Bloods strive to break Golden Square’s dominance
SOUTH Bendigo will be desperate to end Golden Square’s hoodoo when the fierce rivals meet in Saturday’s start to the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s senior footy action.
Head-to-head record in the past seven clashes is 6-1 in favour of Golden Square.
The Bloods have not celebrated a win against the Dogs since a 15-point victory on the QEO in the 14th round of the 2018 season.
A key for the Nathan Horbury-coached Bloods in this contest will be shutting down Square’s run and skill through the midfield.
It’s a daunting task for the Bloods up against Bulldogs’ guns such as Jack Geary, Ryan Hartley and Jake Thrum.
South Bendigo has bolstered its onball and midfield unit through the return of Liam Byrne and Isaiah Miller.
Cooper Leon was one of the gun recruits in the league last season and is back for the Bloods, along with Oscar White on a wing.
There’s plenty of goalkicking power in both teams.
A Square forward line led by Joel Brett and Braydon Vaz will be tough to hold across four quarters, while the Bloods have the mercurial Kaiden Antonowicz capable of dominating the game.
South Bendigo will also look to Michael Herlihy and Will Allen as key targets in attack.
The Harvey brothers, Regan and Brock will be keen to fire for the Bloods against their former club.
The Christian Carter-coached Golden Square will be without key forward Jayden Burke and the hard-running Hamish Morcom, but still has the likes of Liam Barrett and Jon Coe across half-back, Liam Jacques from Bridgewater to slot in at half-forward, and rover Terry Reeves on the field.
Another big match will be at Tannery Lane where Strathfieldsaye takes on Eaglehawk.
After a 0-2 start to last season, Strathfieldsaye went on a 10-game winning run and is rated by many as premiership favourites.
Key players for the Darryl Wilson and Shannon Geary-coached Storm include Lachlan Sharp at full-forward, the versatile Harry Conway and Jake Hall, full-back Ben Lester, and ruck-rover Jake Moorhead.
A major strength of the Storm line-up is it’s versatility and workrate.
The skilful Lachlan Gill, James Schischka, Fergus Payne and Jack Neylon can play a variety of roles.
The Travis Matheson-coached Eaglehawk has bolstered its running power through midfield, but will need big games from the likes of ruck-rover Billy Evans, Joel Mullen on a wing, Oscar Madden at full-back, and key forward Darcy Richards.
Hawks’ fans will be keen to see what Fraser Verhey, Dillon Williams and Liam Marciano can do.
Two of the league’s best of last season, Gisborne and Sandhurst clash at Gisborne’s Gardiner Reserve.
It’s a daunting task for the Ash Connick-coached Sandhurst on the Bulldogs’ turf.
A formidable Gisborne attack includes Jack Scanlon and Ethan Foreman.
The Bulldogs start the season with captain and gun forward Pat McKenna.
On the shorter Gisborne ground the centre clearances become crucial.
The Bulldogs will have ruckman Ben Eales, Seb Bell-Bartels, Brad Bernacki and Flynn Lakey take on Dragons’ new ruckman Hamish Hosking, Zach Pallpratt, James Mitell and Lee Coghlan.
The marking power of Matt Thornton and Sean O’Farrell, who usually plays in defence, will be a key in Sandhurst’s forward line.
The Dragons have named Jake Wilkinson and Liam Ireland in the key defensive posts.
Key players for the Dragons include James Coghlan at half-back, Noah Walsh, and the elusive Joel Wharton.
Kangaroo Flat and Maryborough will be confident of first-up victories when they clash on the Roos’ ground at Dower Park.
The James Flaherty-coached Kangaroo Flat is one of the youngest teams in the competition.
Flat has welcomed back Mitch and Liam Collins, while classy small forward/mid Mitch Rovers is back with the Roos after being at Sandhurst last year.
A line-up led by ruckman/forward Nick Lang has youngsters such as Mitch Trewhella, Jake Hywood, Tom Gillespie and Mitch Holt who all played well in ’21.
Rick Andrews marks his return to the league as coach of Maryborough.
A premiership-winning star with the Magpies and at Sandhurst, Andrews takes charge of a young team also determined to avoid costly lapses in matches.
Players to watch for Maryborough include Coby Perry on a wing, and the versatile Jacob Lohmann who is also on the list for Sandringham in the VFL.
Pies’ recruits keen to help the club’s climb up the ladder include Lachie and Sam Mackie from a back flank and forward flank, and Dylan Harberger in defence.
The Magpies start the season with reigning club champion and gun on-baller Bailey Edwards, but have Kya Lanfranchi, Brady Neill, Anthony Tatchell and Ty Stewart on the field and keen to start a new season with a victory.
A new-look Castlemaine takes on Kyneton at Camp Reserve.
Although the ‘Maine was winless in 2021, coach Don Moran and the recruiting team were able to lure some quality players back to the Camp.
Among those in the Magpies’ squad are key forward Bailey Henderson, a premiership-winning player with Strathfieldsaye Storm, as well as former captain Zac Hansford, key forward Zac Denahy and Tommy Horne.
Although named on the interchange bench, Wilkinson and David Stephens are likely to be key defenders for the Magpies.
Henderson was named in the centre and has the likes of Callum McConachy, Tommy Horne and John Watson capable of setting up a lot of play.
Kyneton coach Paul Chapman has a greater depth of talent to work with in his second year at Tigerland.
Newcomers for the yellow and black include Mason Crozier at centre half-back, Lachlan Ford, and Steven Georgiou at half-back.
The Tigers have the likes of Rhys Magin and Ned O’Sullivan in on-ball roles, Guy Dickson and Louis Thompson in attack, and Harrison Huntley and Ben Xiriha in defence.
All senior matches start at 2.20pm.
Written by Nathan Dole.