Preview: Bendigo vs Geelong
BOTH Bendigo and Geelong will be looking to bounce back from heavy losses last weekend when they meet under lights at Queen Elizabeth Oval on Friday, as Samantha Landy reports.
Gold became the Northern Blues' first victim of the season last Saturday, falling to the Carlton affiliate by 100 points and only mustering seven goals to the Blues' 21.
Justin Maddern and Matthew Little posted four of these between them, despite the latter being well held by in-form Blues defender Matthew Watson.
Rick Ladson (17 touches), Brendan Lee (13 touches) and Wayne Schultz (20 touches) were among the best for Bendigo.
Gold, admittedly heavily undermanned thanks to its AFL affiliate Essendon's midweek Anzac Day clash, was simply outplayed by an inspired Northern outfit, getting smashed in the inside 50 possession count 28 to 80 and in tackles, 31 to 85.
Bendigo has regained a few Dons players, among them Henry Slattery, Kyle Reimers and Mark Baguley, to line up against Geelong.
The Cats suffered their first defeat of the season last weekend - a 37-point loss to a Werribee outfit invigorated by its dominant Foxtel Cup introduction the week before in last week's Friday night match.
Geelong was slow out of the blocks, conceding seven goals and kicking just one in the opening term. The boys from Simonds Stadium never recovered from here, despite managing to break the Tigers' strong defence to trail by just 15 points at the final break.
Mitch Brown again emerged as Geelong's dominant forward target, slotting three majors, while Roosters recruit Orren Stephenson and Shane Kersten contributed with two goals apiece.
Rob Condy was best afield for the Catters, supported by the Big O and consistent performer Simon Hogan.
Geelong is likely to regain George Horlin-Smith and Tom Gillies from AFL duties for this match.
Bendigo will take confidence from its perfect record against the Cats last season, in which it recorded 42 and 30 point wins.
It will also have the Bendigo crowd in its corner, although that wasn't much assistance against the Blues last weekend.
This game should be tight, with both teams seeking redemption for lacklustre performances last weekend and both somewhat bolstered by AFL inclusions.
Peter Jackson VFL fans should steel themselves for another Friday night blockbuster.