South Bendigo is lower on the BFNL ladder than the corresponding stage last year, but you can mount a strong argument to say the Bloods are a better side in 2022.
Saturday's one-point loss to Strathfieldsaye saw the Bloods slip to seventh on the ladder with a 3-4 record.
A plethora of injuries haven't helped their cause, but aside from a blowout loss to Gisborne a fortnight ago their game style has stood up.
Should the Bloods have a better run with injuries in the second half of the season, coach Nathan Horbury expects his side to push for finals berth.
"It was a good game and we were pretty happy with the way we played,'' Horbury said.
"We haven't beaten Strathfieldsaye in a long time, so it would have been nice to get one over them.
"We look forward to having another crack at them later in the year. Our best footy can compete with every team in the competition and I think the boys are starting to believe that."
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One of the key changes Horbury and his coaching staff have made in recent weeks is moving star forward Kaiden Antonowicz into the Bloods' midfield rotation.
On Saturday, South Bendigo kicked 13 goals without Antonowicz hitting the scoreboard.
Antonowicz started in the centre square and was damaging with ball in hand, collecting 20 possessions, six marks and five clearances.
"Kaiden did play a fair bit of midfield as a junior,'' Horbury said of Antonowicz.
"It's just that he was so good as a forward... that's why he got stuck down there.
"We needed to be not as predictable and when he's down there, because he's such a good forward, we tend to kick it to him a lot.
"We put him in the midfield because his field kicking is really good and we didn't want to be as predictable.
"I think his form in the past few weeks has been really good."
Antonowicz's move to the midfield has created space and opportunity for Brock Harvey.
The athletic forward kicked 4.3 against the Storm.
"We always knew Brock had all the attributes - he's athletic, he has good skills and he's hard to match up on,'' Horbury said.
"The penny has dropped for him and he's been super for us all year. He's spent some time in the midfield as well and we're really happy with the way he's going."
The Bloods host Maryborough at the QEO this Saturday.
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