GISBORNE will strive to keep the unbeaten run rolling when the second half of the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s senior footy season kicks off this Saturday.
The Rob Waters-coached Bulldogs make the trek to Queen Elizabeth Oval for the first time this year to take on Sandhurst in the round 10 showdown.
Heat will be on from the first ball-up as the Ash Connick-coached Sandhurst aims to improve on a 4-5 record and keep the heat on the fifth and sixth-placed Eaglehawk and South Bendigo.
In round one, Gisborne won a hard-fought contest with Sandhurst at Gardiner Reserve by 26 points.
Latest hit-out for the Bulldogs was at Eaglehawk’s Canterbury Park where it won 100-37 as Braidon Blake, Liam Spear and Matt Merrett were best.
The Dragons scored a 135-24 victory in last Saturday’s match against Castlemaine at the QEO.
Cobi Maxted kicked five goals and Lachlan Zimmer added four to cap off the work of Lee and James Coghlan and Zach Pallpratt,
Greatest challenge for the Dragons will be stopping a powerful Gisborne attack that includes captain Pat McKenna, Josh Kemp, Merrett and Ben Eales.
The Sandhurst defence is led by Liam Ireland, Jake Wilkinson, Tanner Nally and Isaac Carracher.
Midfield and on-ball duels will be crucial.
The Dragons have Alex Wharton, Blair Holmes, Hamish Hosking, Noah Walsh and Lee Coghlan to take on Matt McDonald, Luke Ellings, Braidon Blake, Seb Bell-Bartels and Flynn Lakey.
Sandhurst’s attack of Maxted, Matt Thornton and Jeremy Rodi will not have it easy against the likes of Jack Reaper, Liam Spear and Jaidyn Owen.
Another big contest will be at nearby Fur Live Oval in Wade Street where Golden Square takes on South Bendigo.
Pressure is on the Nathan Horbury-coached Bloods to break the Bulldogs’ hoodoo.
The round one clash at the QEO ended in a 50-point win for the blue and gold.
It will not be an easy task for South Bendigo as Golden Square won its latest home game against Strathfieldsaye by 58 points.
The Bulldogs applied plenty of defensive heat to hold Storm to just 22 points in one of Square’s best performances in recent seasons.
A strong Golden Square line-up coached by Christian Carter includes Michelsen medallist Jack Geary, ruckman Matt Compston, Ryan Hartley, Jon Coe, and a forward line led by Joel Brett, Jayden Burke and Braydon Vaz.
Key players for the Bloods include Isaiah Miller, Daniel Johnstone, Zac Hare and Cameron Taggert in defence, Michael Herlihy, Sam Langley and Oscar White in midfield, and Kaiden Antonowicz and Brock Harvey in attack.
Stung by big defeats in round nine, Eaglehawk and Strathfieldsaye clash in the Borough at Canterbury Park.
Both have featured in many big games, including a hat-trick of grand final showdowns from 2017 to ’19.
The Hawks and Storm kicked off the 2022 campaign at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane where Strathfieldaye won 85-72.
Injuries have hurt both clubs in recent weeks.
The Travis Matheson-coached Eaglehawk welcomes back Kobe Lloyd and Dylan Hanley.
Eaglehawk will look to control centre clearances and stoppages through ruckman Joel Lawton, Billy Evans, Fraser Verhey and Noah Wheeler.
A talented Two Blues’ attack includes Shaun Knott, Liam Marciano, Darcy Richards and Sam Williams.
Among the inclusions to Storm’s squad was Kallen Geary on a ‘from’ bench of six which will be trimmed to four.
A star in Strathfieldsaye’s premiership wins, Geary returns to where his footy career began in the Borough.
The Darryl Wilson and Shannon Geary-coached Storm will be snarling after such a disappointing result at Golden Square last round.
Players to watch include James Schischka, Harry Conway and Jake Hall in attack, ruckman Tim Hosking, ruck-rover Jake Moorhead, and a defence led by Ben Lester, Jack Neylon and Fergus Payne.
Maryborough will be aiming to seize on an opportunity to end its winless run when it plays Kangaroo Flat in the Magpies’ nest at Princes Park.
The Rick Andrews-coached Magpies have kept improving in recent rounds.
Key players for Maryborough include Aidan Hare, captain Coby Perry, Chris Freeman, Matt Bilton, Kya Lanfranchi and Jayden Hooper.
The Kangaroos beat the Magpies by 71 points in round one at Dower Park, but can expect a more competitive opponent this time.
Ruckman Nick Lang dominated last Saturday’s clash with South Bendigo and will again play a key role.
The Roos will look to Liam and Mitch Collins, Jake Hywood, Ryan O’Keefe, Mitch Rovers and Mitch Trewhella to lead the way to their third win of the season.
Five wins in a row has Kyneton’s fans up and about.
The Tiger Army will be out in force for Saturday’s clash with Castlemaine for the Pride Cup.
A brilliant run has lifted the Paul Chapman-coached Kyneton to the fourth rung on the ladder and a win in front of Eaglehawk and South Bendigo.
A gun midfielder or on-baller in many matches for the Tigers, Rhys Magin has excelled in the move to attack and kicked 36 goals for the yellow and black.
A strong attack includes Cameron Manuel, Guy Dickson, and Steven Georgiou who booted four goals in the win at Maryborough.
On-ballers Hamish Yunghanns and Dean Bartrop have set up plenty of play, while Frazer Driscoll, Harrison Huntley and Louis Thompson have been strong in defence.
It’s another big test for the young Castlemaine team coached by Don Moran.
The play of defenders Jackson Hood, Kaleb McBride, Riley Pedretti and David Stephens will be important for the Pies, as will the pressure applied by the midfield and on-ballers.
Key players for the ‘Maine include Tommy Horne, Zac Denahy, Will Moran, Liam Wilkinson, Sam Nettleton and Jack Chester.
Bendigo FNL senior footy ladder:
Gisborne 292 per cent, 36 points; Strathfieldsaye 192, 28; Golden Square 236, 24; Kyneton 118, 24; Eaglehawk 114, 20; South Bendigo 101, 20; Sandhurst 133, 16; Kangaroo Flat 51, 8; Castlemaine 33, 4; Maryborough 24, 0.
Leaders in the race for the Ron Best medal, senior goalkicking:
45 Joel Brett, GS.
36 Rhys Magin, Kyn.
31 Pat McKenna, Gis.
27 Jayden Burke, GS.
25 Brock Harvey, SB; Cobi Maxted, Sh; James Schischka, S’saye.
23 Josh Kemp, Gis.; Cameron Manuel, Kyn.
20 Lachlan Sharp, S’saye.
18 Kaiden Antonowicz, SB; Joel Wharton, Sh.
17 Darcy Richards, Eh; Braydon Vaz, GS.
16 Matthew Merrett, Gis.
15 Chris Freeman, Mb; Liam Marciano, Eh; Lachy Wilson, KF.
Written by Nathan Dole.