BFNL Round 6 Week 1 Football Preview


High stakes as Hawks face Gisborne in Borough

STAKES are high as Eaglehawk tackles Gisborne in Saturday’s start to the split sixth round of senior footy in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL season.

The Hawks and Gisborne clash at Eaglehawk’s Canterbury Park from 2.20pm.

Both teams are locked on three-one records.

The Rob Waters-coached Gisborne holds third place from the Two Blues.

Since a round three loss at Strathfieldaye the Travis Matheson-coached Eaglehawk has bounced back to beat Castlemaine and Kangaroo Flat.

Beaten by Sandhurst in its first game of the season at Queen Elizabeth Oval, Gisborne has dominated hit-outs with Maryborough, South Bendigo and Golden Square.

Among the many key match-ups in Saturday’s clash at Canterbury Park will be in the ruck where Hawks’ gun recruit Brayden Frost will put the heat on Bulldogs’ star Braidon Blake.

At the centre ball-ups the Hawks have Billy Evans, Ben Thompson and Joel Mullen to take on Jackson Cardillo, Flynn Lakey and Brad Bernacki.

Major factor in the Borough’s chances will be defensive efforts.

A Hawks’ defence that includes Oscar Madden, Charlie Langford, Clayton Holmes and Sam Thompson is up against Pat McKenna, Harry Luxmoore, Zac Denahy and Jack Scanlon.

After missing most of last season because of a broken ankle, 2022 premiership captain Pat McKenna has returned in great form.

A tally of 22 goals has McKenna in second place in the race for the Ron Best Medal awarded to the leading goalkicker.

Key targets in the Hawks forward line are Darcy Richards, Bailey Ilsley and Jonty Neaves.

Gisborne will be without gun defender and captain Jack Reaper because of concussion protocols.

The Bulldogs’ back six includes Jarrad Lynch, Jake Normington and Jed Denahy.

Strathfieldsaye is on home turf at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane to take on Kangaroo Flat.

In his first year as Storm’s senior coach, Luke Freeman is up against his former club.

The unbeaten Strathfieldsaye will start favourite.

Best in Storm’s win at Castlemaine’s Camp Reserve included Ethan Featherby, Matt Harvey, Darcy Mulquiny and Riley Wilson.

A key target in attack, James Schischka kicked four goals as Malik Gordon and Riley Wilson added two.

Players to watch for Storm include Lachlan Ratcliffe at centre half-back, Daniel Clohesy in the centre, Lachlan Gill on a wing, and Abe Sheahan near goal.

Young ruckman Declan Lowther will mark his senior debut with Strathfieldsaye.

After consecutive wins against Maryborough and South Bendigo, Kangaroo Flat was outplayed the past two games by Golden Square and Eaglehawk.

Big test for the Michael Ellings-coached Roos in matching Storm’s run across all quarters.

The play of Kyle Symons, Luke Ellings, Josh Leersen, Ethan Roberts and Corey Ash will be important in keeping the heat on their opponents.

Other key players for the Roos include ruckman Toby Roberts, rover Ben Savy, Justin Bateson and Lachlan Dalziel.

After a hat-trick of defeats, South Bendigo will aim to regain confidence in its clash with Maryborough at Kennington’s Harry Trott Oval.

The Bloods and Magpies have both been hard hit by injuries.

A South Bendigo line-up that includes Brock Harvey, Brody Haddow, Zac Hare, Anthony Zimmerman  and Andrew van Heumen should be too strong in this match.

Bloods’ co-coaches Steven Stroobants and Isaiah Miller play important roles in attack and defence respectively.

Plenty to like about the skill of youngsters Zavier Holmes and Zaydyn Lockwood.

It’s been a tough run for Maryborough coaches Coby Perry and Matt Johnston and all players representing the club and city.

The Magpies will look to Fraser Russell, Kaian Constable, Aidan Medlyn, Kya Lanfranchi and Josh Britten to show the way in winning or halving as many contests as possible.

Castlemaine has the bye.

Round six will be completed on May 25 when Golden Square and Sandhurst play for the Ron Best Memorial Shield at Fur Life Oval in Golden Square’s Wade Street.

Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:

Sandhurst 529 per cent, 16 points; Strathfieldsaye 139, 16; Gisborne 331, 12; Eaglehawk 145, 12; Golden Square 98, 8; Kangaroo Flat 65, 8; Castlemaine 87, 4; South Bendigo 54, 4; Maryborough 19, 0.

Leaders in the goalkicking race for the Ron Best Medal:

26 Fergus Greene, Sandhurst.

22 Pat McKenna, Gisborne.

21 Brock Harvey, South Bendigo.

18 Michael Hartley, Castlemaine.

17 Lachlan Wright, Sandhurst.

16 Harry Luxmoore, Gisborne.

12 James Schischka, Strathfieldsaye.

11 Noah Walsh, Sandhurst.

10 Jonty Neaves, Eaglehawk.

9 Justin Bateson, Kangaroo Flat.

9 Jayden Burke, Golden Square.

9 Bailey Henderson, Castlemaine.

9 Darcy Richards, Eaglehawk.

9 Jack Stewart, Golden Square.

9 Lachlan Tardrew, Sandhurst.

8 Brad Bernacki, Gisborne.

8 Cobi Maxted, Sandhurst.

8 Steven Stroobants, South Bendigo.

8 Joel Wharton, Sandhurst.

8 Harry Whitty, Kangaroo Flat.

7 Zac Denahy, Gisborne.

7 Malik Gordon, Strathfieldsaye.

7 Fraser Russell, Maryborough.