UNBEATEN champions is a tag Strathfieldsaye Storm’s reserves football team is aiming for on Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League grand final day on Saturday.
A South Bendigo line-up which has fought its way from the elimination final stands in the way of the Shannon Geary-coached Storm marking a 20th victory and the perfect season.
The reserves match starts at 11.50am.
The Jacob Smythe-coached Bloods had a 12-6 record in the home and away series, but have played brilliantly to knockout Golden Square, Gisborne and Eaglehawk in the past three weekends at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Storm scored an 85-24 win against South Bendigo at Harry Trott Oval in Kennington in round 17.
On that occasion, South led 15-13 at quarter-time, but Storm scored 10.12 to 1.3 across the next three terms.
The club’s games record-holder on 200 games, which he reached in the second semi, Lachlan Bonney booted four goals as Ted Morgan, three, and James Blood, two, were also on target.
Leading goalkicker for the Bloods was Brent Bogaski on two.
Shannon Murphy, Connor Aldous, Brenton Sharp, Jacob Coleman and Lachlan Bonney starred for Storm.
The Bloods’ best were Nathan Newlan, Riley Walsh, Cohen Balnaves, Aidan Brohm, Lachlan Petri and Brent Bogaski.
The round eight clash at Triple M Park in Strathfieldsaye’s Tannery Lane ended in a 9.8 (62) to 8.7 (55) victory for Storm.
Brad Rohde booted three goals for Storm as Brian Westley, four, and Brad Wright, two, led South Bendigo’s attack.
Best for Storm were Connor Looney, Callum McCarty, Keelan Payne, Brad Rohde and Brenton Sharp.
South Bendigo’s best were Brian Westley, Josh McLeod, Shaun Doolan and Nathan Newlan.
In its only finals match so far, Strathfieldsaye dominated the final quarter of the second semi for an 8.15 (63) to 3.3 (21) win against Eaglehawk.
Jacob Heavyside and Riley Wilson kicked two goals apiece.
Storm’s best were iley Wilson, Lachlan Bonney, Daniel Clohesy, James Schishcka, Jacob Heavyside and Harry Crone.
South Bendigo kicked off its run to the grand final by scoring a 14.17 (101) to 4.9 (33) win against Golden Square in the elimination final.
Adam Williams booted four goals as Jesse Sheahan added three and Tyler McLeod chipped in with two.
Best for the Bloods were Aidan Brohm, Sam Maher, Seb Wild, Charlton Hindle, Tyler McLeod and Jesse Sheahan.
South scored 76-39 victory in the first semi against Gisborne.
Adam Willams kicked four goals and the classy Cohen Balnaves booted two in a best afield performance.
The Bloods’ best included Cody Stewart, Daniel Johnstone, Aidan Brohm, Tyler McLeod and Jayden Sheean.
It was a hard-fought preliminary final between South Bendigo and Eaglehawk last Saturday.
The Hawks led 21-12 at quarter-time, but South charged to a 45-34 lead by the long break.
The Bloods were down 55-58 at three quarter-time, but scored 2.3 to a point in the last for a 10.10 (70) to 9.5 (59) result.
The in-form Balnaves and Williams kicked two goals apiece.
Best were Sam Maher, Tyler McLeod, Daniel Johnstone, Josh McLeod, Aidan Brohm and Nathan Newlan.
A major challenge for the Bloods will be stopping Storm full-forward Josh Martyn.
Four of the competition’s top six goalkickers will be in action.
A tally of 61 by Martyn clinched the league goalkicking award.
Williams has kicked 44, Rohde is on 39, and Westley on 34.
Others to watch include Storm team-mates Lachlan Bonney, 28, and Brenton Sharp, 16.
Balnaves is on 18.
It’s a hat-trick of reserves grand finals for Strathfieldsaye.
Last September it was Sandhurst which beat Storm by 32 points.
Storm won the reserves flag in 2017.
The line-up in that match included Brenton and Corey Sharp, Josh Martyn, Connor Aldous, Jacob Heavyside and Keelan Payne.
South Bendigo contests a reserves grand final for the first time since 2009.
A decade ago the Bloods beat Gisborne, 78-44.
South Bendigo’s team included Brad Rohde, Tim Arnold, Zac East, Deon Jones, Marc Lindsay, Ben Galea, Jye Sandiford, Ben Allen, Kyle Morcombe, Sami Fotu and Jonas Somerville.
Teams for Saturday’s reserves grand final:
B: Caillum Brady, Keelan Payne, James Schischka.
Hb: Jacob Heavyside, Jayden Donaldson, James Blood.
C: Callum McCarty, Daniel Clohesy, Riley Wilson.
Hf: Lachlan Bonney, Brenton Sharp, Jack Ginnivan.
F: Josh Martyn, Brad Rohde, Patrick Blandford.
Foll: Harry Crone, Shannon Murphy, Jordan Wilson.
Inter: Jacob Coleman, Leighton Driscoll, Torin Petrie, Jordan Formosa.
Emerg: Ted Morgan, Lachlan Monti.
In: Torin Petrie, Jacob Coleman, Ted Morgan, Lachlan Monti.
Out: Jack Shannahan, Connor Looney.
Coach: Shannon Geary.
B: Tim Arnold, James Murphy, Jesse Sheahan.
Hb: Tyler McLeod, Daniel Johnstone, Zac Hare.
C: Mitch Hocking, Cody Stewart, Jayden Sheean.
Hf: Josh McLeod, Brad Wright, Cohen Balnaves.
F: Charlton Hindle, Adam Williams, Mitchell Hore.
Foll: Aidan Brohm, Seb Wild, Nathan Newlan.
Inter: Matthew Long, Riley Walsh, Josh Newlan, Sam Maher.
Emerg: Brian Westley.
In: Brian Westley.
Coach: Jacob Smythe.