BFNL: Eaglehawk and Strathfieldsaye hard to split

ONE IN, ALL IN: Strathfieldsaye celebrates a first quarter goal against South Bendigo. Picture: ADAM BOURKE
ONE IN, ALL IN: Strathfieldsaye celebrates a first quarter goal against South Bendigo. Picture: ADAM BOURKE

They both have seven wins and one loss and they're both playing some brilliant football.

The only thing separating Eaglehawk and Strathfieldsaye at the moment is the Hawks' superior percentage.

South Bendigo coach Brad Childs has watched the Hawks and Storm up close in the past three weeks and he has a slight leaning to Strathfieldsaye.

The Storm defeated South Bendigo by 87 points on Saturday, while the Hawks had a 46-point victory over the Bloods on May 26.

"Strathfieldsaye and Eaglehawk are on par with their contested footy and clean ball use around stoppages, but Strathfieldsaye probably spread and link up a bit better than Eaglehawk on the outside,'' Childs said.

"The speed of their ball movement when they're out probably puts them slightly ahead of Eaglehawk at the moment."

South Bendigo coach Brady Childs.

South Bendigo coach Brady Childs.

Strathfieldsaye's contested ball work, slick foot passes and defensive structures had the Bloods on the back foot from the start on Saturday. The Storm kicked six goals to none in the first 20 minutes.

"They're all on the same page. As soon as they win the ball they spread,'' Childs said of the Storm.

"They're very well structured and they work really hard to set up defensively.

"You're going to have to play very good footy to beat them."

The Bloods got through Saturday's game against the Storm injury-free, but key defender Daniel Nalder will front the BFNL tribunal this week after being reported for a high bump on Lachlan Gill.

South Bendigo can't afford to lose him ahead of Saturday's crucial game against Gisborne at the QEO.

“I don’t think our form was that bad (on Saturday),’’ Childs said.

“We didn’t pack it in and we had some good patches.” 

A South Bendigo win over Gisborne will keep the Bloods half a game outside of the top five at the halfway mark of the season.

A loss would put the club under pressure to stay in touch with the top five ahead of back-to-back games against finals contenders Kyneton and Sandhurst.

Round nine fixture in the BFNL: South Bendigo v Gisborne at the QEO, Golden Square v Kyneton at Wade Street, Kangaroo Flat v Strathfieldsaye at Dower Park, Castlemaine v Sandhurst at Camp Reserve, Maryborough v Eaglehawk at Princes Park.