the Dragons an easy run to the forward 50m arc.

It’s an incredibly young Maryborough team which relies a lot on Matt Johnston, Chris Freeman and Joel Swatton and the experience they provide.

Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:

Eaglehawk 369 per cent, 20 points; Sandhurst 178, 20; Golden Square 190, 12; South Bendigo 112, 12; Gisborne 119, 8; Strathfieldsaye 98, 8; Kyneton 95, 8; Kangaroo Flat 85, 8; Castlemaine 32, 4; Maryborough 19, 0.

Leaders in the goalkicking race for the Ron Best Medal:

21 Joel Brett, Golden Square.

14 Will Keck, South Bendigo.

13 Braydon Vaz, Golden Square.

13 Lachlan Wright, Sandhurst.

12 James Schischka, Strathfieldsaye.

12 Lachlan Sharp, Strathfieldsaye.

12 Steven Stroobants, South Bendigo.

11 Thomas Quinn, Kyneton.

10 Lewin Davis, Eaglehawk.

10 Ryan Hartley, Golden Square.

10 Cameron Manuel, Kyneton.

10 Cam McGlashan, Eaglehawk.

9 Brock Harvey, South Bendigo.

9 Liam Marciano, Eaglehawk.

9 Darcy Richards, Eaglehawk.

9 Matt Thornton, Sandhurst.

8 Kallen Geary, Eaglehawk.