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Access unlimited content, the digital versions of our print editions – Today’s Paper, as well as The Courier, The Standard and Bendigo Advertiser apps. With third to eighth on the BFNL ladder separated by only four points, contests like Saturday’s South Bendigo vs Strathfieldsaye clash can shape a club’s season even at round six. Strathfieldsaye has been decimated by injuries and unavailability in 2023, but fans of the Storm will be relieved to see some familiar names Saturday’s team sheet. Skipper Lachlan Sharp returns to the side following his hamstring injury, and ruckman Timothy Hosking has been named for his first match since round three. The inclusion of key forward Will Allen is set to be crucial, as he is expected to pinch hit in the ruck, but Bloods coach Nathan Horbury said he’d be entrusting the main job to Daniel Johnstone. “He’s a bit undersized but did a good job in the Elimination Final last year against Hamish Hosking,” Horbury said. “He doesn’t like being beaten one-on-one, so we just want him to make a contest and then be an extra midfielder at ground level.” Essendon VFL players Jake Moorhead and Callum McCarty have been listed in Storm’s extended squad of 24, with the Bombers VFL side yet to be released as of 5.00pm. Only three games into their tenure at Harry Trott Oval, the Bloods are still transitioning from their high possession game style at the QEO to a more contested-based game at their small new home ground. They are still one of the better-uncontested marking and spreading sides in the BFNL, but Horbury is under no illusion where his teams improvement needs to come from after their wake-up call 53-point loss to Sandhurst last outing. “We need to get better at locking the contest down when sides get momentum,” Horbury said. “I thought we did it well against Golden Square, but it fell away quickly last game. “We’ve been working on holding our shape better and not allowing it to get to the outside.” The Bloods got plenty of look ins against the Dragons but lacked polish, while the Storm have been struggling to find targets in their attacking half. “We had a lot of the footy that Sandhurst game but just turned it over in poor spots, which damaged us going the other way,” Horbury said. “Strath (Strathfieldsaye) is a quality side as well, so if we do that again, they’ll cup us apart.” Horbury recognises the importance of this contest with Maryborough and Castlemaine still to come a win here, could see the Bloods have six to seven wins at the midway point of 2023. Strathfieldsaye has lost their last two games, both against undefeated opponents in Sandhurst and Eaglehawk. Meanwhile, as well as the usual football and netball matches being contested, Saturday’s Kyneton v Castlemaine games will have some added competition. The Tigers are hosting the Magpies in their “Rural Round” game at the Kyneton Showgrounds in round six of the BFNL season. The “Rural Round” day will feature a sponge cake competition, as well as the addition of a junior cookie/slice competition. We decided to add a junior category this year to see what they come up with. There’s only one rule – it must be a slice or cookie,” Kyneton president Hayden Evans said. The under-15 cookie/slice competition winner will receive a $50 Squishy Minnie voucher and Kyneton FNC merchandise. The winner of the traditional sponge cake competition (16-and-over) will receive a ticket in the Tigers’ 2023 major raffle valued at $100. Darren Snelling will judge the sponge cake category at 1.30pm and the junior cookie/slice competition by Mabel Pearce at 1.00pm. The day will also include a visit by the Farmer Darryl Mobile Animal Farm between noon and 4.00pm. On-field, the Tigers (2-3) go in as warm favourites against the Magpies (1-4), with the senior game starting at 2.20pm. Elsewhere in BFNL round six action, an improved Kangaroo Flat faces its biggest test yet, coming up against the undefeated Eaglehawk, and Sandhurst should get some percentage back on the Hawks when it welcomes Maryborough. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: