Saints face tough ask on North Bendigo’s turf
HEATHCOTE faces one of the most daunting tasks on North Bendigo’s turf in Saturday’s opening game of the Bendigo Bank Heathcote District Football Netball League’s senior footy action.
Rarely has North Bendigo been beaten at HIbo Hotel Oval in Atkins Street in the past five years and the Bulldogs have plenty of reasons to play well as Jordan Ford marks his 150th senior game for the club.
After a 9-3 run and third place when the 2021 season was called off, a new-look North Bendigo will be aiming to be a premiership challenger once again.
The showdown with the Saints starts at 2.30pm.
Dual premiership coach Robert Bennett marks his return to coaching at the kennel and has brought some talented recruits with him.
Among the newcomers in the Bulldogs squad are Beau Cross from Sandhurst, Matt Gray from Maiden Gully YCW, and Josh and Nathan Newlan from South Bendigo.
The Dogs also welcome back classy midfielder Nic Waterson from Maiden Gully YCW and dual premiership player Callum Tardrew after a stint with Nagambie.
A talented attack that includes Dylan Klemm, Matt Gray and Shane Harris will test the Saints in the aerial duels.
Other key players for North Bendigo include Aarryn Craig, Storm Giri, Sam Demeo, Ryan Gow and Tim Devereaux.
Heathcote coach Andrew Saladino and a new-look squad will not be daunted by the challenge.
Newcomers for the Saints include Braden Padmore and Liam Birch in attack, and the club has regained Jackson Conforti from Kyneton.
Heathcote fans will also be keen to see the play of Bill Direen and Rhys Bolton in defence.
The Price brothers, Codie and Billy are capable of winning plenty of the footy, as are Kai Cavallaro, Brayden Klemke and Will Long.
It’s footy under lights at Colbinabbin’s M.J. Morgan Reserve as the Colbo Grasshoppers take on Elmore from 6.15pm.
The Julian Bull-coached Colbinabbin was second on a 9-3 record last season and has put another strong line-up together.
Newcomers for Colbo include midfielder Luke Moore from Shepparton Swans, James Brain in attack, and Jimmy McMurtrie.
Also back in the green and gold are Will Lowe after a stint at Birchip-Watchem Bulls.
Elmore will have to work extremely hard to limit the impact the likes of Colbo ruckman Hadleigh Sirett, Todd Clarke, Jed Brain, Ben Southam, Laine and Logan Fitzgerald have on this contest.
There are plenty of new faces in an Elmore line-up in which Dylan Friedberger starts a second year in charge as coach and is joined by key forward/ruckman Dylan Gordon in a joint coaching role.
Those to play their first game for the Bloods will be Bailey Sawyer, Che Taranto in defence; Kyle Armstrong, Mitch Carson and Sam McHale in midfield; Tannar Cerrone, Seb De Napoli and Darcy Laffy in attack.
The Bloods will also look for big games from the likes of Zack Holmberg and Zac Laffy.
Round one will be played on Saturday, April 9.
Colbinabbin takes on North Bendigo at M.J. Morgan Reserve; Heathcote tackles Huntly at Barrack Reserve; Elmore and Mount Pleasant meet on the Bloods’ turf at Elmore; and White Hills faces Lockington Bamawm United in the Demons’ den at Scott Street.
The season for the Leitchville Gunbower Bombers starts on April 16 at Huntly’s Strauch Reserve.
Written by Nathan Dole.