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BFNL Weekend Preview - Round 12, 2024

The action is back after the interleague weekend and sides will have their sights firmly locked on to the backend of the 2024 season.






Last time they met - Sunbury 55 def. by Melton 59 (Clarke Oval, Round 10 2024)

Plenty will need to go right for Sunbury avoiding a fourth loss in five games when they face Melton for a second time in 21 days.

Who could forget the nailbiting conclusion of their Round 10 meet at the Clarke Oval when Bloods' wingman Kyle Borg put the flag favorites in front just moments ahead of the final siren?

It's hard to push the argument that any have in fact, paving the way for a highly anticipated sequel.

It's often thought the sequel rarely usurps the original but the BFNL Match of the Round crew will be there to bring you all the action LIVE from 2pm Saturday.

While Bloods' defender Riley Walker is expected to return, intercept king Jordy Cotter (foot/ankle) will continue his rehab with an aim to return ahead of finals.

On the flipside, Sunbury have had a relatively good run with injury up until their Round 8 loss to East Point and have had to shuffle the magnets since which has been unsettling, equating to three losses from their last four games.

The Lions most recent 22-point loss to the Swans was no fluke when you look at the numbers in isolation.

Sunbury were beaten in near all KPI's and denied their usual uncontested brand - 51 uncontested marks (down 29 on their season average), marks inside 50 (down 6 ), disposals (down 46), clearances (-16),centre clearance (-8), inside 50s (-25), tackles (-25).

Well done Chris Maple pulling a rabbit out of a hat with all respect, given it was the first win for any side outside of the top five against top five opposition.

The win / loss record for bottom six teams v top five teams is now W1 L29.

A correction from the Lions camp on the numbers front will NOT necessarily guarantee Matt White's pride a winning result against a steely Melton combination that will ask questions of the entire group with and without the ball.

Not dissimilar to Round 10, Sunbury will have their opportunities but can they match the ladder leaders with bang for buck hitting the scoreboard?

Tipping you'll see a host of defenders featuring in the best for the winners, denying potential match winning forwards a day out on their own terms.

Scoop's tip

Bacchus Marsh


Lake Wendouree


Last time they met - Lake Wendouree 75 def. by Bacchus Marsh 82 (CE Brown Reserve, Round 2 2024)

The one-win Lakers should hold little or no fears facing the Cobras at Maddingley Park if the last six weeks represents an adequate sample size.

Both sides had their respective first round bye and have won six of their last 20 quarters, four of those coming against bottom side Melton South.

The Lakers, like the Cobras, have just the one win for the period but have a slight percentage edge (72% v 64% last six weeks) adding some weight to the 'winning chance' conversation, albeit on the road.

The Cobras learnt quickly of the importance of big man Luke Goetz (ankle) in his recent absence.

While a return is predicted by some this week, it's far from set in concrete.

Veteran mid Tyson Shea will miss again asking more questions of a young Cobras midfield still finding their way.

I like the thought of dual Cobra BFNL Interleague representatives Isaac Nixon and Rhy Penny up onto a wing in a change up with ferocious leader and coach Dennis Armfield to spend some time behind the ball getting a birds-eye view how his chargers go about it.

Nixon and Penny are fresh off 19 disposal, confidence building performances against the Hampden League and would provide the necessary aerial presence and run with and without the ball to impact this game - shoring up the side gates if you will with a 'Beware of’ sign.  

Needless to add a lot of the Cobras fortunes will rest on the returns of ever consistent forward Jake Owen (23 goals, comp rank #8, in best 6/10 games). Expect Brayden Helyar to get the job.

The Lakers have some aerial presence of their own and will be tough to hold out if conditions suit.

Jaydo Wright, Felix Fogarty, Tom Zampatti, Ben Hayes and leading goalkicker Bailey Thompson (22 goals, comp rank #10) can all take a grab and provide an avenue to score.

Joel O'Connell, Angus Gove, rebound defender Kyle Anderson and exciting 16-year-old Lincoln Koliba will ensure the Cobras are made to earn a fourth win of the season. 

In a 50/50 game, geography had the final say given the Lakers’ struggles away from home.

The Lakers have lost their last 11 games on the road by an average of 74 points including a 92-point defeat here last year.

Scoop’s tip
Bacchus Marsh



North Ballarat


Last time they met - North Ballarat 41 def. Darley 38 (Mars Stadium, Round 2 2024)

If Darley has any legitimate aspirations for a top three finish, a win over North Ballarat is a must.

The Devils will have every opportunity getting the job done over a touring party minus a handful of prime movers including x-factor forward Jamie Quick (ankle) and midfield duo Riley Polkinghorne (ankle) and Brock Leonard (concussion) who have proven a mainstay in pressure and accumulation numbers with and without the ball.

Former Cobra Joel Freeman is expected to debut in Roosters colors having just beat the clearance deadline and will provide a dual pronged aerial target alongside Stewart Crameri (1 game, 2 goals) and opportune forward Ned Nash (20 goals, comp rank #11).

Just how the Roosters find a way denying in form Devils midfield trio Brett Bewley, Luther Baker and Matt Denham will be an afternoon long problem for Brendan McCartney and his support staff.

Bewley and Baker especially feature among the top five ball winners in the comp and should thrive in the absence of Polkinghorne and Leonard.

McCartney has little alternative but to focus on the 'what haves' and will need his boys to deliver on their trademark pressure if they're to overcome the Devils who would be well aware of the importance banking the win given remaining 'double up' matches against top three giants East Point, Sunbury and Melton are still to come.

While it will be a 'one week at a time' mission for Dan Jordan and his crew finding their best, there's no denying the Devils top three chances hang in the balance for the here and now.

For North Ballarat, given their 'outs', a win would surely be their most satisfying and deserving of the season, whilst leaving the door ajar on a potential top three finish of their own.

Key Roosters Tom Bromley-Lynch, Simon McCartin and Cam McCallum are expected to return while Devils trio Wil Johnson, Adam Azzopardi and Mitch Ward continue their rehab on the sidelines for at least another week.  

Scoop’s tip



East Point


Last time they met - East Point 76 def. Sebastopol 29 (Eastern Oval, Round 3 2024)

The Kangas would have fond memories of their last meet against the Burra, a Round 3 encounter that essentially kickstarted their impressive nine game winning streak.

A six-goals-to-one second half under the lights at Eastern Oval was enough to instill the belief and momentum in Joe Carmody's group that sees them now just percentage shy of ladder leaders Melton.

So why the dominance?

The Kangas’ numbers reel ahead of the 'double ups' is compelling, enough to see them with their best chance of winning a flag since their back-to-back achievement of 2018 and 2019.

Carmody's marching band rank #1 for scoring efficiency, centre clearances, groundball gets, marks inside 50 and behinds - rank #2 for kicks, contested possessions, overall clearances, spoils, goals - rank #3 for handballs, contested marks, marks, ball-up clearances, forward 50 tackles, disposal efficiency (kicks and handballs) and rank #4 for disposals.

Pretty impressive, not to mention five players in the top 27 goalkickers including two of the top nine - Bryson McDougall (36 goals, rank #3) and Strahan Robinson (23 goals, rank #9).

So where do you start when you're Burra coach Tony Lockyer trying to tame the flying Kangaroos when one of the biggest struggles of your own team has been scoring?

Well Lockyer is an experienced leader who will narrow the focus of importance. Given where the two teams are at in the context of their respective seasons, Lockyer will be looking for a simple buy-in on the process, hopeful a response from his group will equate to having in them in with a prize fighters chance at three quarter time.

Falling shy of the necessary buy-in would see the Kangas waltz on their merry way to a comfortable tenth win and remain on track for an all-important double chance amid a very even season at the top.

Scoop’s tip
East Point




SATURDAY JULY 13TH - 2.15PM @ City Oval

Last time they met - Ballarat 90 def. Redan 87 (Alfredton Oval, Round 2 2024)

A cracking game looms at City Oval with the result almost certain to play a role shaping the final six even this far out.

While the thought of finals will be underplayed by these two respective coaches, the lure of the number six spot in the September action will not be denied by fans.

Sure, the two opponents are in the development phase given their age profile but that hasn't stopped the Swans causing the upset of the season to date as recent as Round 11 over third placed Sunbury.

But, as has been the case for a large portion of the season, the Swans’ ability to back up their solid efforts from quarter to quarter let alone game to game has been an ongoing challenge for coach Chris Maple.

For Swans fans, let's hope the win over the Sunbury Lions proves a line in the sand moment and the beginning of something resembling closer to the cliche ambition of consistency.

Hosts Redan today are 0-6 against top six opposition with all four of their season wins coming against the current bottom four. The importance of a win today, bucking the trend would be an understatement and not beyond reach of the Lions. 

The similarities between the two sides around scoring set the tone for another nailbiter despite the Swans having won an extra game and a 10 percent advantage on the BFNL table.

Redan have had two shots more on goal for the season, averaging 4.4 points more per game confirming the like-for-like match up.

The Swans (17.5/40) have won half a quarter more than the Lions while conceding an average of 15.6 points less per game.

All relevant numbers given each team in the BFNL has played each other once.

Looking forward to the battle of the midfield brigades.

If Lions’ pairing Khy Jess and Lachie George can turn their high number territory gains into score involvements, the hosts will prove a handful.

Who will Maple send to GFL listed player Lachie Bond? Angus Bade looks a likely match-up allowing attacking defender Lachie Dalgleish to play a role in the genesis of transition.

Trying conditions are expected, a challenging day for all – both on field and for the decision makers off it.

Flip of the coin game.  

Scoop’s tip

Melton South