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BFNL GRAND FINALIST – SANDHURST
HAVING won five-straight flags between 2009 and 2013, Golden Square was a frustrated onlooker the past two years as Strathfieldsaye and Sandhurst battled for premiership glory.
But another BFNL flag opportunity now awaits the Bulldogs as they take on arch-rivals Sandhurst at the QEO on Saturday.
It has been an indifferent path to the premiership decider for the Bulldogs throughout the finals series.
They produced a dominant second half in a 55-point qualifying final win over Strathfieldsaye; didn’t fire a shot in a 53-point second semi-final loss to Sandhurst; and then came from 16 points down at three quarter-time to beat Eaglehawk by 19 points in the preliminary final.
The Bulldogs will bid farewell to star midfielder Simon Rosa – a four-time premiership player and 2012 Nalder medallist – who will retire after the game.
Will there be a fairytale ending for one of the BFNL’s greats of modern times?
The Bulldogs side boasts three Victoria Country representatives this year in co-captain Jack Geary, Tom Toma – who was third in the Michelsen Medal – and key position player Chris Ryan who has played at both ends.
Deep in the forward line is this year’s Ron Best medallist Dylan Johnstone, who has kicked 81 goals for the season, but only two in his three finals.
Among the standouts for the Bulldogs have been two of their gun midfielders in Geary and the returning Adam Baird, who between then have been named Square’s best player in 11 of 21 games, and along with the likes of Rosa, Toma and Che Walls will have a big say in the crucial on-ball battle.
Also pivotal in the middle of the ground will be ruckman Matt Compston, who will have a key duel with Sandhurst’s Tim Martin.
Nick Carter’s Bulldogs – who topped up mid-year with the inclusions of Michael Roberts and Ryan Colbert – have lost just four games, but three have been to the Dragons by margins of 47, 13 and 53 points.
Average for: 115.
Average against: 59.
Average goals for: 16.9.
Average goals against: 8.5.
Quarters won: 63/84.
Time in front: 76.2%.
Players used: 35.
Average scoring differential per quarter:
1st: +10.4 pts.
2nd: +7.2 pts.
3rd: +19.1 pts.
4th: +19.1 pts.