READ MORE – Bendigo Football Netball League draw for 2019
ONE of the clear positives of the recently-released 2019 Bendigo Football-Netball League fixture is a far greater spread across the season of games involving the competition’s “big four”.
The “big four” being Eaglehawk, Golden Square, Strathfieldsaye and Sandhurst – the only clubs to have won senior premierships in the past 11 years, and also the only clubs that have won a senior final since 2014.
One of the glaring facets of this year’s BFNL competition was the fixturing in which there were only six of the 18 rounds that featured games in which the “big four” played against each other.
Those six rounds – 1, 4, 7, 10, 13 and 16 – each had two matches featuring “big four” teams playing against each other, which left the door open for plenty of lacklustre rounds in what was a competition where the season’s average margin was 65.9 points – the highest since 2008.
Next year’s fixture though has a far greater balance of matches involving the “big four” clubs, with no double-ups in any round.
Kicking off with the grand final rematch between Eaglehawk and Strathfieldsaye in round one, the 2019 fixture also features “big four” match-ups in rounds two, three, five, six and seven and in the correlating rounds in the second half of the season.
And given the way Gisborne is shaping up on the back of its ultra-productive recruiting campaign that has netted a host of gun one-point players back to the club, the Bulldogs are going to be involved in plenty of big games next year.
With Gisborne playing Strathfieldsaye in round four, Sandhurst in round eight and Golden Square in round nine – and again in the correlating second half matches – it’s every round next year that features either a “big four” club playing another, or a rejuvenated Gisborne that looks to have the capacity to go deep into September playing one of the “big four”.
READ MORE – Maroons to unfurl flag in round three
It all starts next year on Saturday, April 13 – 129 days time – that as well as the grand final rematch between the reigning premier Hawks and Storm to be played at Tannery Lane also features two of the competition’s new coaches going head-to-head when Rob Bennett’s Kangaroo Flat hosts Ash Connick’s Sandhurst at Dower Park.
At the QEO South Bendigo meets Maryborough, which has been buoyed by the return of Stewart Crameri after nine years in the AFL, and there’s a pair of country night games: Castlemaine v Gisborne and Kyneton v Golden Square.
Then follows the return of round two Good Friday games, which has been a massive winner for the BFNL when the timing of Easter has allowed since first introduced in 2004, regularly drawing big crowds and important early-season strong gates for the host clubs.
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