THERE’S been one regular figure in what will be four consecutive Bendigo Football League’s under-18 grand finals between Golden Square and Sandhurst tomorrow at the QEO.
Golden Square coach Jamie Hogan has played a key role in all four battles for the premiership cup.
Clashes in 2009 and ‘10 were wins for Square, while Sandhurst triumphed last September.
The Bulldogs go into this match as the underdogs against a team which has beaten them every time this season.
Despite the winning streak against the Dogs, Sandhurst coach Shane Meade knows what Golden Square’s young guns are capable of.
“They have four or five really good players who can dominate or turn a game,” Meade said.
“So far this season we have done a great job on nullifying their better players. We have to do it again.”
Meade said major dangers to Sandhurst’s bid for back-to-back under-18 premierships are full-forward Brayden Knox, who has kicked a league-high 85 goals, midfielders Jack Daley, Levi Moss and Blayne Ryan-Storey, and the classy Jacob Greenwood.
Sandhurst’s pressure on every line played a big part in its big second semi-final win.
“Our contested marking and hitting targets meant we controlled a lot of play.”
While Sandhurst’s defence faces a huge task against Knox and Greenwood, it will be the same at the other end of the big ground where Matt Gray and Lachlan Ross have taken many marks and kicked 60 and 47 goals respectively.
Midfield battles will be a highlight, with Nic Waterson, Isaac Broadbent and Martin Leyden capable of setting up many attacks for the Dragons.
The Bulldogs have been dealt a lesson in their past two hit-outs with Sandhurst.
“In our past two games against Sandhurst there have been about 10-minute patches where they have had a run-on and kicked four or five goals,’’ Hogan said.
“There will be times when momentum is our way, and then it’s with them.”
Hogan was rapt with Square’s pressure against the Flat which kept premiership hopes alive.
“Against a team with as much skill as Sandhurst it’s crucial to keep chasing, tackling and force a turnover,’’ Hogan said.
“Winning contested footy and using the ball as well as we can is what this game is all about.”