BFL SECOND SEMI-FINAL:
STRATHFIELDSAYE v SANDHURST - 6pm Saturday at QEO.
Since 2009: Sandhurst 8; Strathfieldsaye 5.
Last final: 2012 first semi-final - Strathfieldsaye 19.15 (129) d Sandhurst 13.12 (90).
This year's meetings:
Round 3: Sandhurst 16.18 (114) d Strathfieldsaye 5.5 (35).
Round 12: Strathfieldsaye 10.16 (76) d Sandhurst 7.12 (54).
SANDHURST and Strathfieldsaye were the dominant teams of the home and away season and on Saturday night will face off for a berth in the Bendigo Football League grand final.
Strathfieldsaye enters the second semi-final at the Queen Elizabeth Oval with a dominant formline that has it $1.33 flag favourites with Sportsbet.
Since copping a 79-point hiding off Sandhurst in round three - their only loss of the year - the Storm hit the finals on the back of 15 wins in a row by an average of 80 points and refreshed following last week off courtesy of their top-of-the-ladder finish.
While the Storm - who last year blew a five-goal half-time lead against Golden Square in the second semi-final - has had 14 days off since their 128-point belting of South Bendigo in round 18, the Dragons are coming off a six-day break after defeating Gisborne by 42 points in last Sunday’s qualifying final.
The Dragons have had a shaky finals record for the past decade, but the way they finished off Gisborne in the final term last week with eight goals to two when the game was on the line should give the side plenty of confidence to take into the clash with the Storm.
Darryl Wilson (Strathfieldsaye) - “The majority of the list is sound and the week off was important in terms of the preparation for a massive game.
“We watched Sandhurst with interest last weekend and we’re very mindful of what they’ve got. They have a very even and consistent team right across the board.
“Their midfield was very strong last week and it’s going to be tough to match that up, so we’ll look to elevate our defensive mindset.
“Steven Baker will play on one of their mids in a lock-down role, and we’ll obviously have to put a bit of work into Tim Martin given his ruck dominance.”
Brett Fitzpatrick (Sandhurst) - “One of the most rewarding aspects of last week was that understanding that the result may not come until the last five or 10 minutes and the players had the ability to keep pushing that deep into the game.
“This week there’s a spot in the grand final on the line and at this time of the year, it would be nice to get a week off going into it.
“We’ve given ourselves two opportunities to have a crack at getting in... not that we want to utilise it. We’ll be having a fair dinkum crack at getting straight through on Saturday night.”
TALE OF THE TAPE:
Won: 17. Lost: 1.
Average for: 120.8. Against: 55.3.
Quarters won: 56/72.
Won: 17. Lost: 2.
Average for: 115.9. Against: 58.4.
Quarters won: 62/76.