Weekend football preview, selections – BFNL, HDFNL, LVFNL

RED-HOT FORM: Reigning premier Strathfieldsaye has won its past 10 games by an average of 70 points in the BFNL. Picture: ADAM BOURKE
RED-HOT FORM: Reigning premier Strathfieldsaye has won its past 10 games by an average of 70 points in the BFNL. Picture: ADAM BOURKE

• BENDIGO LEAGUE – ROUND 12

KANGAROO FLAT v SANDHURST

1.50pm Saturday at Kangaroo Flat.

The Dragons regained their spot in the top five last round with a win over South Bendigo that got their ledger back in the positive at 6-5.

Win number seven – and potentially the chance to move a game clear in the top five – presents for the Dragons against the young Roos, who will be aiming for a far better showing than earlier in the year against Sandhurst when they kicked just one goal in a 143-point loss.

Last time: Sandhurst 23.17 (155) d Kangaroo Flat 1.6 (12).

Since 1995: Sandhurst 37; Kangaroo Flat 13.

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GOLDEN SQUARE v CASTLEMAINE

2.20pm Saturday at Golden Square.

The Bulldogs have won their past three since their mid-season bump when they lost two in a row to Gisborne and Strathfieldsaye in which they conceded a combined 35 goals.

But they have returned to what they have been best known for under coach Bernie Haberman’s tenure and that’s strangling the opposition having given up just 21 goals in their past three games – which includes victories over top-five sides Kyneton and Sandhurst.

Following another heavy loss last round against Eaglehawk, the Magpies’ losing streak has hit double figures.

Last time: Golden Square 22.14 (146) d Castlemaine 2.9 (21).

Since 1995: Golden Square 34; Castlemaine 14.

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GISBORNE v EAGLEHAWK

2.20pm Saturday at Gisborne.

If the Hawks under-estimated the Bulldogs last time they met, that won’t be happening again on Saturday.

While the Hawks got over the line by what was a comfortable 47 points back in round three, they had earlier been 26 points down at half-time after the Bulldogs attacked them with two quarters of high-pressure football.

The Bulldogs must bring that same level of intensity again in the return bout, but sustain it for four quarters if they are to make up for their missed opportunity of earlier against the Hawks.

Last time: Eaglehawk 15.18 (108) d Gisborne 9.7 (61).

Head to Head: Gisborne 24; Eaglehawk 24.

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SOUTH BENDIGO v MARYBOROUGH

2.20pm Saturday at Harry Trott Oval.

Four losses in a row for the Bloods has seemingly put pay to a return to the finals in the club’s 125th anniversary season, with South Bendigo now 10 points outside the top five.

Next up is a clash at Harry Trott Oval against the Magpies who need to make more of their scoring opportunities having kicked 5.9, 11.17, 6.8 and 7.11 – a combined 29.45 – in their past four games.

Last time: South Bendigo 15.15 (105) d Maryborough 9.8 (62).

Since 1995: South Bendigo 36; Maryborough 14.

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STRATHFIELDSAYE v KYNETON

2.20pm Saturday at Strathfieldsaye.

Match of the round between first and third.

The Storm continue to answer all challenges thrown at them – the latest a 75-point win over Gisborne in what was the seventh game in a row as part of an overall winning streak of 10 where they have outscored their opposition in all four quarters, which highlights the no-let-up mentality of the reigning premiers.

While much of the talk has centred around the Storm and Eaglehawk, the Tigers haven’t done a lot wrong with just two losses and they should relish the wide expanses of Tannery Lane.

The Tigers let an opportunity slip against the Storm earlier in the season when they had been in front at three quarter-time and lost that they will be hungry to make amends for.

Last time: Strathfieldsaye 11.13 (79) d Kyneton 8.14 (62).

Head to Head: Strathfieldsaye 15; Kyneton 2.

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• HEATHCOTE DISTRICT LEAGUE – ROUND 14

ELMORE v WHITE HILLS

2.15pm Saturday at Elmore.

The only win either of these teams have between them was back in round five when the Demons overcame a 30-point quarter-time deficit to get up by 32 points over the Bloods.

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: Elmore coach Danny Brewster. The winless Bloods host fellow battler White Hills on Saturday. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: Elmore coach Danny Brewster. The winless Bloods host fellow battler White Hills on Saturday. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

In what has been a struggle of a season at least they can both go into this game optimistic of a favourable result.

Last time: White Hills 14.12 (96) d Elmore 10.4 (64).

Since 1995: Elmore 27; White Hills 20; Drawn 1.

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NORTH BENDIGO v LBU

2.15pm Saturday at North Bendigo.

The Cats have the momentum of three wins in a row behind them, but awaiting them is the hottest team in the competition in the rampaging Bulldogs, who have strung together nine victories on the trot – all by at least five goals.

Last time: North Bendigo 17.12 (114) d LBU 11.12 (78).

Head to Head: LBU 22; North Bendigo 17.

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COLBINABBIN v MOUNT PLEASANT

2.15pm Saturday at Colbinabbin.

The Grasshoppers will go in as warm favourites, but the Blues should take some belief from their round five game against Colbinabbin when they were in the contest until late in the final term before going down by 13 points.

Both teams are on the rebound from defeats last week, with the Grasshoppers’ loss to Leitchville-Gunbower costing them their position in the top three.

Last time: Colbinabbin 12.15 (87) d Mount Pleasant 10.14 (74).

Since 1995: Colbinabbin 36; Mount Pleasant 24.

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HEATHCOTE v HUNTLY

2.15pm Saturday at Heathcote.

Two teams coming off wins last week. The Hawks worked their way back into the top three with their victory over Elmore – albeit with some injury concerns – and the challenge now is to stay there to have the safety net of a double chance come finals.

The Saints will crack in at home, but it’s tough to see them causing an upset against an opponent they haven’t beaten since 2011.

Last time: Huntly 20.20 (140) d Heathcote 5.7 (37).

Since 1995: Heathcote 25; Huntly 24.

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• LODDON VALLEY LEAGUE – ROUND 13

MARONG v NEWBRIDGE

2.15pm Saturday at Marong.

Shapes as a tough day for the Panthers, who have managed scores of just 26, 43 and 38 in their past three games and now come up against the ladder-leading Maroons, who are the No.1 ranked attacking team.

Last time: Newbridge 17.7 (109) d Marong 13.6 (84).

Since 1995: Newbridge 29; Marong 20.

NOTE – Entry at Marong will be through the gate on the Bendigo side entrance as opposed to the usual creek dip entry.

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INGLEWOOD v MAIDEN GULLY YCW EAGLES

2.15pm Saturday at Inglewood.

The Eagles will be smarting from their loss to Mitiamo last week that cost them top spot on the ladder and also cut their buffer inside the top three to just one game.

After the Eagles’ previous two losses this year against Calivil United and Bears-Lagoon Serpentine they bounced back with strong responses the following round, which coach Wayne Mitrovic will no doubt be expecting against a Blues side that has lost its past eight games.

Last time: Maiden Gully YCW 21.21 (147) d Inglewood 9.5 (59).

Since 1995: Maiden Gully YCW 38; Inglewood 10.

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BRIDGEWATER v CALIVIL UNITED

2.15pm Saturday at Bridgewater.

Six rounds left in the season and the Mean Machine are two games outside the top five – not a lot of wriggle room left for Bridgewater if it’s to figure in the finals.

The Mean Machine has won just four games this season, one of which was a 31-point victory over Calivil United in the round four grand final rematch.

MOMENTUM BUILDING: Calivil United's Henry Miller. The Demons have won their past four games and are in the Loddon Valley top three. Picture: ADAM BOURKE

MOMENTUM BUILDING: Calivil United's Henry Miller. The Demons have won their past four games and are in the Loddon Valley top three. Picture: ADAM BOURKE

But as their four wins in a row that now has Calivil United in the top three would attest, the Demons are playing much better footy now than that first meeting.

Last time: Bridgewater 13.8 (86) d Calivil United 8.7 (55).

Since 1995: Calivil United 25; Bridgewater 24; Drawn 1.

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MITIAMO v PYRAMID HILL

2.15pm Saturday at Mitiamo.

Clash of fourth v fifth and an opportunity for the winner to take a massive step towards locking up a finals berth given sixth-placed Bears-Lagoon-Serpentine (20 points) has the bye.

A Pyramid Hill win would give the Bulldogs (28) a three-game buffer inside the top five, while the Superoos (24) can open up a two-game gap on the Bears if they get over the line at home.

Last time: Pyramid Hill 11.7 (73) d Mitiamo 8.7 (55).

Since 1995: Mitiamo 30; Pyramid Hill 20.