THE fight between the Cats and Bulldogs highlights Saturday’s seventh round of the Bendigo Bank Heathcote District Football Netball League’s senior footy action when Lockington Bamawm United takes on North Bendigo.
The unbeaten LBU Cats will be back on home turf at Lockington and striving to strengthen their credentials as the team to beat for the premiership cup.
Lockington Bamawm United clicked to another gear when it mattered to score a five-goal win on Mount Pleasant’s turf at Toolleen last round.
North Bendigo fired up to retain the Golden City Cup as it beat Huntly just days after the passing of club legend and former HDFNL president, Keith Robertson.
For the Robert Bennett-coached Bulldogs a key will be matching LBU’s workrate at centre clearances and stoppages.
Cats’ ruckman Tyler Phillips has followed up last season’s Sam Cheatley Medal victory as league fairest and best by dominating most matches.
Phillips’ ability to tap the footy to the likes of Brodie and Jesse Collins is a big factor in LBU’s success.
North Bendigo will look to Jeremy Lambden, Manny Thalasinos and Nathan Newlan to compete strongly, especially at centre ball-ups and boundary throw-ins.
The Bulldogs have been bolstered by the inclusion of Lachlan Tardrew on a wing.
A gun player for Collingwood in the VFL, Tardrew is available as the Magpies have a bye this round.
Tardrew was among the Bulldogs’ best in his first game for the club at Leitchville-Gunbower.
North Bendigo’s midfield of Lachlan Tardrew, Beau Cross and Nic Waterson faces a huge test against Riley McIvor, Thomas Leech and Nathan Bacon.
A powerful LBU attack includes Ben Fulford, Anthony McMahon, Rhys Woodland and Lachlan Atherton up against Aarryn Craig, Sam Demeo, Lachlan Ford and Ryan Alford.
The athletic Dylan Klemm kicked seven goals in North Bendigo’s latest victory and is a key target up forward, along with Jordan Ford, Shane Harris and Storm Giri.
They will be opposed by a Cats defence that includes Joss Howlett, Luke Collins, Charlie Hinks and Fraser Monahan.
Heathcote takes on White Hills on the Saints’ turf at Barrack Reserve.
The Andrew Saladino-coached Saints have climbed to the fifth rung after a 67-point win at Elmore as White Hills had the bye.
Key players for Heathcote include the run and skill of Codie Price from half-back, Braden Padmore and Hamilton in midfield, Billy Price and Brayden Klemke in defence, Jordan and Kai Cavallaro, and B Jane in attack.
The Jack Fallon-coached White Hills showed in its home-ground win against North Bendigo what it is capable of.
The Demons will be ready to turn up the heat from the first contest as they fight to regain their place in the top five.
Players to watch for White Hills include Rhys Irwin, Kaiden Skelton, Mitch Dole, Bayden Fallon, Liam Bartels, Brady Childs and Eli Pearce.
Leitchville-Gunbower is back at Leitchville to take on Elmore.
The Bombers were outpointed by a skilful Colbinabbin last round in a match where Jobee Warde, Billy Hawken, Mitchell Candy and Nathan McLellan were Leitchville-Gunbower’s best.
Elmore went down to Heathcote, but the previous round put in a great effort to finish within 17 points of White Hills in the Demons’ den.
Key players for the Dylan Friedberger and Dylan Gordon-coached Elmore include Darcy and Zac Laffy, Kyle Armstrong, Dylan Oaff, Sebastian De Napoli, and Zack Holmberg.
Huntly is on home turf at Strauch Reserve to take on unbeaten ladder-leader Colbinabbin.
The Hawks’ best in the clash at North Bendigo were coach Stacy Fiske, Jaydon Cowling, Brandon Dimech and Travis Mercadante.
Players in the brown and gold who face huge tasks include Brad Chalmers in the ruck, Mitch Billings in the centre, Jayden Cordy and Tori Ferguson in attack, and defenders Flynn Campbell and Jay McDonald.
The Julian Bull-coached Colbinabbin has James and Jed Brain, Luke Moore and Will Lowe in great form.
Others to watch for the green and gold include Thomas Hill and Ben Barton in defence, Laine Fitzgerald, Todd Clarke, Clint Shields, and Hadleigh Sirett.
Mount Pleasant has the bye.
Heathcote DFNL senior ladder:
Colbinabbin 241 per cent, 24 points; Lockington Bamawm United 225, 20; Mount Pleasant 197, 20; North Bendigo 142, 16; Heathcote 85, 8; White Hills 69, 8; Leitchville Gunbower 30, 4; Elmore 59, 0; Huntly 49, 0.
31 Ben Weightman, MP.
20 Jed Brain, Colbo.
19 Dylan Klemm, NB.
17 Ben Fulford, LBU; Matt Gray, NB.
16 James Brain, Colbo.
15 Laine Fitzgerald, Colbo.
14 Adam Baird, MP; Anthony McMahon, LBU.
12 Kai Cavallaro, H’cote; Braden Padmore, H’cote.
11 Jack Brooks, H’cote; Jordan Ford, NB; Darcy Laffy, Elm.; Luke Moore, Colbo.; Tyler Phillips, LBU; Clint Shields, Colbo.; Rhys Woodland, LBU.
10 Jackson Conforti, H’cote.
Written by Nathan Dole.