Dragons turning up the heat

June 28, 2024 BY

Bell Park coach James Saker says he is pleased with his side's season through 10 rounds. Photos: MARCEL BERENS/SPORTS MEDIA IMAGES

A HUGE contest awaits Bell Park tomorrow (Saturday, June 29) afternoon, when the eight-win and two-loss Dragons measure up against St Mary’s at Kardinia Park.

Dragons coach James Saker told the Times News Group he had been pleased with his side’s hot start to 2024, already collecting wins against four higher-placed sides in the Geelong Football League standings.

That trend will be tested against a Saints outfit fresh off a 139-point drubbing of North Shore and in the process of chasing another minor premiership, but Saker said his boys would not shy away from the challenge.

“Typically St Mary’s ball movement and keeping opposition scores to a minimum are their main traits, so their defence will be hard to penetrate.

“It’ll be a hot footy, but it’ll be a case of how long our guys can sustain a high level of play which will be our challenge on the day.


Dragons skipper Lachlan Patten.


“We don’t necessarily see ourselves as a top two unit this year yet, but we’re excited to give it a good crack on Saturday.”

The Dragons have been bolstered by the return of Euriah Hollard, who has played two games since recovering from injury, and Geelong VFL representative Kaelan Bradtke in recent weeks – although Saker does not believe Bradtke will remain in the GFL much longer.

Bell Park has also won four of its past five games as well, meaning they carry considerable momentum into tomorrow’s Round 11 meeting.

In addition to some personnel changes and overall fitness, a large part of the group’s improvement had come from its local boys, Saker said.

“They’re also a lot stronger than compared to this time last year, which just means we’ve been able to play our style of football for longer stretches in games.

“We’ve been able to stay in some games and pinch a couple of wins, whereas our side from last year probably didn’t have the physical ability to do that from our running capacity to having a better impact on the ball.

“We’ve recruited well, but I’d say we still haven’t had out our best 22 on park together yet.”

Ollie Bridgewater (South Warrnambool), Ben Lloyd (Geelong VFL), and Mitch Mahady (St Bernard’s) were touted highly as impact additions at the start of the season.

Following Bell Park’s fixture away at St Mary’s, the Dragons and rest of the GFL (except St Albans and Lara) will enjoy a bye week before Saker’s side head to Colac in Round 12.

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