Related: Saturday Scoreboard
Four weeks into the BFNL season and it's hard to see the top five changing.
Even at this early point of the season Strathfieldsaye, Gisborne, Eaglehawk, Sandhurst and Golden Square look to have a considerable class edge on the rest of the pack.
Strathfieldsaye reinforced its status as the BFNL's number one seed in 2019 when it defeated Gisborne by 21 points to become the only unbeaten team one month into the season.
Sandhurst saw off a gallant Maryborough by 45 points at the QEO, Eaglehawk thumped Castlemaine by 121 points, Golden Square handed South Bendigo a 61-point hiding and Kyneton handed Kangaroo Flat its fourth loss from as many games.
As a result, Gisborne, Eaglehawk, Sandhurst and Golden Square sit second to fifth with 3-1 records.
Fifth-placed Square is already one game and 50 per cent clear of sixth-placed Kyneton and it's mighty hard to see how any of the bottom five teams could manage to win at least 10 games to have any chance of making the finals.
The intrest now lies in who fills the top three berths and gains the all-important double chance.
The main course in Saturday's fourth round was the top-of-the-table clash at Gardiner Reserve and it was the Storm who came out on top.
A four-goal-to-none first term with the breeze laid the foundation for the win and the vistors led by as many as eight goals early in the final quarter.
The Bulldogs, who were without four key players, rallied late to reduce the final scoreline to a respectable 14.12 (96) to 10.15 (75).
"The first quarter was our best quarter, we really controlled the play but we didn't make the most of it,'' Storm coach Troy Coates said.
"We were really ordinary in the first quarter against Golden Square and we knew the start of this game would be important because Gisborne is such a confidence side.
"Playing them on their home deck we needed to start the game well, so we coud get that momentum."
Classy forward Lachlan Sharp kicked six of the Storm's 14 goals, while midfielders Sam Heavyside and Josh Formosa continued their great form.
Wingman Bailey Henderson gave the Storm plenty of drive and floated forward to kick three goals.
The only negative for the Storm was a game-ending injury to Collingwood VFL-listed player Matt Smith in the opening five minutes.
"It looks like he might have broken his hand,'' Coates said of Smith.
"We're waiting the results of scans, but it doesn't look good. It's a real shame for Matt because he did the right thing by the club in coming back to play when Collingwood had the bye."
Gisborne coach Clinton Young, who missed the game because of a hamstring injury,
"The difference whether it was the first quarter or throughout was that Strathfieldsaye were more clinical with the ball,'' Young said.
"It was a telling margin early, but in general play I felt as though we were right in the game.
"The scoreboard is where it matters and I thought they were clinical where it needed to be done."
Midfielder Nick Doolan was Gisborne's best, while forwards Pat McKenna and Jack Scanlon were strong targets all day.
"I was proud of the way we fought the game out,'' Young said.
"At no stage did we drop off or concede. It was another stepping stone for us to see the level we need to get to match the team that has been the benchmark in the league for some time.
"It's an important learning experince for us."
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