Big rivals clash at Gisborne, Eaglehawk

SOME of the biggest rivals in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s senior footy action clash in this Saturday’s 18th and final round of the home and away series.

It’s also Bendigo Bank Round in which AFL Central Victoria acknowledges the long-time support of the Bendigo FNL’s naming rights sponsor.

Bendigo Bank has kicked in to support the Bendigo, Heathcote District, and Loddon Valley football-netball leagues for many years.

Take your banking across to Bendigo Bank and your club will receive part of the profits directly through the AFL Central Victoria referral program.

For more details, speak to your Bendigo Bank branch.

On the football field, Gisborne takes on Sandhurst at Gardiner Reserve.

A ban on Melbourne-based players will affect some clubs more than others.

The Bulldogs and Dragons will be banking on the four premiership points a week out from the finals action.

Win and Sandhurst stays third, but a Gisborne victory could put the Bulldogs on the second rung.

Playing at Gisborne is a tough test for any team.

The Ash Connick-coached Sandhurst has not played since a six-goal loss at Golden Square on July 10.

Ins for Gisborne are Trent Crosbie, Nic Doolan, Thomas Fraser and Jack Reaper.

Matt Cassidy, Luke Ellings, Matt McDonald and Matt Merrett are out.

Sandhurst has brought in Tom Calvert, Jake McLean, James Mittell, Isaac Ruff, Alex Wharton and Jed Zimmer.

Midfield battles will play a key factor in this contest.

Gisborne has Braidon Blake up against the experienced Chris Down in the ruck contests.

The Bulldogs will look to Brad Bernacki, Scott Walsh, Flynn Lakey and Jake O’Brien to lead the way at centre ball-ups and stoppages.

Sandhurst has the experienced James and Lee Coghlan, Nick Stagg and Blair Holmes, and younger team-mates James Mittell and Lachlan Zimmer to test the Bulldogs.

A strong Gisborne attack is led by Pat McKenna, Jack Scanlon and Ethan Foreman opposed by Sean O’Farrell, Liam Ireland and Martin Leyden.

Sandhurst has the dash and skill of Noah Walsh and Lachlan Tardrew off half-back.

The Dragons have the marking strength of Matt Thornton and Oscar McKinley up forward, and skilful Mitch Rovers and Alex Wharton at ground level.

Gisborne will look to Jack Reaper, Anthony Belcher and Macklan Lord to negate the Dragons attack.

When these clubs last met on June 26, Gisborne dominated after half-time to score a 66-point victory in the round nine match at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

The Bulldogs kicked off the season with defeats at Golden Square by 12 points, and then to South Bendigo on the QEO by 25 points.

The Rob Waters-coached Gisborne then turned on-road fortunes around to win at Eaglehawk’s S & R Park by four points and then a few rounds later ended Sandhurst’s unbeaten run.

Stars for Gisborne in their latest win against the Dragons were captain Pat McKenna, six goals; key forward Jack Scanlon, three goals; Brad Bernacki, Sam Graham and Macklan Lord.

The only multiple goalkicker for Sandhurst was Matt Thornton on two.

Dragons’ ruckman Chris Down, Lachlan Ross, Liam Ireland and tough on-baller Blair Holmes were best.

Another big showdown will be at S & R Park in Eaglehawk’s Canterbury Park between the Hawks and Golden Square.

Regardless of the result, Eaglehawk will be playing finals.

Hawks’ coach Travis Matheson will be keen to see a strong showing.

In round nine, Eaglehawk led 57-49 at three quarter-time of the clash on Golden Square’s turf at Fur Life Vet Oval.

It was the Bulldogs who unleashed a powerful burst in the final term to score 8.3 to 2.3 and win 100 to 72.

Golden Square key forward Jayden Burke kicked 10 goals in last Saturday’s win against Castlemaine and will be a major threat to a Hawks defence led by Oscar Madden, Clayton Holmes, Jarrod Findlay and Sam Thompson.

Gun recruit Joel Brett booted a match-high four goals in Square’s previous win against the Two Blues.

The Bulldogs also have young stars such as Alex Jenkyn and Tom Strauch in form.

A key to Eaglehawk’s chances will be in the on-ball and midfield duels.

The Hawks need Sam Harper, Gedd and Koby Hommelhoff and Dylan Hanley to rack up possessions and apply lots of pressure to Bulldogs’ stars Jack Geary, Hamish Morcom, Matt Compston, Ryan Hartley and Terry Reeves.

Key targets in Eaglehawk’s attack are Darcy Richards, Jack Dye and Kobe Lloyd.

The Hawks have brought in Brody Brown, Sam Dean and Jarrod Findlay to replace Justin Bateson, Brodie Filo and Riley McIvor.

Castlemaine takes on Kangaroo Flat in the Magpies’ nest at Camp Reserve.

Both teams will be keen to end the season on a high, especially the winless Castlemaine.

The Don Moran-coached Magpies have brought in Sam Banko, Kyle Gellatly, Brad Keogh, Will Moran and Dakota Slingo for Caleb Kuhle, Ethan Maltby, Ben Moran and Riley Pedretti.

Changes at Kangaroo Flat were Will Copland and Darcy Haintz in for Kevin Clark and Khy Sawyer.

In round nine, Kangaroo Flat led 51-7 at half-time of the clash with the Pies at Bendigo Mazda Oval in Dower Park.

Lachlan Wilson led the Ross’ attack on three goals as Jack Barras and captain Nick Lang added two each.

The Maine’s leading goalkickers were Callum McConachy and Will Moran on two each.

Key players for Castlemaine include Liam Wilkinson at centre half-back, captain David Stephens in defence, Klai Jermyn in attack, Declan Slingo, Jack Chester and John Watson.

Younger players in the Magpies’ line-up such as Callum McConachy, Brodie and Jackson Byrne, Sam Nettleton and Ashton Keogh will be keen to have an impact in this match.

Highlights for the James Flaherty-coached Kangaroos have been the consistency of youngsters such as Mitch Trewhella, Kyle Symons, Josh Leersen and the leadership of long-time ruckman/forward Nick Lang.

The skill of Lachlan Wilson, Max and Hakeem Johnson, Tom Gillespie, Jake Hywood, Ben Xiriha and Brodie Fry will test the Magpies.

South Bendigo and Maryborough do battle at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

After an eight-goal haul at Kangaroo Flat last round, Bloods’ star Kaiden Antonowicz will be eyeing another big tally.

He is likely to get plenty of chances as South Bendigo onballers Brody Haddow, Joel Swatton, Brock Harvey and midfielders Sam Maher and Wil McCaig are in form.

Key players in the run by the Nathan Horbury-coached South Bendigo include Zac Hare and Braydan Torpey in defence, Michael Herlihy and Alex Smith-Ralph in attack.

When these clubs met in round nine, South Bendigo scored a 134-point victory.

Maryborough will be determined to be far more competitive in Justin Abrams final game as senior coach.

It’s been a tough run on the injury front for Maryborough for a lot of the season.

The Magpies will look to Matt Bilton in midfield or attack, ruck-rover Bailey Edwards, rover Jayden Hooper, ruckman Brady Neill, and defenders Kya Lanfranchi and Harrison Monk to lead the way.

Maryborough’s attack includes the experienced Mitch Kennedy and Cam Skinner alongside Jake Postle and Ty Stewart.

Kyneton has forfeited its seniors and reserves matches against Strathfieldsaye as the Tigers are severely depleted by the Covid lockdown.

The Tigers and Storm will play the under-18s footy and netball at Kyneton Showgrounds.

The ladder-leading Strathfieldsaye will have an intra-club match at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane as it prepares for another finals campaign.

Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:

Strathfieldsaye 231 per cent, 40 points; Golden Square 186, 40; Sandhurst 174, 40; Gisborne 205, 36; South Bendigo 158, 36; Eaglehawk 169, 24; Kyneton 68, 12; Kangaroo Flat 41, 8; Maryborough 42, 4; Castlemaine 16, 0.

Leaders in the Ron Best Medal, senior goalkicking award:

68 Lachlan Sharp, S’saye.

63 Kaiden Antonowicz, SB.

53 Pat McKenna, Gis.

47 Joel Brett, GS.

45 Jayden Burke, GS.

36 Jack Dye, Eh.

30 Joel Wharton, Sh.

29 Cooper Jones, S’saye.

26 Darcy Richards, Eh.

26 Jack Scanlon, Gis.

22 Matt Thornton, Sh.

21 Jake O’Brien, Gis.

20 Brad Bernacki, Gis.; Michael Herlihy, SB.


Writtem by Nathan Dole.