BENDIGO LEAGUE – ROUND 5
MARYBOROUGH v GOLDEN SQUARE
2.20pm Saturday at Maryborough.
Been a tough couple of weeks for Maryborough on the back of consecutive losses to Eaglehawk (113 points) and Strathfieldsaye (96).
The Magpies have been found particularly wanting in the second half of both games, having been outscored 64-0 by Eaglehawk last week and 90-38 by the Storm after the main break and it gets no easier on Saturday against the Bulldogs, who themselves are having trouble stringing together four consistent quarters.
Albeit, the Bulldogs' issues the past two weeks in losses to Strathfieldsaye (15 points) and Sandhurst (2) have been allowing the opposition to get on top early and, while they have finished both games well, have found themselves in holes to big to dig themselves out of.
Last time: Golden Square 16.16 (112) def Maryborough 8.9 (57).
Since 1995: Golden Square 36; Maryborough 16.
GISBORNE v CASTLEMAINE
2.20pm Saturday at Gisborne.
Certainly encouraging signs for the Magpies last week in their competitive showing against Kyneton.
While it ended up a 30-point loss, the Magpies showed plenty of fighting qualities to rally from a 38-point deficit in the second quarter and hit the front during the third term, proving to themselves they can put together competitive football.
Mighty tough ask though headed to Gardiner Reserve where they will run into a Gisborne side that will be hungry for redemption after last week's 25-point loss to South Bendigo.
Last time: Gisborne 29.20 (194) def Castlemaine 0.1 (1).
Head to head: Gisborne 32; Castlemaine 8.
SANDHURST v SOUTH BENDIGO
2.20pm Saturday at QEO.
The round five marquee game features a mouth-watering battle between the competition's last two undefeated teams left standing.
2.20pm at the QEO on a Saturday afternoon, traditional BFNL rivals in the co-tenant Dragons and Bloods, who are both in ripping form - what more could you ask for in May?
The improved Bloods are certainly attracting plenty of hype for their stunning start to the season in which their 4-0 record already includes the scalps of Gisborne and Eaglehawk.
They are using the ball well and took their tackle pressure against Gisborne to the next level last week, which they will need to replicate again against the ladder-leading Dragons.
One of the standout features of the Dragons' four wins has been their spread of goalkickers, having had 10 in three of their games, showcasing a wide array of avenues to goal, be it through their forwards of midfielders.
Last time: Sandhurst 13.18 (96) def South Bendigo 5.7 (37).
Since 1995: Sandhurst 30; South Bendigo 26.
STRATHFIELDSAYE v KANGAROO FLAT
2.20pm Saturday at Strathfieldsaye.
The question was posed on the front cover of the Addy's pre-season guide - will the Storm slide?
After their 0-2 start with a new-look side there were some obvious early season queries about the perennial power, but they have since hit back and proven they are going to take some beating again this year.
Last week's 15-point win over Golden Square at Wade Street - never an easy venue for opposition sides to pocket the four points - reaffirmed the Storm's credentials, particularly considering the margin should have been much more given Strathfieldsaye's inaccurate 12.23.
If the Storm can get their kicking boots back on this week a big win looms over the Roos - a side they have won 18 in a row against by an average of 76 points.
Last time: Strathfieldsaye 29.22 (196) def Kangaroo Flat 1.5 (11).
Head to head: Strathfieldsaye 19; Kangaroo Flat 3.
KYNETON v EAGLEHAWK
3pm Saturday at Kyneton.
Been a big fortnight for the Hawks, kicking 56 goals to just four in wins over Maryborough and Castlemaine by a combined 341 points.
Now they are further strengthened with the return of superstar Brodie Filo for his first game of the season to take on the Tigers, who were made to work hard for the points against Castlemaine last week.
The Tigers will have a big home crowd behind them in the Pride Cup match and will need to produce 120 minutes of relentless pressure football if they are to get the job done.
Last time: Eaglehawk 19.15 (129) def Kyneton 6.9 (45).
Since 1995: Eaglehawk 39; Kyneton 12.
Adam Bourke (15) - Golden Square, Gisborne, Sandhurst, Strathfieldsaye, Eaglehawk.
Richard Jones (15) - Golden Square, Gisborne, Sandhurst, Strathfieldsaye, Eaglehawk.
Luke West (14) - Golden Square, Gisborne, Sandhurst, Strathfieldsaye, Eaglehawk.
LODDON VALLEY LEAGUE – ROUND 5
MITIAMO v MARONG
2.15pm Saturday at Mitiamo.
Mitiamo will certainly be looking forward to its first major test of the season after a dominant first month.
The Superoos have played the four teams that all sit outside the top five and are 4-0 with an average winning margin of 112 points.
The quality of opposition though steps up dramatically against another undefeated team in Marong.
The Panthers - who have lost ruckman Adrian Pappin to a one-game suspension - showcased their credentials with a three-point win over Pyramid Hill last week, which should hold them in good stead for this hit-out, which has all the hallmarks of another cracker.
Last time: Mitiamo 10.19 (79) def Marong 9.13 (67).
Since 1995: Mitiamo 38; Marong 14.
BRIDGEWATER v CALIVIL UNITED
2.15pm Saturday at Bridgewater.
No respite for Calivil United coming up against the powerful Bridgewater.
The Demons are going to need to work tirelessly to limit the amount of ball that gets in the Mean Machine front half given their vast array of goalscoring power, headed by recruit Josh Martyn, who has kicked hauls of seven, six and four in his first three games for his new club.
Last time: Calivil United 27.14 (176) def Bridgewater 14.6 (90).
Since 1995: Calivil United 27; Bridgewater 25; Drawn 1.
PYRAMID HILL v MAIDEN GULLY YCW
2.15pm Saturday at Pyramid Hill.
Maiden Gully YCW coach Wayne Mitrovic has had a fortnight to reflect on his side's 91-point hiding from Marong in round three, which was followed by the bye last week.
The positive for the Eagles is they get the chance straight-up to put in place the lessons learned from that loss against another quality opponent in the Bulldogs, who themselves are also coming off their first defeat.
The Eagles have had the wood over the Bulldogs recently, winning four of their past five encounters.
Last time: Maiden Gully YCW 9.10 (64) def Pyramid Hill 8.8 (56).
Head to head: Pyramid Hill 31; Maiden Gully YCW 22.
NEWBRIDGE v BEARS LAGOON-SERPENTINE
2.15pm Saturday at Newbridge.
Best chance Newbridge has had to get its first win.
It's the Maroons' first match against a side that is outside the top five and they are on their home deck.
Conversely, it also presents a strong opportunity for the Bears to make it back-to-back wins after beating Inglewood last week and even their ledger at 2-2.
Last time: BL-Serpentine 10.3 (63) dr Newbridge 6.2 (38) - match abandoned.
Since 1995: Newbridge 26; BL-Serpentine 26; Drawn 1.
Adam Bourke (16) - Marong, Bridgewater, Pyramid Hill, Bears Lagoon-Serpentine.
Luke West (15) - Marong, Bridgewater, Pyramid Hill, Bears Lagoon-Serpentine.
HEATHCOTE DISTRICT LEAGUE – ROUND 5
ELMORE v HUNTLY
2.15pm Saturday at Elmore.
Plenty of optimism at the start of the season for Elmore given its busy recruiting that the Bloods could build on their five wins from 2019 and make further inroads.
At 0-4 they are now in the position of having to go 6-6 over their last 12 games if they are to improve on 2019.
Have had a tough draw early, but an opportunity knocks at home against Huntly for the Bloods to show what they are capable of.
Having said that, the Hawks deserve to go in as favourites given what they showed against Mount Pleasant in their upset 35-point win last week.
Last time: Elmore 7.14 (56) def Huntly 4.13 (37).
Since 1995: Elmore 32; Huntly 21.
COLBINABBIN v WHITE HILLS
2.15pm Saturday at Colbinabbin.
You've got to go back to round 17 of 2011 for the last time White Hills beat Colbinabbin.
Since then the Grasshoppers have won 16 in a row against the Demons by an average of 37 points.
But this is a vastly-superior Demons side to any the Grasshoppers have encountered during their decade of dominance.
The 4-0 Demons are flying in top spot with a percentage of 317.4 and having kicked scores of 141, 186, 121 and 155 already.
The Grasshoppers are renowned as a side built on a strong team defence and that is certainly going to be put to the test by the free-scoring Demons, who have Jed Lamb coming off 13 goals last week.
Last time: Colbinabbin 16.12 (108) def White Hills 11.11 (77).
Since 1995: Colbinabbin 43; White Hills 9.
HEATHCOTE v NORTH BENDIGO
2.15pm Saturday at Heathcote.
Which Heathcote will show up on Saturday?
The one that served it right up to White Hills for the first half last week, or the one that was obliterated by the Demons in the second half?
If it's the former - and the Saints can capitalise on their forward opportunities - they will have the capacity to make it a much tougher afternoon than the Bulldogs have been accustomed to given they have won 13 in a row against Heathcote by an average of 125 points.
Last time: North Bendigo 17.21 (123) def Heathcote 3.5 (23).
Head to head: North Bendigo 34; Heathcote 18.
MOUNT PLEASANT v LEITCHVILLE-GUNBOWER
2.15pm Saturday at Toolleen.
A big inclusion for the Blues with star midfielder and co-coach Adam Baird to make his long-awaited debut for his new club.
It's a timely boost given the Blues have their injury concerns, but that didn't excuse co-coach Darren Walsh from questioning his side's hunger for the contest in last week's loss to Huntly.
The Bombers head to Toolleen 0-4, but with the chance to get another valuable game of senior experience into its young team.
Last time: Leitchville-Gunbower 12.14 (86) def Mount Pleasant 12.8 (80).
Head to head: Leitchville-Gunbower 16; Mount Pleasant 4.
Luke West (15) - Huntly, White Hills, North Bendigo, Mount Pleasant.
Adam Bourke (15) - Huntly, White Hills, North Bendigo, Mount Pleasant.
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