BFNL Week 1 Football Finals Preview | Square renews rivalry with Strath as finals begin


FIERCE rivals Golden Square and Strathfieldsaye clash in Saturday’s start to the Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL senior footy finals action.

The Bulldogs and Storm meet again in a qualifying final at the iconic Queen Elizabeth Oval from 2.20pm.

This season’s meetings between the teams stand at two-nil in favour of Golden Square.

In round two, Golden Square won 101-94 on Strathfieldsaye’s turf at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane.

The Bulldogs defensive efforts held Storm to a tally of 3.14 (32) in a 78 victory for the blue and gold at Fur Life Oval in Golden Square’s Wade Street in the 11th round.

Both qualifying finalists have plenty of goalscoring power.

The Bulldogs attack is led by Joel Brett, 84 goals.

There’s strong support from the likes of Braydon Vaz, 33; Jack Stewart, 28; Ryan Hartley, 23; Hamish Morcom and Tom Toma on 21.

Storm has had co-captain Lachlan Sharp kick 93 goals to win the Ron Best Medal as the league’s leading goalkicker for a third time.

Other targets in the forward 50m arc for Storm include James Schischka, 29; Baxter Slater, 20; and Jed Brereton, 18.

On-ball and midfield duels are vital on the big ground.

Golden Square has experienced ruckman Matt Compston to team with captain Jack Geary, Ryan Hartley and Ricky Monti.

They will be up against Tim Hosking, co-captain Jake Moorhead, Callum McCarty and Lachlan Gill.

An outstanding game by Gill in the final round of the home and away series earned the Barry Plant Player of the Round award.

Gill racked up 43 disposals, 8 marks, 10 clearances, and 190 ranking points in Storm’s victory at Kyneton.

With so much firepower there will be plenty of pressure on the defences of both teams.

The back six for Golden Square includes Harrison Burke, Jon Coe, Jack Hickman and Jake Thrum.

Storm’s defence is led by Lachlan Ratcliffe, Luke Webb, Mitch Hallinan and Ben Lester.

Winner of the qualifying final meets Sandhurst in the second semi on September 9.

On Sunday it’s Eaglehawk against South Bendigo in the seniors elimination final from 2.20pm.

The Travis Matheson-coached Hawks mark a return to finals action.

A year ago, South Bendigo beat Sandhurst in the elimination final.

The Nathan Horbury-coached Bloods team has changed a lot, but there’s still many who were part of that triumph.

In this season’s meetings Eaglehawk has beaten the Bloods both times.

They met in round one where the Hawks claimed a 58-48 victory at the Bloods’ new home of Harry Trott Oval in Kennington’s Neale Street.

In the 10th round the Hawks dominated in a 103-47 result on their turf at Canterbury Park.

A huge test for Eaglehawk’s defence on Sunday will be restricting the impact of Bloods’ forwards Brock Harvey, Steven Stroobants and Will Keck.

The talented trio racked up goal tallies of 65, 55 and 39 across the home and away series.

Massive challenge for Hawks’ defenders Dylan Hanley, Oscar Madden, Marcus Angove and Sam Thompson who will rely a lot on pressure up the ground.

The Borough did name versatile big man Clayton Holmes in defence.

At the other end of the ground the Hawks’ attack is led by Lewin Davis, 34 goals; Noah Wheeler, 21; and Darcy Richards, 20.

The Hawks also regain co-captain Cameron McGlashan from injury.

Key players in South Bendigo’s defence include captain Zac Hare, Braydan Torpey, Cameron Taggert and Andrew van Heumen.

A highlight of this match will be the ruck duels where Hawks have Connor Dalgleish to take on Mac Cameron.

At ground level it’s Hawks’ co-captain Billy Evans, Ben Thompson and Noah Wheeler who set up plenty of attacks.

The Bloods will look to Brody Haddow, Cooper Leon and Zac Sims to win their share of contests at centre ball-ups and stoppages.

In the reserves competition, Golden Square takes on Sandhurst in Saturday’s qualifying final from 12.15pm.

This season’s meetings stand at one-all.

Sandhurst won the third round clash at the QEO by 16 points.

In the 12th round, Golden Square fought for a 39-33 victory at home.

The Bulldogs’ line-up includes Macey Eaton, Alex Jenkyn, Will Lee, Dale Lowry, co-captains Sheldon Burke and Dean Norris, Tanner Rayner and Shaun Young.

Sandhurst’s squad includes Harrison Monk, Brodie Montague, Will Moran, Sean O’Farrell, Xavier Walsh and Lachlan Zimmer.

The ladder-leading Eaglehawk won through to the second semi.

On Sunday it will be Strathfieldsaye against Gisborne in the Harmac Homes-backed reserves elimination final from 12.15pm.

A round one thriller between Gisborne and Strathfieldsaye at Gardiner Reserve ended in a 64-59 victory for the red, white and blue.

Next time it was Storm which took the points in a 52-30 result at Triple M Park in Strathfieldsaye’s Tannery Lane.

Storm’s line-up includes Lachlan Bonney, Ethan and Jai Featherby, Carson James, captain Wade Kinniburgh and Jordan Wilson.

Key players for Gisborne include Jarrad Lynch, Michael Steinbach, Hayden Doricic, Harry Manders, Anthony Belcher and Boyd Nalder.

Last season’s grand finalists, Gisborne and Sandhurst meet in the qualifying final of the SportsPower-sponsored under-18s competition at 10.15am on Saturday.

The Bulldogs belted the Dragons by 11 goals in the seventh round at Gisborne’s Gardiner Reserve.

In the 16th round it was the Dragons who fired up to win 69-51 on the QEO turf.

Gisborne’s team includes ruckman Lewis Gordon, captain Alex Carr,  Frankie Ellis, Jacob Grinter, Jack Clough, Jarrod Ainsworth, Lachie Bianco and Kane Minns.

The Dragons’ line-up includes Jacob Austin, Thaine Bake, Louis Banfield, Henry Edwards, Logan Kilcullen, Daniel Noden and Wil Pinniger.

Maryborough and Strathfieldsaye will fight to stay in the premiership race when they contest the elimination final from 10.15am on Sunday.

In round nine, Maryborugh won 96-42 at its Princes Park home.

Storm won 60-50 at Triple M Park in the 17th round.

A  Magpies’ team captain by Aidan Medlyn includes Taj Bond, Kaian Constable, Liam Freeman, Jake Gavriliadis, Damon Nitschke and Diesel Palmer.

Ruckman Tate Lowther, captain Evan Cole, Daan Lodewijks, Jesse Gill, Declan Lowther, Lincoln McKern and Siologa Siu are among the key players in Storm’s line-up.