Bulldogs and Tigers set for mini-final

The tradition of massive clashes between Gisborne and Kyneton in the Bendigo Football League will continue this Saturday in a game that is being touted as a mini-final.

Both sides sit a game behind fifth-placed Kangaroo Flat, with the three sides and Castlemaine seemingly fighting for the last spot in the finals.

A win to either side will help their finals hopes and put a dint in those of the losers.

The Bulldogs enter the match on the back of three wins in a row.

On Saturday, they smashed Maryborough 23.17 (155) – 8.7 (55).

Bulldogs coach Rod Sharp believes his side is still improving.

“We have a bit of momentum and the boys have worked really hard in the last three to four weeks to be fitter,” Sharp said.

He said that in the second half of the Maryborough clash, the players were full of confidence and enjoying the game.

Especially pleasing for the coach was that the younger players stepped up.

“Four out of the six among our best were 19 or under.”

Sharp said it was a fine outcome given that full-forward Matt Knox wasn’t playing.

“Matt has scored 40 per cent of our goals and we still had 40 scoring shots without him,” Sharp said.

“The communication on the ground is getting so much better and I’m massive on that. We’re getting more voices … it becomes easier when you have 17 other people talking, and credit to all the boys who are listening.”

Sharp knows the significance of getting the points against the Tigers.

“Basically, the team that gets the four points is a better chance of making finals,” he said. “Both sides can’t play finals … the one that loses is more likely to not play them.” In a boost for the Bulldogs, Hamish Govan has returned to the club from playing with Woodend-Hesket.

“Hamish thought he wanted to try something different and it didn’t work for him,” the coach said. “He will be a vital part for the next six to seven weeks.”

The Tigers lost to Sandhurst 19.13 (127) – 11.12 (78) at the weekend.

In A-grade netball, Gisborne won and Kyneton lost.