Storm warms up for September night finals by Richard Jones

Wrap of Bendigo footy, round 17

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STRATHFIELDSAYE Storm warmed up for next month’s night finals with a comfortable 58-point victory over South Bendigo on Saturday. Played under the QEO lights, which Storm will see again on 8 September in the second semi-final, Strathfieldsaye made light of the intermittent showers and the icy cold. Key forwards Bryce Curnow (5) and Lachlan Sharp (4) nailed nine goals between them while Storm full-back Shaun Dwyer held BFL Ron Best Medallist favourite Kaiden Antonowicz goal-less. In other results from the penultimate round Gisborne crept closer to an elimination final berth with a three-point win over Golden Square at the Wade Street oval. Gisborne and the Square Bulldogs are now level on 40 premiership points with just percentage separating them. Square’s is almost 18 per cent better. Kyneton held onto third spot and the finals double chance with a 58-point win over an improved Castlemaine, Sandhurst had to shake off a Maryborough side which led at half-time while Eaglehawk downed Kangaroo Flat by 39 points.

GisborneGisborne hung on gamely for the concluding 10 minutes at Wade Street to edge out Golden Square by three points. With their 2018 season on the line the Gardiner Reserve Dogs’ defenders battled for survival in their back half as Square pressed hard. The lead changed hands three times in the final stanza which started with the Square ahead by three points. Captain Jarrad Lynch’s last term Gisborne major at the 12-minute mark was his side’s last six-pointer. That gave Gisborne a four-point advantage with the ball bouncing from end to end but only points were landed over the remaining 20 minutes. Adam Baird (GS) and Tom Fraser (Gis) were the only multiple goalkickers, with a pair each. Josh Grabham, Nick Doolan, Heath Simpson and veteran Anthony Belcher were best for Gisborne while Square’s best included their midfield masters in Baird and skipper Jack Geary, ruckman Matt Compston and Dale Lowry.

KynetonTigersKyneton retained their destiny in their own hands by accounting for a resurgent Castlemaine at the Camp Reserve. Early hail didn’t deter the Magpies who were only eight points down at the long break before the Tigers blitzed them with a six-goals-to-two third term as they steamed home in the second half. Ethan Foreman booted six Kyneton goals – he was inaccurate with a 6.6 return – to give him third place on the goalkicking table with 55 majors and only one round to go. Quality midfielders Gareth Bowes, Billy Mahony and Max O’Sullivan were in the Tigers best. Jake O’Brien nailed two of the Maine’s seven goals with Dylan Atkins and Tyler Gavralas among other good players for the Maine.

eaglehawkeEaglehawk bounced back from a 14-point first term deficit after taking until the 30-minute mark to nail their first major through best afield Sam Harper. The Roos were keen to honour big man Nick Lang on the occasion of his 200th game for the club and were ultra competitive early on with a pair of goals to co-coach Corey Greer, and singles to Liam Collins and clever key forward Dylan Klemm. The Hawks’ next three goals came within a three-and-a-half minute span in  the second term and then another three in quick time in the third put the result beyond doubt. Coach Josh Bowe, young mid Gedd Hommelhoff and Lachie Atherton slotted the match-defining majors while Lang got to mark his milestone with a late Flat goal. 

StrathstormStrathfieldsaye shut down the BFNL’s leading goalkicker, South Bendigo’s Kaiden Antonowicz, as they mastered the rain squalls and freezing conditions on Saturday night. The Storm’s reliable defender Shaun Dwyer held Antonowicz goalless while at the other end of the QEO Bryce Curnow (5 goals) and Lachlan Sharp (4) out scored the Bloods on their own. Playmaker and skipper Kallen Geary was a driving force for the Storm off his half-back flank and was responsible for two of Strathfieldsaye’s three last quarter majors, one of them kicked by Sharp. Brock Harvey was the Bloods’ only multiple goalkicker. He nailed three of their five while Callum Crisp was a solid contributor, controlling the ruck battles.

SandhurstDragonsSandhurst took a long while to get going at Maryborough’s Princes Park and were hit with a big blow to their finals hopes when  defender Will Long suffered a broken leg. The Magpies led at half-time at Princes Park 4.5 to 3.6 before the Dragons added 10 goals to three in the second half. Playing coach Andy Collins (2 goals), ruckman Taylor Strachan who caried a big load in the absence of the rested dual Michelsen Medallist Tim Martin and backman Jake Pallpratt were the Dragons’ best. Daniel Connors booted four Hurst majors in his return from a hamstring injury. Teenager Lachlan Bond bagged three of Maryborough’s seven goals with Coby Perry named best for the home side.

Final scores: Strath Storm 13.19 (97) d South Bendigo 5.9 (39), Sandhurst 13.12 (90) d Maryborough 7.11 (53), Eaglehawk 11.15 (81) d Kang. Flat 6.6 (42), Kyneton 14.22 (106) d Castlemaine 7.6 (48) and Gisborne 7.16 (58) d Golden Square 7.13 (55).

Top five: Strath Storm 15 wins-2 losses, 60 prem. points; Eaglehawk 14-3, 56; Kyneton 11-5, 1 draw, 46; Sandhurst 11-6, 44; Golden Square 10-7, 149.68 %, 40.

Sixth: Gisborne 10-7, 131.76 %, 40.

Leading goalkickers: Kaiden Antonowicz (South Bendigo) 0, 69; Lachlan Sharp (S’saye) 4, 64; Ethan Foreman (Kyneton) 6, 55.

Final round, all Saturday: Gisborne v South Bendigo, Kyneton v Golden Square, Sandhurst v Castlemaine, Eaglehawk v Maryborough and Strathfieldsaye v Kangaroo Flat (twilight). 

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