Heathcote faces nemesis from north

April 26, 2024 BY

Rivals: Heathcote and North Bendigo go into Anzac round in great form. Photo: FILE

BEATING North Bendigo in senior footy action is a feat Heathcote has not achieved for many seasons in the Bendigo Bank Heathcote District Football Netball League.

This Saturday the Saints face their nemesis at Pigeon Park in Heathcote’s Barrack Reserve from 2.15pm in the fourth round.

Both teams go into Anzac round in great form.

The Andrew Saladino-coached Saints sit top of the ladder following wins against Mount Pleasant, Lockington Bamawm United and Colbinabbin.

After a first-round bye, North Bendigo won at Elmore and starred on home turf at Bendigo Club Oval in Atkins Street against Leitchville Gunbower to beat the Bombers by 89 points.

“Even in my time as coach we have not beaten North Bendigo,” said Saladino who is in his third season in charge.

“There have been closely-fought games and others where they have got hold of us.”

In the Saints run to last year’s grand final the only team to beat Heathcote at Pigeon Park was the Rob Bennett-coached North Bendigo.

“Their physicality is a major strength of their game.

“We have to match their attack at the contest, especially at stoppages,” said Saladino.

Both teams have plenty of running power and use it well to quickly move the ball to the forward 50-metre arc.

For the Saints it’s gun goalkicker Corey Grindlay who looms as a major threat to the Bulldogs’ chances.

“Corey’s had a brilliant start. He is a really difficult match-up,” Saladino said.

At the other end of the ground a Bulldogs attack that includes Dylan Klemm, Jordan Ford and Jake Dean is up against the likes of Bill Direen, Daniel Johnstone and Lachlan Freeman Taber.

A blow in Heathcote’s big win at Colbinabbin was a knee injury to dynamic forward/on-baller Zak Saad.

The superb form of Saints’ ruckman James Orr is being capitalised on by the skilful Liam Jacques, Braden Padmore and captain Codie Price.

In other matches on Saturday, White Hills is home at Scott Street to take on Colbinabbin.

The Harlowe Huntly Hawks take on Lockington Bamawm United at Huntly’s Strauch Reserve.

Leitchville Gunbower faces Elmore at Gunbower. Mount Pleasant has the bye.