Top five virtually set – and it’s only early May by Richard Jones

BFNLLogo1A look at Bendigo footy, round four…

We’re only a month into the 2019 Bendigo footy league season and already the top five is pretty well settled. Unbeaten Strathfieldsaye head the pack followed by Gisborne, Eaglehawk, Sandhurst and Golden Square – in that order. The chasing bunch is a fair way off the pace as we head into round five. Kyneton is currently sixth but is one, clear game and 50 per cent behind fifth-placed Square while none of the bottom four stand any chance of making it to September. Those four clubs needs to land at least 10 wins to make it to fifth spot and that’s mighty hard – virtually impossible –to see. So with 14 home-and-away rounds to go the main interest lies in which clubs will fill the top three ladder positions and clinch a September finals double chance.

SandhurstDragonsI saw Sandhurst wear down a gallant Maryborough at the QEO after trailing by five points at quarter-time. Maryborough went into the game without gun spearhead Stewart Crameri who had family business commitments in Melbourne meaning Jayden Templeton had to shoulder the main forward line duties. But in the end the Dragons landed 32 scoring shots to 12 with the 2.9 they landed in the second term particularly wasteful. That wasteful conversion was tidied up in the last half as they converted a modest 10-point half-time lead into an eventual 45-point victory.

Small forward Jake McLean (4 goals) and big marking target Matt Thornton (3) were the Hurst’s main goalkickers. Lachlan Tardrew (not needed by Collingwood’s VFL side), Andrew Collins and Joel Wharton (2 goals) capitalised on Chris Down’s ruck dominance to take over the midfield battles in the second half. The Magpies’ best were defender Daniel Vadala and mids Luke Bucknall and Lachlan Butler.

Strathfieldsaye made Gisborne look like a middle-of-the-list side in the Gardiner’s Reserve first quarter as they piled on 4.6 to two behinds. Sam Heavyside and Michelsen medal fancy Josh Formosa controlled the midfield with wingman Bailey Henderson (3 goals for the day) very important as he floated forward constantly. The Bulldogs rallied a tad in the two middle terms but they still trailed by seven goals at the last change. The big injury news from the Storm camp was the game-ending injury to Collingwood’s VFL-listed player Matt Smith. He has broken bones in one hand. Gisborne playing coach Clinton Young was on the sidelines, too, from the start, with a hamstring injury with the Dogs’ best Nick Doolan through midfield and forwards Pat McKenna (3 goals) and Jack Scanlon prominent. Prolific Storm forward Lachlan Sharp (6 goals) consolidated his position at the top of the BFNL goalkicking table     

In the other games Eaglehawk, Golden Square and Kyneton landed regulation wins. The closest match of that trio was played at the Kyneton Showgrounds where the Tigers –without sidelined spearhead Nathan Thompson –laid the foundation for their victory with a big first half.

On the way to their eventual 27-point win over Kangaroo Flat the Tigers had edged away to a 43-point margin by half-time. Patrick McCarthy, a key defender for the BFNL at inter-league level, took Thompson’s spot up forward and landed three goals. Reliable midfeilder Rhys Magin was again in Michelsen medal vote-winning form as he dominated the first half, while the Govan brothers, young gun Jackson Conforti and ruckman Darcy Harris all provided plenty of drive.

Former Subiaco key forward Matt Boland showed some glimpses of form in his first game for the Roos and kicked three goals while reliable mids Jono Lanyon and Liam Collins battled hard.

Despite the absence of gun skipper Jack Geary, the Square throttled South Bendigo kicking six majors to one in the first term. The Bulldogs surged again in the third quarter adding another five goals to eventually win by 61 points. Returning from an ankle injury recruit Alex Marklew made a stellar return. He booted five goals and combined spectacularly with the Square’s main ball-winner Adam ‘Skinny’ Baird (3 goals). Matt Compston dominated the ruck duels with Jake Thrum his usual reliable, ball-winning self. Kaiden Antonowicz was South’s shining light inside 50 as the classy forward nailed five of South’s tiny total of seven goals.

Despite Angus Monfries first quarter heroics where he drilled three goals and hauled in a mark-of-the-year candidate, Castlemaine collapsed out at Eaglehawk after the first change. The Hawks banged home 20 goals to a miserable two in the final three stanzas to win by a massive 121 points.

The home side’s slick ball movement through the middle of Canterbury Park tore the Magpies apart with Sean Williams (5), Jarryd Pertzel (4) and Ben McPhee (3) accounting for 12 of the Two Blues’ goals between them. Dillon Williams, Riley Saunders and Brodie Collins controlled the midfield as the Borough had 12 goalkickers on the board by the final siren.

Final scores: Sandhurst 14.18 (102) def. Maryborough 9.3 (57), Eaglehawk 23.16 (154) def. C’maine 5.3 (33), S’saye 14.12 (96) def. Gisborne 10.15 (75), Golden Square 17.10 (112) def. Sth. Bendigo 7.9 (51) and Kyneton 12.12 (84) def. Kang. Flat 8.9 (57).

Goalkickers: Lachlan Sharp (Storm) 6, 21; Patrick McKenna (Gis) 3, 17; Sean Williams (Eh) 5, 16; Jarryd Pertzel (Eh) 4, 13; Jack Scanlon (Gis) 0, 12; Jayden Templeton (Mrb) 2, 10.

Top Five: S’saye 4 wins, 0 losses, 16 prem. pts.; Gisborne 3-1, 211.7%, 12; Eaglehawk 3-1, 163.08%, 12; Sandhurst 3-1, 137.2%, 12 and G. Square 3-1, 136.4%, 12.

Next week, all Saturday: Sth. Bendigo v Gisborne (Harry Trott Oval), Golden Square v M/borough, Eaglehawk v Sandhurst, S’saye v Kyneton and Kangaroo Flat v Castlemaine.    

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