BENDIGO FOOTBALL LEAGUE - ROUND 9
MARYBOROUGH (0-8) v EAGLEHAWK (6-2) - 2.20pm Saturday at Maryborough.
Still chasing their first win since August of 2014, but better signs for the Magpies in the past fortnight, which included being in front at three quarter-time against Gisborne last week.
To have been in the game for as long as they were last week should give the Magpie players some impetus heading into this clash against the third-placed Hawks, who have won three in a row.
Last time: Eaglehawk 34.16 (220) d Maryborough 4.4 (28).
KANGAROO FLAT (2-6) v SOUTH BENDIGO (5-3) - 2.20pm Saturday at Kangaroo Flat.
The Bloods earned plenty of plaudits for their win over Sandhurst, but haven’t capitalised, with back-to-back losses to Strathfieldsaye (79) and Golden Square (9).
If the Bloods harbor hopes of not only getting to September but doing any damage, they need to bounce back strongly against a Roos side that has lost its past three by a combined 195 points.
Last time: Kangaroo Flat 17.6 (108) d South Bendigo 14.8 (92).
GISBORNE (3-5) v SANDHURST (5-2-1) - 2.20pm Saturday at Gisborne.
Two wins in a row for the Bulldogs against Maryborough (28) and Castlemaine (75), but a major step-up awaits against Sandhurst.
The Bulldogs need to bridge the gap between their best and worst. They pushed top side Strathfieldsaye to within five points in round four, yet last week spent much of the first three quarters trailing Maryborough.
For all that’s been said about the Dragons’ injury woes they are enduring, they are only half-a-game off second position.
Last time: Sandhurst 23.21 (159) d Gisborne 1.4 (10).
GOLDEN SQUARE (6-2) v CASTLEMAINE (1-7) - 2.20pm Saturday at Golden Square.
In what’s a competitive season among the top six, it’s the capacity to win the tight games against fellow finals contenders that are going to be so pivotal.
The Bulldogs have been able to that in the past fortnight against Kyneton (1 point) and South Bendigo (9) as part of a four-game winning streak that has elevated them into second.
Next up is a home game against Castlemaine, whose against of 1224 is 62 points more than Maryborough has conceded, which shows just what a massive hole the Maine has sunk into.
Last time: Golden Square 20.15 (135) d Castlemaine 15.9 (99).
STRATHFIELDSAYE (7-1) v KYNETON (4-3-1) - 2.20pm Saturday at Strathfieldsaye.
It’s hard to fathom that what is the No.1 scoring team in the competition in the Tigers, who are averaging 127 points for per game, aren’t in the top five.
But that’s the outcome of a draw and three losses by seven, two and one point among their past five games.
Their potency will be put to the test by the Storm, who are ranked No.1 for defence and in fine form with six wins in a row, the past four of which they have conceded just 46, 35, 42 and 16.
Last time: Kyneton 10.12 (72) d Strathfieldsaye 6.9 (45).
• ROUND 9 TIPS:
KIERAN ILES (35) – Eaglehawk (88), South Bendigo (22), Sandhurst (40), Golden Square (70), Strathfieldsaye (30).
ADAM BOURKE (33) – Eaglehawk (72), South Bendigo (18), Sandhurst (28), Golden Square (70), Strathfieldsaye (34).
RICHARD JONES (33) – Eaglehawk (89), South Bendigo (11), Sandhurst (39), Golden Square (77), Strathfieldsaye (34).
LUKE WEST (32) – Eaglehawk (75), South Bendigo (30), Sandhurst (42), Golden Square (90), Strathfieldsaye (24).
LODDON VALLEY - ROUND 11
NEWBRIDGE (7-2) v MITIAMO (5-4) - 2.15pm Saturday at Newbridge.
The Maroons aren’t belting opposition, but getting the job done with a 7-2 record and now have a two-game buffer inside the top three as they lay a strong platform for a tilt at their first flag since 2000.
One of the two losses the Maroons have suffered was to Mitiamo by 61 points in round two. The Maroons have improved a heck of a lot since then, while the Superoos seem to be treading water and struggling for consistency.
Last time: Mitiamo 13.11 (89) d Newbridge 4.4 (28).
BRIDGEWATER (6-3) v PYRAMID HILL (4-5) - 2.15pm Saturday at Bridgewater.
The Mean Machine have regained some spark and are starting to get that ominous look about them again, which could spell trouble for the Bulldogs, particularly if they can’t snap out of what have been poor first halves in their past two games.
Last time: Bridgewater 14.17 (101) d Pyramid Hill 9.2 (56).
CALIVIL UNITED (9-0) v INGLEWOOD (1-8) - 2.15pm Saturday at Raywood.
The Demons will tip their hat to the former Northern United on Saturday when they play their annual heritage game at Raywood.
A win would be the Demons’ 10th in a row, while the Blues will be buoyed by having shrugged the monkey off their back with their first victory of 2017 last week.
Last time: Calivil United 22.14 (146) d Inglewood 10.9 (69).
BEARS LAGOON-SERPENTINE (5-4) v MARONG (1-7) - 2.15pm Saturday at Serpentine.
Marong’s Damien Lock – who has never missed a finals series in his three-club coaching career – won’t like the look of the ladder that shows the Panthers stuck on the bottom, while the challenge is ahead of his Bears’ counterpart, Greg Gadsden, with his sliding side after a 5-1 start having now lost three in a row.
Last time: BL-Serpentine 17.20 (122) d Marong 9.5 (59).
• ROUND 11 TIPS:
ADAM BOURKE (31) – Newbridge (5), Bridgewater (8), Calivil United (56), BL-Serpentine (36).
LUKE WEST (31) – Newbridge (10), Bridgewater (34), Calivil United (54), BL-Serpentine (28).
KIERAN ILES (27) – Newbridge (6), Pyramid Hill (6), Calivil United (60), BL-Serpentine (27).
HEATHCOTE DISTRICT - RD 10
NORTH BENDIGO (8-0) v HEATHCOTE (3-5) - 2.15pm Saturday at North Bendigo.
A chance for the Saints to see how far they have come over the course of the season following the 187-point thrashing they copped off the Bulldogs in round one.
The rampaging Bulldogs begin the second half of the season 8-0 and with a massive percentage of 364.1 – one of only seven among the 450 AFL Victoria Country clubs that currently have a percentage above 300.
Last time: North Bendigo 28.35 (203) d Heathcote 2.4 (16).
COLBINABBIN (5-3) v LEITCHVILLE-GUNBOWER (7-1) - 2.15pm Saturday at Colbinabbin.
The Grasshoppers are third, but for their own belief must be desperate to claim a scalp having come up short in each of their encounters so far against North Bendigo, Leitchville and Huntly.
Saturday presents that opportunity with their return bout against the Bombers, who if it wasn’t for North Bendigo would easily be the league’s dominant force.
Last time: Leitchville-Gunbower 15.10 (100) d Colbinabbin 8.4 (52).
LBU (0-8) v MOUNT PLEASANT (2-6) - 2.15pm Saturday at Lockington.
The Cats haven’t won since round 13 last year.
And there may not be a better opportunity to break through for a 2017 victory than at home against the Blues, who booted 19 goals against the Cats in round one, but have only kicked 22 in their past four games.
Last time: Mount Pleasant 19.14 (128) d LBU 13.8 (86).
WHITE HILLS (5-3) v ELMORE (1-7) - 2.15pm Saturday at White Hills.
The Bloods travel to White Hills having lost their past six, but determined to put in a much better showing than the 98-point belting they copped off the Demons in round one.
The Demons are 5-3, but haven’t played with the same spark in their past four games as they did in their first four before their 21-day break last month.
Last time: White Hills 25.13 (163) d Elmore 9.11 (65).
• ROUND 10 TIPS:
KIERAN ILES (31) – North Bendigo (72), Leitchville (27), LBU (3), White Hills (32).
ADAM BOURKE (31) – North Bendigo (80), Leitchville (20), LBU (5), White Hills (32).
LUKE WEST (29) – North Bendigo (105), Leitchville (30), LBU (10), White Hills (36).