WHEN Bendigo Football League coaches talk about challenging themselves against the best, for the past five years that has been Golden Square.
But in what’s a role reversal just like two weeks ago leading into their game against Sandhurst, Bulldogs coach Nick Carter says Saturday’s clash against Strathfieldsaye at MyJet Oval is a chance for his side to test itself against the best.
“The message has been very similar to what it was the other week against Sandhurst when you play those top sides that we have the chance to test ourselves against the best,” Carter said on Friday.
“At the moment we’re not the best. Games likes this Saturday is when good players stand up and it’s going to be a big test for the guys.
“If you have a look across every line that Strathfieldsaye has, they have very good players, so it’s a great chance for everyone from Simon Rosa through to our younger guys to test themselves against a really good side.”
Golden Square turns for the second half of the season in fourth position.
The Bulldogs will be determined to replicate their steady build of the past two years when they reached the halfway mark of the season in fifth position in 2013 and 2012, before going on to win the premiership.
The Bulldogs welcome back captain Simon Rosa from a broken hand and calf injury for what will be his first game since round three.
Josh Filo also returns to the Golden Square side to take on the second-placed Strathfieldsaye, which defeated the Bulldogs by 33 points in the grand final rematch in round one and has won its past six games by an average of 94 points.
“Watching Strathfieldsaye a couple of times this year, they have improved out of sight in a few different areas that last year we tried to take advantage of,” Carter said.
“We know Strathfieldsaye fairly well and have a good rivalry with them, so we’ll be expecting both sides to rise to the occasion on Saturday.
“We’ll get Strathfieldsaye’s best effort, so we’ll need to play out of our skin to match it with them.”
Ash Trollop and Steven Baker return to a Strathfieldsaye side that continues to get stronger each week.
C. Anderson D. Young B. Connelly
C. Walls M. Tyrrell J. Coe
T. Letcher J. Geary P. Ryan
J. Molinaro L. Woodward H. Morcom
J. Daley S. Harris D. Lowry
M. Compston C. Jones S. Rosa
Interchange: T. Anderson, J. Cowling, H. Donegan, J. Filo
In: S. Rosa, J. Filo
Out: J. Burns, M. Fitzgerald
S. Geary L. Prior J. Donaldson
M. Ladson A. Trollop K. Smith
L. Bonney M. Johnston T. Dowd
V. Flood J. Hall S. Baker
S. Milne S. Mildren L. Sharp
M. Pilcher M. Smith N. Smith
Interchange: (from) B. Lester, L. Marchesi, S. Johns, K. Lea, T. Bartholomew, J. Dickens
In: S. Baker, A. Trollop