BY NATHAN DOLE
BULLDOGS will chase Cats as North Bendigo and Lockington Bamawm United clash in Saturday’s second round of senior footy in the Bendigo Bank Heathcote District Football Netball League.
Play was switched from Lockington’s ground to the Hibo Hotel Oval in North Bendigo’s Atkins Street because of upgrades at the Cats’ home.
Being in the kennel will not faze the LBU line-up as many played in the 105-67 victory at North Bendigo in round 16 last year.
Scores were locked on 50-all at half-time, but LBU dominated the final hour, 55-17.
Although there’s been a change at the top, LBU lured Stacy Fiske from Huntly to be coach, 2022 premiership coach Brodie Collins is playing on.
There’s been a turnover of talent for the Cats, but 12 players from the premiership team will take to North Bendigo’s turf.
Newcomers for LBU include the St Arnaud duo of Tom Douglas and Laclan Tenace; Kangaroo Flat’s Max Johnson; and Ben Holman from Kyabram.
North Bendigo marked a winning start to the season in a hard-fought 69-63 result at home against Mount Pleasant last Saturday.
Classy midfielder Nic Waterson earned the Russell Roulston Cup as best afield as both clubs honoured the gun forward from the mid to late 70s and early 80s.
Bulldogs’ ruckman Jeremy Lambden won plenty of hit-outs and will play a crucial role up against Tyler Phillips who has earned the Sam Cheatley Medal as the league’s fairest and best the past two seasons.
The versatile Jake Hall, captain Aarryn Craig, key forwards Dylan Klemm and Cody Riddick, Shane Harris and Daniel Reid in defence will play important roles for the Rob Bennett-coached North Bendigo.
Jordan Ford will be in the attack after missing round one because of a hamstring injury.
After an impressive win on Huntly’s turf, Elmore is at home to take on Colbinabbin.
The Dylan Friedberger-coached Elmore had key defender Dylan Gordon, ruckman Daniel Russell, Mitch Carson and Sam McHale star in a 77-38 win at Strauch Reserve.
Other players to watch for the Bloods include co-captain Rhys Holmberg in the centre, Jordan Buckiley and Darcy Laffy in attack, ruck-rover Nathan Kay, and Eamon Gilbert across half-back.
Colbinabbin is on the rebound from a 44-77 loss at home to Heathcote.
The Jed Brain-coached Grasshoppers were outpointed at a lot of stoppages by the Saints.
Colbinabbin will look to Jai Carn, Logan and Laine Fitzgerald, and co-captain Will Lowe to lead the way to victory.
Key players for the green and gold include co-captain David Price in the centre, Jasper McArdle in the ruck, Clint Shields and Stephen Tuohey in attack, and Darcy Brown at full-back.
Heathcote is on home turf at Barrack Reserve to take on Leitchville-Gunbower.
The intensity, run and teamwork of the Andrew Saladino-coached Saints was superb in a 33-point win at Colbinabbin’s M.J. Morgan Reserve.
Challenge for the Saints is to not relax against an LG line-up which finished strongly against White Hills at Leitchville.
Jesse Davies was best afield for the Saints as ruckman Jordan Marcroft, forwards Shannon Dowsett and Liam Birch were in top form.
The run and skill of Codie Price, Liam Jacques, Braden Padmore and Rhys Bolton will test the Bombers in this contest.
Although beaten, the Shannon Keam-coached Leitchville Gunbower was incredibly competitive against White Hills in the wet conditions.
Ruckman Jobee Warde starred for LG as Jye Keath, Mitch Candy and Clay McGregor were among the best.
Mount Pleasant and Huntly are on the rebound from defeat as they meet on the Blues’ turf at Toolleen.
The Adam Baird-coached Mount Pleasant overcame a slow start to really put the heat on North Bendigo.
Key defender Will Wallace is rarely beaten in one-on-one duels.
A Michelsen medallist and multiple premiership winner in his time at Golden Square, Baird’s run and skill is outstanding.
Add the class of Ben Weightman and Mitch Rovers in attack, Chris Down in the ruck, Zebb Murrell and Pat O’Brien in midfield, Bryce Hinneberg and Bailey White in defence and last year’s runners-up is likely to be a top contender once again.
This match will be a big test for Huntly which has welcomed back Harry Whittle from Newbridge to team with Jayden Cordy as playing coaches.
The Hawks have the marking power of Lachy Wilson in attack and classy Whittle across half-forward, but it will be workrate, especially defensively, that plays a big part in the Hawks’ game plan.
The brown and gold will look for big games from the likes of Jackson Fry who was recruited from Kangaroo Flat in the ruck, captain Steve Kairn, Ryan Burt, Abe Sladden and Ben Daley.
White Hills has the bye.
Heathcote DFNL senior footy ladder:
White Hills 242 per cent, 4 points; Elmore 202, 4; Heathcote 175, 4; North Bendigo 109, 4; Mount Pleasant 91, 0; Colbinabbin 57, 0; Huntly 49, 0; Leitchville Gunbower 41, 0; Lockington Bamawm United 0, 0.
3 Kaiden Antonowicz, WH; Jordan Buckley, E; Liam Birch, H’cote; Aarryn Craig, NB.
2 Liam Bartels, WH; Jai Carn, C; Mitch Carson, E; Mitch Dole, WH; Shannon Dowsett, H’cote; Laine Fitzgerald, C; Corey Grindlay, H’cote; Chris Horman, LG; Liam Jacques, H’cote; Nick Knight, C; Riley McNamara, MP; Ben Weightman, MP.