WEEKEND FOOTBALL PREVIEWS

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Eaglehawk’s Brodie Collins. The Hawks take on Strathfieldsaye on Saturday.BENDIGO FOOTBALL LEAGUE –ROUND 4
Nanjing Night Net

Strathfieldsaye v Eaglehawk, 2.20pm Saturday at Flight Centre Park, Strathfieldsaye–unfamiliar territory for the Storm coming off a loss.

The reigning premier’s winning streak ended last week at 39 at the hands of Golden Square with a 24-point defeat.

They will now look to bounce back against an Eaglehawk side that is also 2-1 and has key midfielder Ben McPhee in fine form.

The Hawks haven’t beaten the Storm in their past seven encounters, but have generally made Strathfieldsaye work hard for the four points in most of those clashes.

Last time: Strathfieldsaye 15.16 (106) d Eaglehawk 12.8 (80).

Since 2009: Strathfieldsaye 8; Eaglehawk 7.

Maryborough v Kyneton, 2.20pm Saturday at Barkers Oval, Maryborough–for the second week in a row the Magpies, who have now lost 23 games in a row,are back at home to take on the Tigers.

After the 208 point blowout against Sandhurst in round two, the Magpies were more competitive against Eaglehawk last week and were able to hit the scoreboard 19 times.

Expect the Tigers to be fired up to hit back with vengeance after blowing a strong half-time position against Castlemaine at home last week to suffer their first loss of the season.

Last time: Kyneton 21.16 (142) d Maryborough 12.5 (77).

Since 1995: Maryborough 29; Kyneton 14.

Castlemaine v Golden Square, 2.20pm Saturday at Camp Reserve, Castlemaine–nodoubt both clubs will have cherished a seven-day break this week after both went into round three off only five day spells.

The Bulldogs are now the only undefeated team in the competition after last week’s victory over Strathfieldsaye, while the Magpies showed plenty of character last week in overhauling Kyneton after trailing by five goals at half-time.

Castlemaine hasn’tbeaten Golden Square since 2005,with the Magpies no doubt keen to have another crack at a competition heavyweight following their Anzac Day hiding from Strathfieldsaye.

Last time: Golden Square 14.15 (99) d Castlemaine 5.9 (39).

Since 1995: Golden Square 29; Castlemaine 14.

South Bendigo v Kangaroo Flat, 2.20pm Saturday at Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo–the Roos start favourites, despite an ordinary QEO record in which they have won just one of their past eight games at “Headquarters”.

A trend of the Roos this season has been to burst out of the blocks –they have scored 98-28 in first quarters –while the winless Bloods are struggling inside 50, kicking just 19 goals in their three games so far.

Last time: South Bendigo 12.12 (84) d Kangaroo Flat 5.7 (37).

Since 1995: South Bendigo 31; Kangaroo Flat 13; Drawn 1.

Gisborne v Sandhurst, 2.20pm Saturday at Gardiner Reserve, Gisborne–the young Bulldogs have conceded scores of 154 and 171 in their past two games, and the defence looks set to be in for another long day against the Dragons, who have won two in a row and boast a percentage of 239.

Last time: Sandhurst 12.20 (92) d Gisborne 6.9 (45).

Since 2000: Gisborne 22; Sandhurst 16.

SELECTIONS:

Kieran Iles (14) – Kyneton (50), Golden Square (19), Strathfieldsaye (42), Sandhurst (31), Kangaroo Flat (34).

Adam Bourke (11) – Kyneton (55), Golden Square (15), Strathfieldsaye (36), Sandhurst (62), Kangaroo Flat (20).

Richard Jones (11) – Kyneton (57), Golden Square (42), Strathfieldsaye (31), Sandhurst (39), Kangaroo Flat (19).

Luke West (11) – Kyneton (68), Golden Square (34), Strathfieldsaye (27), Sandhurst (74), Kangaroo Flat (40).

HEATHCOTE DISTRICT FOOTBALL LEAGUE –ROUND 6

Leitchville-Gunbower v Huntly, 2.15pm Saturday at Leitchville Recreation Reserve–has the makings of a beauty between two premiership contenders.

The Hawks –who had a bye last week –are the only undefeated team with a 4-0 record, but they are bound to face stiff opposition from the Bombers, who are coming off three consecutive wins by more than 100 points.

Last time: Leitchville-Gunbower 11.23 (89) d Huntly 7.9 (51).

Since 2010: Leitchville-Gunbower 8; Huntly 4.

Elmore v White Hills, 2.15pm Saturday at Elmore Recreation Reserve–after last week’s victory over LBU,can the Bloods win two in a row for the first time since 2012?

If they are going to take the next step and play finals, these are the games they must be winning, whilethe same goes for the Demons if they are to figure in the finals action for a third-straight year.

Last time: White Hills 17.18 (120) d Elmore 14.13 (97).

Since 1995: Elmore 24; White Hills 18; Drawn 1.

Heathcote v Mount Pleasant, 2.15pm Saturday at Pigeon Park, Heathcote–the annual Cliff and Peter White Memorial Shield is up for grabs, which always adds extra incentive when these two rivals clash.

At home, the Saints could be hard to shake, although, they will want to kick better than last week’s 10.15, while the Blues are coming off a pair of hidings by a combined 200 points.

Last time: Heathcote 15.7 (97) d Mount Pleasant 14.12 (96).

Since 1995: Mount Pleasant 29; Heathcote 13; Drawn 1.

North Bendigo v LBU, 2.15pm Saturday at Superior Roofing Oval, North Bendigo–tough day for the Cats looms against a North Bendigo side on the rebound from its first loss of the season last week to Colbinabbin.

The winless Cats –now the only team yet to sing their song this season –are making life tougher on themselves with ordinary conversion in which they have kicked 18.35 in their past three matches.

Last time: North Bendigo 26.25 (181) d LBU 3.6 (24).

Since 2001: LBU 22; North Bendigo 12.

SELECTIONS:

Adam Bourke (17) – Elmore (18), Huntly (11), Mount Pleasant (18), North Bendigo (70).

Kieran Iles (17) – Elmore (11), Leitchville-Gunbower (7), Mount Pleasant (10), North Bendigo (72).

Luke West (16) – Elmore (12), Leitchville-Gunbower (4), Heathcote (7), North Bendigo (74).

LODDON VALLEY FOOTBALL LEAGUE –ROUND 5

Bridgewater v Mitiamo, 2.15pm Saturday at Laser Plumbing Bendigo Oval, Bridgewater–the grand final rematch between what are also the only two undefeated teams after four rounds.

The Mean Machine has picked up from where it left off last year with four wins by 79, 88, 101 and 139 points to startthe season, while the Superoos have been scratchy early in games before kicking into top gear during third quarters, but they must be up and about from the outset this week to be a chance.

Last time: Bridgewater 17.14 (116) d Mitiamo 8.12 (60) – 2015 grand final.

Since 1995: Mitiamo 25; Bridgewater 19; Drawn 1.

Pyramid Hill v YCW, 2.15pm Saturday at Mitchell Park, Pyramid Hill–the Bulldogs and Eagles are both chasing their second wins of the season.

At home the Bulldogs appear to have the edge against an opponent they have defeated 11 times in a row by an average of 50 points.

Last time: Pyramid Hill 11.12 (78) d YCW 3.4 (22).

Since 1995: Pyramid Hill 27; YCW 17.

Marong v Inglewood, 2.15pm Saturday at Discover Marong Oval–the Blues broke a 17-game winless streak last week and will now target two victories in a row for the first time since rounds 17 and 18 of the 2008 season.

After the jubilation of last week’s win over Newbridge it would be a major let-down for the Blues to slip back into old habits and drop off.

Marong goes into the game on the back of two wins in a row, with this contest having the makings of a danger game for the Panthers.

Last time: Marong 14.7 (91) d Inglewood 8.12 (60).

Since 1995: Marong 28; Inglewood 13; Drawn 1.

Newbridge v BL-Serpentine, 2.15pm Saturday at Karee Wool Riverside Oval, Newbridge–Inglewood took advantage of a Maroons’ side low on confidence last week to win its first game.

Now the Bears have the chance to do the same. Can they seize the opportunity to get on the board?

Last time: BL-Serpentine 13.20 (98) d Newbridge 11.10 (76).

Since 1995: BL-Serpentine 25; Newbridge 20.

SELECTIONS:

Adam Bourke (13) – Marong (6), Newbridge (14), Bridgewater (20), Pyramid Hill (15).

Luke West (12) – Marong (14), Newbridge (12), Bridgewater (24), Pyramid Hill (36).

Kieran Iles (12) – Marong (30), Newbridge (9), Bridgewater (13), Pyramid Hill (12).

NORTH CENTRAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE –ROUND 4

Wycheproof-Narraport v Charlton, 2.30pm Saturday at Wycheproof Recreation Reserve–clash of two teams that both have unblemished 3-0 records.

The Navy Blues have been consistent, kicking 13 goals in all three of their wins by 27, 31 and 33 points.

The Demons have had Corey Jones and Ricky Allan combine for 20 goals over the past two weeks, providing a dangerous duo.

Last time: Charlton 8.12 (60) d Wycheproof-Narraport 7.8 (50).

Since 2009: Charlton 12; Wycheproof-Narraport 9.

Boort v Birchip-Watchem, 2.30pm Saturday at Boort Park–the improved Magpies are eyeing off their third win in a row and at home, look a strong chance to do so against the Bulls.

After winning in round one, the Bulls have since lost two on the trot, despite the valiant efforts of new ruckman Lochlan Sirett.

Last time: Birchip-Watchem 21.10 (136) d Boort 4.7 (31).

Since 2009: Birchip-Watchem 9; Boort 7; Drawn 2.

Donald v St Arnaud, 2.30pm Saturday at Donald Recreation Reserve–strong possibility that the reigning premier Saints are going to drop to 0-4, unless they can conjure an upset against the ladder-leaders.

While the Saints are spluttering early in the season, the Royals are off to a flyer at 3-0 and having scored both the highest (348) and conceded the least (178) points so far.

Last time: St Arnaud 12.17 (89) d Donald 10.6 (66) – 2015 preliminary final.

Since 2009: St Arnaud 12; Donald 9.

Sea Lake Nandaly Tigers v Wedderburn, 2.30pm Saturday at Sea Lake Community Centre–a 138km road trip for the Redbacks to take on the Tigers.

Both teams go into the match without a victory and desperate to notch their first four points of the season.

Between the two sides they are averaging just a combined 52 points per game. The ability to capitalise inside 50 will be crucial in this battle.

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