Pies chasing winning hat-trick

Gisborne captain Luke Bucknall.

Gisborne captain Luke Bucknall.

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BACK-to-back wins over finals aspirants Kangaroo Flat and Kyneton the past two rounds has Maryborough travelling to Gisborne on Saturday with renewed belief.

The Magpies lost their first eight games of the BFL season, but have enjoyed a renaissance over the past two rounds with their victories over the Roos and Tigers.

They now eye off three wins in a row - a feat they haven’t achieved since rounds 11 to 13 of the 2011 season - against the third-placed Bulldogs.

“The guys are playing really well at the moment. We always knew they had it in them, but we’ve got the team set-up the way we wanted it now,” Magpies co-coach Jamie Bond said on Friday.

Bond believes one of the biggest keys to the Magpies’ recent on-field success has been the form of Tyson MacIlwain at centre half-forward.

“Tyson has given us a really strong presence in the forward line and has taken a lot of pressure off Matt (Bond),” Bond said.

“And our onballers led by Lachie Edwards and Luke Bucknall are playing some good football, so it’s going along well at the moment.

“But Gisborne is a very well-drilled side, so we need to make sure we bring the effort and intensity again.”

Gisborne halted its string of three losses in a row last week with a comfortable 109-point win over Castlemaine.

In what’s a boost for the Bulldogs, Anthony Belcher returns to the side.

Meanwhile, Sandhurst sits six wins ahead of Saturday’s opponent Kyneton on the Bendigo Football League ladder.

But Dragons’ coach Brett Fitzpatrick knows any side that is capable of kicking 11 goals in a quarter - like the Tigers did in the third against Eaglehawk last round - must be treated with caution.

“Especially playing on their home ground and setting themselves to beat sides above them, we know they’ll be really cherishing the opportunity on Saturday,” Fitzpatrick said on Friday.

“So the guys know we’ll need to be approaching this game in a fairly aggressive and positive manner because any complacency will be exposed down there.

“Obviously, to play the sort of footy Kyneton did in that third quarter against Eaglehawk, they will take a lot of confidence going into this week.”

The Dragons haven’t lost to Kyneton – which is seventh on the ladder – since 2008.

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