Weekend football preview, selections - BFNL, HDFNL, LVFNL

RIVALS: Strathfieldsaye hosts Golden Square in a clash of first versus fourth in the Bendigo league at Tannery Lane on Saturday. Picture: DARREN HOWE
RIVALS: Strathfieldsaye hosts Golden Square in a clash of first versus fourth in the Bendigo league at Tannery Lane on Saturday. Picture: DARREN HOWE

RELATED – FIVE-GAME FORMLINES

• BENDIGO LEAGUE – ROUND 16

KANGAROO FLAT v SOUTH BENDIGO

2.20pm Saturday at Kangaroo Flat.

Both teams are on the rebound from defeats to top-five opponents last week.

The Roos will be hungry to beat a team above them on the ladder and their competitive effort against long-time nemesis Golden Square last week should give them some belief to take into their match at home against the Bloods, who have the likes of Liam Bartels, Isiah Miller and Brody Haddow all in top form.

Last time: South Bendigo 14.17 (101) d Kangaroo Flat 8.8 (56).

Since 1995: South Bendigo 33; Kangaroo Flat 16; Drawn 1.

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EAGLEHAWK v SANDHURST

2.20pm Saturday at Eaglehawk.

If their round seven encounter at the QEO that was decided by one point is anything to go by, this will be another belter between second and third on the ladder.

The clash pits the form team of the competition in the Dragons, who have won five in a row, against another quality team in the Hawks, who have won their past 16 games at home.

The Dragons’ five-game winning streak has been built on strangling their opposition with pressure and that has been reflective in their average score against during their streak being a mere 41.

Although, their conversion hasn’t been at the same level, with their tally of 67.93 during their winning run just 39.3 per cent.

The Hawks have won their past three in which they have trailed at quarter-time in each match, but then gained the momentum with dominant second terms – 44-14 against South Bendigo, 55-6 against Kyneton and 38-13 against Golden Square.

Last time: Eaglehawk 10.10 (70) d Sandhurst 10.9 (69).

Since 1995: Sandhurst 30; Eaglehawk 21; Drawn 1.

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GISBORNE v CASTLEMAINE

2.20pm Saturday at Gisborne.

The task at hand is simple for the Bulldogs – they just need to control what they can and take care of their own backyard by winning to keep their finals pulse beating.

They are six points outside the top five, but should comfortably bank another four with a home game against the struggling Castlemaine, which has lost 14 in a row and looks headed for its first wooden spoon since 2012.

Last time: Gisborne 26.19 (175) d Castlemaine 5.5 (35).

Head to Head: Gisborne 29; Castlemaine 8.

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KYNETON v MARYBOROUGH

2.20pm Saturday at Kyneton.

The Tigers have fallen from third to fifth off the back of a past four games in which their only victory has been by one point over Gisborne – a result that had it gone the other way, which it so easily could have, would have had Kyneton out of the top five and the Bulldogs in.

Expect the Tigers to bounce back against Maryborough and if so, there’s the possibility they could once again have their double chance destiny, which they surrendered last week, back in their own hands.

Last time: Kyneton 14.15 (99) d Maryborough 8.6 (54).

Since 1995: Maryborough 29; Kyneton 19.

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STRATHFIELDSAYE v GOLDEN SQUARE

2.20pm Saturday at Strathfieldsaye.

After scrapping their way to a 14-point win over Kangaroo Flat last week, the Bulldogs will need to find another gear or two if they are to challenge ladder-leader Strathfieldsaye at the Storm’s Tanney Lane fortress.

While the Bulldogs are facing their injury challenges, particularly in the front half, the Storm are starting to roll key players back into the side and with their class on every line and better depth across their 22 should move a step closer to locking up a top-of-the-ladder finish.

Last time: Strathfieldsaye 20.14 (134) d Golden Square 10.8 (68).

Head to Head: Golden Square 13; Strathfieldsaye 12.

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• HEATHCOTE DISTRICT LEAGUE – ROUND 18

LEITCHVILLE-GUNBOWER v LBU

2.15pm Saturday at Gunbower.

Last round of the season and for the Cats – who have re-signed coach Kahl Oliver for next season – they are locked into the elimination final against Colbinabbin whatever way the result goes.

However, there’s still the possibility that the Bombers can grab top spot if they were to win and North Bendigo slips up against Colbinabbin.

Last time: Leitchville-Gunbower 17.9 (111) d LBU 6.7 (43).

Head to Head: LBU 11; Leitchville-Gunbower 8.

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COLBINABBIN v NORTH BENDIGO

2.15pm Saturday at Colbinabbin.

The Grasshoppers haven’t been able to beat any of their fellow finalists Leitchville-Gunbower (lost 29), Huntly (28) and LBU (2) in the second half of the season and that’s why the double chance has eluded them.

FINALS BOUND: Colbinabbin has a tough task at home on Saturday against the red-hot North Bendigo in the Heathcote District league. Picture: DARREN HOWE

FINALS BOUND: Colbinabbin has a tough task at home on Saturday against the red-hot North Bendigo in the Heathcote District league. Picture: DARREN HOWE

They get another crack at a finalist in the red-hot North Bendigo, which has won 12 in a row by an average of 100 points and needs one more win to sew up top spot.

Not surprisingly given the way he has his team playing the Bulldogs have re-signed coach Matt Dillon for 2019.

Last time: North Bendigo 14.13 (97) d Colbinabbin 10.6 (66).

Head to Head: Colbinabbin 27; North Bendigo 25.

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HEATHCOTE v ELMORE

2.15pm Saturday at Heathcote.

Last chance for Elmore to avoid a winless 2018, while the Saints look to have hit the wall late in the season having lost their past four by an average of 102 points.

Tough year for both clubs, but the chance presents to finish the season on a high.

Last time: Heathcote 12.25 (97) d Elmore 11.9 (75).

Since 1995: Elmore 31; Heathcote 22; Drawn 1.

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MOUNT PLEASANT v WHITE HILLS

2.15pm Saturday at Toolleen.

Quite simply the winner of this match will finish the season in sixth position, which would be a vast improvement for the Blues on their wooden-spoon of last year and a credible effort from White Hills given how young the Demons have been.

Last time: Mount Pleasant 13.5 (83) d White Hills 11.10 (76).

Since 1995: Mount Pleasant 39; White Hills 13.

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• LODDON VALLEY LEAGUE – ROUND 17

CALIVIL UNITED v NEWBRIDGE

2.15pm Saturday at Calivil.

From winning the flag one year to missing the finals the next – it hasn’t happened in the Loddon Valley league since YCW in 2003.

But it’s the position Calivil United has put itself in after a fourth loss this year by a single-figure margin last week to Pyramid Hill has the Demons out of the five with two rounds to play.

And it doesn’t get any easier against the ladder-leading Newbridge that is on a six-game winning streak.

Last time: Newbridge 13.10 (88) d Calivil United 11.7 (73).

Since 1995: Calivil United 37; Newbridge 17.

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INGLEWOOD v MARONG

2.15pm Saturday at Inglewood.

The bottom two sides lock horns where the formlines of both don’t make for pretty reading – the Panthers have lost seven in a row, while the Blues have lost 12 on the trot.

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: Inglewood's Shane Harris. The Blues have the chance to end a 12-game losing streak against Marong on Saturday. Picture: ADAM BOURKE

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: Inglewood's Shane Harris. The Blues have the chance to end a 12-game losing streak against Marong on Saturday. Picture: ADAM BOURKE

With both teams sensing a genuine winning chance, expect a desperate contest.

Last time: Marong 14.13 (97) d Inglewood 11.12 (78).

Since 1995: Marong 32; Inglewood 14; Drawn 1.

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BRIDGEWATER v BL-SERPENTINE

2.15pm Saturday at Bridgewater.

The Bears have the opportunity to deliver the final nail in the coffin of Bridgewater’s finals hopes with a victory that would also move them one step closer to securing a top-five finish.

It’s the absolute last roll of the dice for the Mean Machine, who will need a vastly improved showing on their previous outing against the Bears when they were belted by 84 points in round eight.

Last time: BL-Serpentine 23.14 (152) d Bridgewater 10.8 (68).

Since 1995: BL-Serpentine 27; Bridgewater 25.

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MAIDEN GULLY YCW EAGLES v PYRAMID HILL

2.15pm Saturday at Maiden Gully.

There is the likelihood that this will be a preview of the qualifying final in a fortnight.

The Eagles and Bulldogs sit second and third on the ladder, both with the double chances locked away in what has been superb turnarounds after neither made the finals last year.

Will be interesting to see if both teams keep a few tricks up their sleeve ahead of their likely finals meeting, and just who will land a psychological blow?

Last time: Maiden Gully YCW 20.9 (129) d Pyramid Hill 12.12 (84).

Since 1995: Pyramid Hill 30; Maiden Gully YCW 19.

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