HUNTLY and North Bendigo take contrasting form into their Heathcote District Football League qualifying final at Gunbower tomorrow.
The Hawks have built well for the finals on the back of five wins in a row and look to be the biggest threat to Lockington-Bamawm United’s bid for a premiership hat-trick.
While Huntly will enter the finals with confidence, North Bendigo has hit the skids on the back of five losses in a row.
But thanks to their strong form earlier in the season when they won nine of their first 11 games, the Bulldogs did enough to hang onto their position in the top three and gain the crucial double chance.
And they’re going to need that double chance if their last game against Huntly is anything to go by when they were crushed by 100 points in round 15.
However, despite his side’s struggles, North Bendigo coach Damien Lock is maintaining the faith that has side can bounce back and be a finals factor, like they were last year when they advanced from the elimination final to the grand final.
The Hawks have enjoyed a consistent season in which they won 13 of 16 games, and while they will start warm favourites tomorrow, they did lose to the Bulldogs by 55 points in round seven.
Last year there was understandably a sense of satisfaction in Huntly just making the finals following 10-straight wooden spoons. But this season there’s greater expectation on how far the side can go, starting tomorrow against the Bulldogs.
Stacy Fiske (Huntly) – “Last year we beat North Bendigo twice during the home and away season, but they knocked us out in the elimination final, so we certainly won’t be taking them lightly.
“All it takes is for them to switch on and get things right and we’ll have our hands full.
“Last year we were a little satisfied with just making the finals, whereas this year we want to make sure we give it our best to make sure we go as far as we possibly can.”
Damien Lock (North Bendigo) – “We’ve got to forget about the past month... finals are a different ball game, so that’s our mindset.
“I’ve got a lot of belief in the group and that hasn’t wavered. We’ve had a tough month, but we know what we’ve got to do on Saturday and we’re hoping to get back to playing the footy we know we can.”