The annual Bendigo Senior Secondary College versus Catherine McAuley College football match is one of the highlights of the Bendigo school sport calendar.
Wednesday’s clash at the QEO has an extra edge, with the winner to claim the Premier League top seed and a home semi-final in a fortnight’s time.
“The players have been talking about this game for two months,” BSSC coach Rick Coburn said.
“It means a lot to the players from both schools. It’s the one game of the year they really want to win.”
BSSC and CMC both defeated Essendon-Keilor College and Hallam Secondary College in the opening two rounds to set up Wednesday’s big game.
The match has been robbed of some star power, with CMC co-captain Daniel Clohesy (ankle) and BSSC key defender Nathan McHugh (concussion) sidelined.
Both teams have a healthy sprinkling of Bendigo Pioneers squad members and players who have senior experience at BFNL level.
BSSC key player Zane Keighran has been named in the squad, but won’t play if selected in Victoria Country’s 22 for this weekend’s opening round of the AFL National Under-18 Championships.
BSSC will be led by co-captains Leyton Chisholm and Liam Marciano.
Chisholm has been in Kyneton’s best players the past two weeks at senior level, while Marciano has impressed with the Pioneers and Golden Square.
With co-captain Clohesy sidelined, the CMC leadership falls on the shoulders of Hunter Lawrence.
The defender/midfielder has had a solid season with the Pioneers and turned heads in his two senior games with the Strathfieldsaye Storm.
CMC coach Lee Coghlan said his side welcomed the challenge of playing its crosstown rival.
“Every year the games are close and they’re great games to watch,” Coghlan said.
“It’s great that this year’s game is in the final round and there’s the incentive of getting top spot for the semi-finals.
“It’s a pretty big advantage to finish on top, get that home semi and play the second-placed team in the other pool.”
Wednesday’s game at the QEO starts at 12.30pm.
B: Kyle Stevens, Josh Grace, Manny Thalasinos
Hb: Deklan Loveridge, Braydon Vaz, Charlie Mathieson
C: Luke Padgham, Leyton Chisholm, Phil Moi Moi
Hf: Lucas Cacciavello, Daine Grace, Riley Matricardi
F: Mitch Goodwin, Will Allen, Alex Jenkyn
Foll: Mitch Christensen, James Schischka, Liam Marciano
Inter: Jack Thompson, Justin Slater, Nathan Murley, Hakeem Johnson, Nathan Leed, Zack Bulger, Zane Keighran
B: Brody Brown, Harry Fiske-Kealy, Harrison Goods
Hb: Zack Shelton, Kyle Symons, Benjamin Worme
C: Charlie Robinson, Hunter Lawrence, Harry McCormick
Hf: Mitchell Rovers, Will Wallace, Pete Coghlan
F: Sean O’Farrell, Aaron Gundry, James Mittel
Foll: Connor Sexton, Callum McCarty, Flynn Perez
Inter: Alex Welch, Harrison Burke, Will Tobin, Angus Dickson, Pat O’Farrell