Final word: Big guns collide

Sandhurst midfielder Ryan Maldenis has had a superb season. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Sandhurst midfielder Ryan Maldenis has had a superb season. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

AB: Westy, I’m not sure which game I want to go to this weekend.

Sandhurst versus Golden Square at the Q or Gisborne versus Strathfieldsaye at the Graveyard?

They’re hard to split.

LW: I’d throw Kangaroo Flat v Kyneton into that mix as well if you’re looking at games that are hard to split.

Hard to go past the clash between Sandhurst and Golden Square at Headquarters.

A promoter would bill it as the champ versus the challenger.

Sandhurst has taken all before it so far in its seven convincing wins, but I’m really keen to see how the defending champions Golden Square shape up against the Dragons.

After a 2-3 start to the season, the Bulldogs are just starting to get a bit of a look about them in the way they dismantled Eaglehawk and Maryborough in their past two wins.

But right at the moment there’s no bigger test in the BFL than the Dragons.

I’d be interested to ask Bulldogs coach Nick Carter how he feels his side is placed to take it up to the Dragons compared to, say, three weeks ago.

AB: You can’t tip against Sandhurst, but the one area of the game I’m most interested in is the midfield battle.

The Dragons’ midfield and running half-backs have tore opponents apart this year.

This Saturday is their biggest test. When they played Strathfieldsaye and Gisborne both teams were missing key midfielders.

Square has basically its full repertoire - Rosa, Geary, Jones, Lowry and Daley - available. Rick Ladson is the obvious omission.

It will be great to see that quintet go head-to-head with Maldenis, Stagg, Holmes, Coghlan and O’Meara.

LW: You know with Golden Square they will give an honest effort. It sounds basic, but the Bulldogs’ ability to apply early scoreboard pressure and make sure they’re in the game is going to be crucial.

In Sandhurst’s past three wins, in particular, the Dragons have had the contest killed at half-time when they have led by margins of 46, 91 and 67 points at the main break. 

That has also been a trait of Strathfieldsaye in its past four wins in a row, with the Storm having been an average of 50 points up at half-time in those victories.

Plenty of interest to see how Gisborne responds from last round’s 73-point hiding against Sandhurst when it hosts the Storm at Gardiner Reserve.

Hopefully for the sake of the competition, both Gisborne and Golden Square give strong accounts of themselves this weekend against the two top sides.

AB: I love the way Gisborne plays its footy, but the Dogs just don’t have the class at this stage to go with the Storm over four quarters.

I see in our footy tipping that you were the only one to tip Kyneton to defeat Kangaroo Flat.

I thought about it very hard, but gave a slight edge to the Roos on their home turf.

If the Tigers win they probably grab the favourite tag for fifth spot come September.

Massive game for both clubs.

LW: Sure is.

There hasn’t been much on the line over the past 15 or so years whenever these two clubs have met.

But with both the Tigers and Roos likely to be among the sides battling it out for fifth spot later in the year, this game is massive for both teams in what’s a genuine 50-50 contest.

Elsewhere, it has been a while since Castlemaine beat South Bendigo.

Actually, I can still recall the last time the Magpies beat the Bloods.

It was at the QEO on the same day my sister Rebecca had her 21st birthday.

Next month my sister turns 30, so that shows just how long it has been between drinks for the Magpies against the Bloods.

Surely, playing at home and the Bloods only having won one game so far, the Magpies should fancy their chances of beating South for the first time since 2005.

AB: I’m surprised you can remember your sister’s 21st. 

Usually after two or three pots you’re as useful as a screen door on a submarine.

You must have been on the lights that night.


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