Familiar name back in black and white

CHANGE OF STRIPES: Braidon Blake, left, battles with Golden Square's Jon Coe in the 2016 Bendigo Football Netball League grand final. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

CHANGE OF STRIPES: Braidon Blake, left, battles with Golden Square's Jon Coe in the 2016 Bendigo Football Netball League grand final. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

When Derrick Filo was Castlemaine’s most dominant midfielder in the early 1990s he’d often stream out of the middle of the ground and hit forward Michael Blake lace out on the chest.

25 years later Filo is back at Castlemaine and he’s now coaching Blake’s son Braidon.

19-year-old Braidon has returned to his home club after being part of Sandhurst’s premiership team in 2016 and he will play against the Dragons for the first time on Saturday night when the Magpies travel to the QEO.

“It’s great to have Braidon back at Castlemaine,’’ Filo said on Friday.

“We’ve made a focus of stocking up on 17 to 21-year-old’s and to get a player of his quality back to his home club is big for us.

“At 19, his best footy is still five years or so down the track, but we’re very happy to have him because he can play forward, key back or in the ruck.

“There are some similarities between Braidon and Michael in the way they play. Thankfully, Braidon is a better kick than his old man. Michael couldn’t kick over a jam tin.”

Filo and the Magpies opened 2017 with a 39-point win over last year’s bottom side Maryborough.

While the victory was far from convincing, Filo said his young side would be better for the run.

“We had 11 players that didn’t play in the team last year, so you could see that it’s going to take five or six games for the players to get used to how each other plays,’’ Filo said.

“Obviously, this week is a step up in class against the reigning premier, but we’re really looking forward to it. A night game against Sandhurst on the ground where the finals are played is a great opportunity.

“We’ve got to get the right balance between defence and creating play ourselves. Sandhurst has a lot of talent, but we don’t want to be overly defensive in the way we play. We want to be positive.

“We want to kick goals and try to put them under some pressure.”

It’s a big night for Sandhurst, with the club to unfurl its 2016 reserves and senior premiership flags.

The Dragons, who lost to Strathfieldsaye by 13 points in round one, will be without star ruckman Tim Martin because of injury.

2004 premiership captain Wayne Mitrovic was scheduled to play his 100th senior game for the Dragons on Saturday night but he’s been sidelined by a groin strain.

Talented teen Billy Robertson is on Bendigo Pioneers duties.

Premiership forward Pascale Craig is back in the line-up, while key position players Arthur Rootsey and Matt Gray have been promoted from the reserves.

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