Kangaroo Flat's chance to make a BFL statement
A MONTH into the Bendigo Football League season, two of the clubs that have created plenty of talk have been Sandhurst and Kangaroo Flat.
The Dragons for their impressive start to the season that has sitting them on top of the ladder with four 50 point-plus wins, and the Roos for their promising opening that has them shaping as a side capable of making the big step from wooden-spooners to finalists in the space of just 12 months.
There haven’t been too many big Sandhurst v Kangaroo Flat clashes for the past decade or so – mainly because of the Roos all too common position towards the foot of the BFL ladder.
But this Saturday’s round five encounter at the Queen Elizabeth Oval has a real edge to it.
For all the different timeslots we’ve had for BFL games already this season – including Friday arvo, Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday arvo – you can’t beat the traditional Saturday afternoon at the QEO, which is what we have for the Dragons-Roos clash.
If it wasn’t for Kangaroo Flat’s last-quarter fade-out against Golden Square on Good Friday, this would be a clash of two unbeaten teams.
The Dragons - despite their consistent wayward kicking at goal that has them the worst converting BFL side at just 42.9 per cent - are yet to put a foot wrong this season at 4-0, while the Roos’ only blemish has been that six-point slip-up to Golden Square when they were unable to break the Bulldogs’ 13-year stranglehold over them.
The Roos have already bettered their tally of two wins from last year, including a victory over last season's preliminary finalists in Eaglehawk last Friday night - a side a year earlier on Anzac Day they had lost to by 67 points.
With Sandhurst already shaping as one of this season’s top flag contenders - albeit having only played one of last year's finalists so far in Strathfieldsaye - this week on the QEO gives the Roos a perfect opportunity to test their "real deal" credentials at the BFL’s home of the finals.
The Roos copped two 20-goal hammerings off Sandhurst last year, kicking just four goals against the Dragons both times, showing just how big a gap there is for Kangaroo Flat to bridge on Sandhurst.
What has stood out early for Kangaroo Flat is Nick Lang's form in the ruck shows just what a big loss he was last year with his hip injury; midfielder Cory Greer has been quick to make his mark at his new club; another recruit in Cameron Rinaldi leads the BFL goalkicking with 16; while Simon Davies has been a welcome return to help the Roos to 3-1, a position the club hasn’t been in since its last grand final year in 2000.
All pre-season coach Jason Stevens (pictured) preached “improvement” as the Roos' No.1 aim for 2014.
So far so good on that front, but improvement is about testing yourself against top quality opposition, which is what Sandhurst is and why this weekend the Roos have the chance to really make the BFL stand up and take notice with a big scalp.
Looking forward to it.