Coaches favour Dogs to end flag drought

TEAM TO BEAT: North Bendigo will be aiming to end a 37-year premiership drought in the finals.
TEAM TO BEAT: North Bendigo will be aiming to end a 37-year premiership drought in the finals.

NORTH Bendigo has gone 37 years without a winning a senior premiership, but three of the four coaches whose sides have bowed out of the Heathcote District Football League flag race are tipping the Bulldogs to finally end the drought next month.

The HDFL finals begin on Saturday, with North Bendigo, three-time defending premier Lockington-Bamawm United, Leitchville-Gunbower, Mount Pleasant and White Hills to fight for premiership glory over the next four weeks.

The Bulldogs proved themselves the superior team of the home and away season, finishing two games clear at the top of the ladder with a 15-1 record.

"I'm a bit old-school in that I reckon the team that finishes on top usually goes on to win the flag," Colbinabbin coach Phil Morgan said.

"North's form can't be questioned, and you look back to a couple of weeks ago when they trailed Lockington all game, but were able to find a way to win, I reckon that puts a bit of icing on their cake."

Colbinabbin missed the finals by just 2.5 per cent, with one of the losses that most stings the Grasshoppers their two-point defeat to the Bulldogs in round four that kickstarted what is now a run of 14 wins in a row for North Bendigo.

The Bulldogs' home and away season included a pair of 100-point wins over Heathcote, with Saints' coach Grant Ford also tipping a North Bendigo premiership.

"It's very open, but my tip after seeing them play close to full strength is North Bendigo," Ford said.

"They have so many big blokes, have a lot of speed and are just so poised through the midfield with a lot of players who can go through there."

Elmore coach Stephen Arthur also favours the Bulldogs to emerge from the finals series with the cup.

"North Bendigo plays a hard, tough brand of footy, but is also a really strong attacking side and when you put those two things together, it makes them very tough to beat," Arthur said.

"And they will be very hungry as well."

Huntly coach Stacy Fiske is bucking the trend and tipping LBU to win a fourth flag in a row.

"You can't go past the experience that LBU has... they know how to win in September," said Fiske, who lost to the Cats in last year's grand final.

"They have been there and done it before, but it's going to be very tight between them and North Bendigo."


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