A RECAP of the three meetings already this season between Heathcote District league grand finalists Leitchville-Gunbower and North Bendigo.
• ROUND 7 – North Bendigo 23.13 (151) d Leitchville 12.11 (83).
Another week, another big win for North Bendigo that did nothing to shut down the talk that the premiership cup should already be engraved with the Bulldogs name on it.
The Bombers were already established again as the Bulldogs’ biggest challenger, but they proved no match for North Bendigo in round seven at Atkins Street.
Both teams went into the game with 5-0 records, but it was the Bulldogs who prevailed by 68 points to hand the Bombers their biggest loss since 2012.
“Everything we spoke about that we wanted to do within the game we did, so that was pleasing,” Bulldogs coach Rob Bennett said.
North Bendigo’s 23 goals were spread between 15 players, while it remains the only loss the Bombers have suffered this year.
Best – North Bendigo: Ash Craig, B. Strange, B. Herdman. Leitchville: L. Pollock, J. Dye, A. Decicco.
• ROUND 16 – Leitchville 13.13 (91) d North Bendigo 6.5 (41).
Another non-contest between the two power sides, this time the result the other way around as the Bombers won by 50 points at Gunbower.
The Bulldogs were missing a host of key players from their side and the Bombers took advantage as they dished out North Bendigo’s biggest defeat since 2013.
North Bendigo led 2.1 to 0.2 at quarter-time, before the Bombers kicked 8.8 to 0.3 in the middle two quarters to end the Bulldogs’ 16-game winning streak that stretched back to last year’s finals.
“We know North had a number of players out, but they still had their best midfielders playing and it was pleasing we were able to win that battle,” Bombers coach Matt Hawken said.
Best – Leitchville: M. Ladson, L. Prout, R. Prendergast. North Bendigo: Z. Alford, T. Findlay, N. Waterson.
• SECOND SEMI-FINAL – Leitchville 14.13 (97) d North Bendigo 12.15 (87).
This ripper of a contest certainly made up for their two one-sided home and away meetings.
The Bombers looked to have control of the second semi-final at Lockington when they led by 22 points at three quarter-time.
However, the Bulldogs came out firing in the final term with the first nine scoring shots of the quarter, in which they kicked 3.6 to grab a two point lead.
That was still the margin at the 24-minute mark, but the Bombers rallied against the tide of play, kicking the last two goals of the game through best-on-ground Daniel Coates and Ryan Prendergast to finish 10-point victors to go through to the grand final.
“We had to really fight hard today and we’re obviously really pleased to get over the line with those couple of late goals,” Hawken said.
Bennett lamented the lack of midfield pressure from the Bulldogs.
Best – Leitchville: D. Coates, J. McEwen, M. Ladson. North Bendigo: J. Ford, R. Gow, N. Waterson.