Braves ready to fire

ON TARGET: Bendigo Braves import Zach Atkinson. Picture: PETER WEAVING

ON TARGET: Bendigo Braves import Zach Atkinson. Picture: PETER WEAVING

Bendigo face arch-rival Ballarat in a Friday night grudge match

ARCH-RIVALS Bendigo and Ballarat have everything to play for on Friday night, according to Braves' head coach Ben Harvey.

Both teams have scored nine wins and nine losses this season and both are fighting to secure a spot in their respective SEABL conference finals.

“It is always a good match between Bendigo and Ballarat,” Harvey said.

“The two teams have a rich history and I know we are all looking forward to the challenge.”

Harvey said it was time the Braves made a stand.  

“Chris Hogan will break the club’s game’s record, it will be his 319th game and we haven’t won a home game for four or five weeks, so it is important we play well in front of a packed home crowd,” he said.   

“We haven’t strung together two games in a row for a while.

“We have been winning and then losing, so we are preparing for this game like we would a final.”

Harvey said his players would lift for Hogan, who will break Braves legend's David Flint game's record of 318 games. 

“I played with him and coached him and he is a good friend both on and off the floor,” he said.

“Milestone games are big games and we are focused on winning this game.”

Harvey said Bendigo would head into the match full of confidence after defeating Geelong last week.

He said the team responded in the best way possible after he set new goals for the 2014 season.

"We came out and beat the best team in the competition," Harvey said.

“We had six players in double figures last week, which shows we don’t rely on just one player to win the game, we have a much more balanced team this season.

"Zach Atkinson scored two points in his 17 minutes last week, so it shows we can perform without our imports firing. 

"But Zach will want to bounce back and play a good game this week.

“It isn't just about the imports we have, everyone needs to play their role and step up.

"If we stick to our strengths and continue with our momentum, we will play well."

Ballarat on the other-hand has lost four of its past five games and will be aiming to get one back on Bendigo. The last time the rivals met, Bendigo won by eight points. 

Tip-off at Bendigo Stadium is at 8pm. 

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