BENDIGO FOOTBALL LEAGUE - ROUND 5
KANGAROO FLAT (1-3) v CASTLEMAINE (1-3) - 2.20pm Saturday at Kangaroo Flat.
Both teams have one win apiece, but the Roos’ percentage of 128.5 compared to the Magpies’ 34.7 shows why Kangaroo Flat will be warm favourites at home to make it two in a row.
The Magpies have kicked scores of just 47, 47 and 15 in their past three games and desperately need to ignite their season.
Last time: Kangaroo Flat 21.15 (141) d Castlemaine 10.12 (72).
SOUTH BENDIGO (3-1) v KYNETON (3-0-1) - 2.20pm Saturday at Harry Trott Oval.
South Bendigo v Kyneton in a top-of-the-ladder clash – such billing hasn’t happened since the mid-90s.
Kyneton has shown plenty in the first month to suggest it will be good enough to be among the top echelon of teams, while this game will give more of an indication on the Bloods.
The Bloods are 3-1 and with the league’s best percentage of 222.3, with their three wins so far having come against the bottom three teams.
Two of the premier mid-sized forwards in the Bloods’ Kaiden Antonowicz and Tigers’ Ben Weightman, who have 52 goals between them, in action should be worth the price of admission.
Last time: South Bendigo 13.11 (89) d Kyneton 12.11 (83).
GOLDEN SQUARE (2-2) v GISBORNE (1-3) - 2.20pm Saturday at Golden Square.
Their two meetings last year were big wins to Square by 151 and 118 points.
Don’t expect a margin anywhere like that this time given Gisborne has already shown to be a far more competitive outfit this year and should take a scalp or two, while Golden Square’s season scores of 50, 79, 54 and 58 haven’t been helped by woeful inaccuracy.
Last time: Golden Square 31.14 (200) d Gisborne 7.7 (49).
SANDHURST (2-1-1) v EAGLEHAWK (3-1) - 2.20pm Saturday at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Having escaped with the two points from a draw with Kyneton last round, another tough assignment against a likely challenger awaits the Dragons, who had seven inter-league players last week.
The Hawks bounced back from a disappointing result against Strathfieldsaye to defeat arch-rival Golden Square by eight points last round, despite going to sleep in the third quarter.
Another lapse again on Saturday and the Hawks may not be so fortunate against an opponent they have lost their past five against.
Last time: Sandhurst 16.16 (112) d Eaglehawk 12.8 (80).
STRATHFIELDSAYE (3-1) v MARYBOROUGH (0-4) - 2.20pm Saturday at Strathfieldsaye.
The Magpies have lost their past four games at Strathfieldsaye by margins of 119, 136, 141 and 98 points.
Given their struggles in particular on bigger grounds, this looks like another long day ahead for the battling Magpies.
Last time: Strathfieldsaye 21.15 (141) d Maryborough 8.7 (55).
• ROUND 5 TIPS:
KIERAN ILES (17) – Kangaroo Flat (22), South Bendigo (3), Golden Square (21), Sandhurst (11), Strathfieldsaye (111).
LUKE WEST (16) – Kangaroo Flat (36), Kyneton (15), Golden Square (6), Sandhurst (21), Strathfieldsaye (120).
ADAM BOURKE (16) – Kangaroo Flat (18), South Bendigo (5), Golden Square (11), Sandhurst (19), Strathfieldsaye (102).
RICHARD JONES (16) – Kangaroo Flat (21), Kyneton (17), Golden Square (9), Sandhurst (28), Strathfieldsaye (94).
LODDON VALLEY - ROUND 7
MARONG (1-4) v CALIVIL UNITED (5-0) - 2.15pm Saturday at Marong.
The 5-0 Demons are the competition pace-setters.
Bryce Curnow has been up and about with 16 goals in the past three games for the Demons, while another recruit to the competition, Jarrod Fitzpatrick, has been starring for Marong, which is coming off a one-point loss to Maiden Gully YCW.
Last time: Calivil United 10.17 (77) d Marong 9.10 (64).
BRIDGEWATER (4-2) v NEWBRIDGE (3-2) - 2.15pm Saturday at Bridgewater.
The Mean Machine are on the rebound from a 17-point loss to Calivil United.
Not since rounds 16 and 17 of 2009 has Bridgewater lost two games in a row.
The Maroons, coming off a 21-day break, need to claim a scalp to enhance their reputation given they have come up short in their two big tests so far against Mitiamo and Calivil United.
Last time: Bridgewater 16.18 (114) d Newbridge 7.9 (51).
PYRAMID HILL (2-3) v INGLEWOOD (0-6) - 2.15pm Saturday at Pyramid Hill.
The Blues haven’t beaten Pyramid Hill since 2007, with the Bulldogs winning their past 19 encounters by an average of 90 points.
Given the Blues are winless after six rounds and the Bulldogs have the confidence of a victory over Mitiamo last round, hard to see there being a different result this time.
Last time: Pyramid Hill 14.9 (93) d Inglewood 7.7 (49).
MAIDEN GULLY YCW EAGLES (2-3) v BEARS LAGOON-SERPENTINE (4-1) - 2.15pm Saturday at Maiden Gully
Big chance for the Bears to improve to 5-1 – who’d have thought that at the start of the season – but the Eagles coming off a one-point win over Marong and competitive showing against Bridgewater in their past two games should be no pushover.
Last time: Maiden Gully YCW 19.5 (119) d BL-Serpentine 15.8 (98).
• ROUND 7 TIPS:
ADAM BOURKE (19) – Calivil United (32), Bridgewater (19), Pyramid Hill (38), BL-Serpentine (20).
LUKE WEST (19) – Calivil United (40), Bridgewater (24), Pyramid Hill (45), BL-Serpentine (26).
KIERAN ILES (16) – Calivil United (30), Bridgewater (30), Pyramid Hill (42), BL-Serpentine (21).
HEATHCOTE DISTRICT - ROUND 6
LEITCHVILLE-GUNBOWER (4-0) v HUNTLY (2-2) - 2.15pm Saturday at Leitchville.
After a sluggish start, two wins in a row have the Hawks in the top five ahead of a huge test against the Bombers at Leitchville.
Are the Hawks well and truly back in business, or will it be a case of two steps forward, one step back?
Plenty to like about the Bombers so far. They are injecting kids into the side, making the most of their chances in front of goal with a conversion rate of 65.1 percent, and defensively have conceded scores of just 52, 44, 38 and 41.
Last time: Leitchville-Gunbower 15.13 (103) d Huntly 6.9 (45) - 2016 second semi-final.
COLBINABBIN (3-2) v NORTH BENDIGO (4-0) - 2.15pm Saturday at Colbinabbin.
Bulldogs’ coach Rob Bennett won’t need any reminding that the Grasshoppers have caused North their fair share of headaches in recent seasons.
Of the six losses the Bulldogs have suffered in their past 44 games, three have been to the Grasshoppers.
The Grasshoppers will want to kick much better than last round’s 10.19 against Huntly to be any chance of claiming the Bulldogs’ scalp again.
Last time: North Bendigo 16.8 (104) d Colbinabbin 11.13 (79) - 2016 first semi-final.
LBU (0-5) v WHITE HILLS (3-1) - 2.15pm Saturday at Lockington.
Plenty of rest for the Demons, who are coming off a 21-day break against a Cats team still winless.
The past two times these teams have met at Lockington the Demons have scraped home by just two points.
Last time: White Hills 14.11 (95) d LBU 14.9 (93).
MOUNT PLEASANT (2-2) v HEATHCOTE (1-4) - 2.15pm Saturday at Toolleen.
The annual Cliff and Peter White Shield, held by Mount Pleasant, is up for grabs again between the Blues and Saints.
After a fighting win over Elmore last round it’s a golden chance for the Blues to win two in a row for only the second time since 2014.
Last time: Mount Pleasant 15.16 (106) d Heathcote 9.13 (67).
• ROUND 6 TIPS:
ADAM BOURKE (16) – Leitchville-Gunbower (24), North Bendigo (38), White Hills (30), Mt Pleasant (8).
LUKE WEST (16) – Leitchville-Gunbower (37), North Bendigo (32), White Hills (42), Mt Pleasant (33).
KIERAN ILES (15) – Leitchville-Gunbower (30), North Bendigo (27), White Hills (35), Mt Pleasant (27).