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The Bendigo Advertiser Cup will be held aloft by Sandhurst skipper Blair Holmes and coach Wayne Primmer.
That’s the opinion of the three BFNL coaches who have seen the grand final rivals Sandhurst and Golden Square up close in the past month.
Eaglehawk’s Luke Monaghan, Strathfieldsaye’s Darryl Wilson and Kyneton’s Luke Beattie all expect the Dragons to win their first flag in 12 years.
Monaghan said the Dragons’ perfect preparation made them tough to stop.
“The preliminary final proved how tiresome it is to play final after final,’’ Monaghan said.
“Sandhurst’s preparation couldn’t be better. Two tough games before the finals, the week off, beat Golden Square in the second semi and then another week off.
“It’s going to take a big effort for Square to run with Sandhurst for four quarters.”
Monaghan said Square’s hopes of an upset rested on its key forwards dominating the game.
“Square need to get clear clearances ad give their forwards a chance. If Sandhurst has a weakness it’s holding big forwards. If one of Dylan Johnstone , Ryan Herring or Chris Ryan can kick a bag of goals they’re a chance,” Monaghan said.
Two-time premiership coach Wilson said Sandhurst’s healthy list was a major advantage.
“Golden Square will have a crack, but Sandhurst’s freshness and the experience of the past two grand finals will be telling in the end,’’ Wilson said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s closer than most people think, but I still expect Sandhurst to win.”
Wilson said the Dragons should hold an edge in the middle of the ground.
“Sandhurst has a dominant ruckman in Tim Martin and the addition of (Kristan) Height means they’re batting deeper in the midfield this year,’’ Wilson said.
“The biggest key for Sandhurst is they have no injuries. They can rotate heavily off the bench and keep their midfielders fresh.”
Kyneton was the last team to defeat Sandhurst this year.
Tigers’ coach Luke Beattie doesn’t expect Golden Square to break that run on Saturday.
“As we moved through the season I thought Golden Square was the best team, but I can’t go past Sandhurst on their home deck,’’ Beattie said.
“The big ground at the QEO suits Sandhurst perfectly and I question whether Golden Square will be able to keep up with them.
“I don’t think Golden Square’s second tier of players are strong enough to go with Sandhurst.”