Central Victoria's best ready for inter-league
THE Bendigo FNL has a chance this weekend to charge up the Worksafe Country Championships rankings.
A chance to do what they couldn't last year. A chance to win.
If not, then the Bendigo Football Netball League will again be pushed down the list of the best leagues in regional Victoria and its reputation would take a hit.
But it isn't all doom and gloom, Bendigo is also a chance to rise to sixth spot on the list.
The football team, led by coach Rick Ladson, will be out for revenge on Saturday.
Last year they were disappointing against the old rival Ballarat.
Bendigo had more scoring shots to Ballarat last year and yet lost by 23 points.
Hopefully this season Ladson can direct his team and Bendigo can go back on the winners list.
The final squad of 23 players plus three emergencies was finally announced on Monday with a host of A-grade players making the cut.
Sandhurst ruckman Tim Martin has been in fine form while Strathfieldsaye's Stephen Milne AFL experience has helped the Storm move into second spot on the BFL ladder.
Golden Square's newest recruit Corey Jones has recovered well after having surgery earlier this season to have a plate inserted into his fractured cheekbone.
The initial squad began with a massive 73 players but was eventually cut down to 23.
It won't be an easy task on Saturday, Bendigo will take on Gippsland at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Gippsland has also named a strong squad, which includes Ryan Pendlebury, the brother of Collingwood superstar and captain Scott Pendlebury and Bendigo Gold-listed midfielder Tom Hams.
Both teams will be up for the challenge but here's hoping Bendigo will be too strong on their home ground.
Netballers will look to see where they sit among some of regional Victoria's best.
On the netball side of things, the league has announced a formidable line-up.
The team has three players from the undefeated Kangaroo Flat side and two from Gisborne, the reigning Bendigo Netball League premiers.
Dogs duo Tiana Newman and Maddy Stewart are in the team.
Newman, a dual winner of the Betty Thompson Medal, Bendigo's A-grade netball best and fairest, is my tip to be captain.
Bendigo's netballers will look to see where they sit among some of regional Victoria's best.
In 2013 the team had a narrow lost to Ballarat and I have no doubt coach Janelle Hobbs would want to change that result on Saturday.
Hobbs, who is the head coach at Kangaroo Flat this season, has led her team to seven-straight wins in the Bendigo Netball League.
It is going to be a tough challenge for the Bendigo league but it is one I believe its players have been looking forward to since last year's loss.
I look forward to seeing how it all unfolds.