Friday grand finals a new goal for Bendigo FNL

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FRIDAY grand finals are the new goal for the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League under a revamped fixture for the 2021 season brought about by the latest COVID lockdown.

The league has slated Friday, September 24 as its preferred option for grand finals at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Pending health advice, the Bendigo FNL season will be rebooted on Saturday, June 12.

Key clashes on the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend will be Sandhurst against Gisborne at Queen Elizabeth Oval, and Golden Square to take on Eaglehawk at Fur Life Vet Oval in Wade Street.

Strathfieldsaye will face Kyneton at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane, and Maryborough meets South Bendigo in the Magpies’ nest at Barkers Oval in Princes Park.

The winless run for Kangaroo Flat and Castlemaine would be broken when they meet on the Roos’ patch at Bendigo Mazda Oval in Dower Park.

Under the re-jigged draw, matches from round seven would be played on June 19 instead of the 10th round.

Games held over from round eight, listed for June 8, will now be contested on June 26 instead of round 11 games.

A general bye on July 3 will be replaced by matches listed in the 10th round.

Rounds 12 to 18 would stay as fixtured.

The 11th round, originally listed for June 26, now moves to August 28.

Main games on that day are likely to be Sandhurst against Strathfieldsaye at the QEO; and Eaglehawk tackles South Bendigo at S & R Park in Canterbury Park.

Gisborne meets Golden Square in the all-Bulldogs showdown at Gardiner Reserve.

All finals will be pushed back a week.

Qualifying finals and Elimination finals on September 4 and 5.

Second and First semi-finals on September 11 and 12.

Preliminary finals on September 18.

Grand final on Friday, September 24.

The revamped Bendigo FNL fixture:

June 12, round nine:

Maryborough v South Bendigo at Barkers Oval, Princes Park.

Kangaroo Flat v Castlemaine at Bendigo Mazda Oval, Dower Park.

Golden Square v Eaglehawk at Fur Life Vet Oval, Wade Street.

Sandhurst v Gisborne at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Strathfieldsaye v Kyneton at Triple M Park, Tannery Lane.

June 19, round seven instead of 10:

Sandhurst v Eaglehawk at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Gisborne v Kyneton at Gardiner Reserve.

Strathfieldsaye v Castlemaine at Triple M Park, Tannery Lane.

Golden Square v South Bendigo at Fur Life Vet Oval, Wade Street.

Maryborough v Kangaroo Flat at Barkers Oval, Princes Park.

June 26, round eight instead of 11:

Kyneton v Sandhurst at Kyneton Showgrounds.

Gisborne v Maryborough at Gardiner Reserve.

Eaglehawk v Strathfieldsaye at S & R Park, Canterbury Park.

Castlemaine v Golden Square at Camp Reserve.

South Bendigo v Kangaroo Flat at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

July 3, round 10 instead of general bye:

Maryborough v Sandhurst at Barkers Oval, Princes Park.

Strathfieldsaye v Gisborne at Triple M Park, Tannery Lane.

Golden Square v Kyneton at Fur Life Vet Oval, Wade Street.

Kangaroo Flat v Eaglehawk at Bendigo Mazda Oval, Dower Park.

South Bendigo v Castlemaine at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Rounds 12-18 as fixtured

August 28, round 11 instead of first week of finals:

Sandhurst v Strathfieldsaye at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Gisborne v Golden Square at Gardiner Reserve.

Kyneton v Kangaroo Flat at Kyneton Showgrounds.

Eaglehawk v South Bendigo at S & R Park, Canterbury Park.

Castlemaine v Maryborough at Camp Reserve.

Standings in the Bendigo FNL senior footy competition after six rounds:

Sandhurst 229 per cent, 24 points; Eaglehawk 259, 16; Gisborne 179, 16; Strathfieldsaye 159, 16; Golden Square 150, 16; South Bendigo 118, 16; Kyneton 94, 12; Maryborough 61, 4; Kangaroo Flat 26, 0; Castlemaine 17, 0.

A dual winner of the Ron Best Medal for leading goalkicker, Strathfieldsaye star Lachlan Sharp again leads the race for the award.

Sharp has kicked 33 goals in Storm’s run.

His previous wins were in 2017, 142 goals; and ‘19, 129 goals.

Next best in this season’s contest are Gisborne captain Pat McKenna, 23; South Bendigo’s Kaiden Antonowicz and Eaglehawk’s Darcy Richards on 20.

A tally of 76 earned Antonowicz the Ron Best Medal in 2018.

Golden Square’s attack is led by Jake Thrum, 19 goals; and Joel Wharton has booted 19 majors in Sandhurst’s unbeaten run.

Jayden Templeton is Maryborough’s key target on 16 goals.

Eaglehawk’s Jack Dye and Lewin Davis, and Golden Square clubmates Joel Brett and Jayden Burke are locked on 15 goals.

Written by Nathan Dole

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