Another race that always creates a buzz and a great result. This year hold the added intrigue of a bonus half a metre. I am not sure that will really come in to play this week for most runners as if you didn't take an early race it may be too late to seriously challenge. Let's see where the poll went.
Lachlan Sheffield 7.5m / Bailey Squire 7.5m 9% - Sheffield 'distance', why he will win - 'Distance has come over for a reason. And I think it may be for the bonus and some spending money. Either this or he is trialling for someone else who believes they are right for the taking. If he wins he moves out to 8m and is in the mix with a whole host of athletes who think they will make the Stawell final. Definitely one to watch. Why he will not win - 12.50 will not win it and he will need to improve slightly to get under this. Squire, let's just celebrate that we said your name and keep improving. Verdict - final
Cam Dunbar 8.5 / Will Kerr 8.5 16% - let's look at the voting first. Dunbar vs Kerr off levels. I pick Dunbar so let's talk about him. Dunbar, why he will win - He is that good. He has made big gift finals this year and by his placings has tried to win all of them. His 70m win at Yarra Ranges shows that he is good to go and will feature prominently in the final. He regularly turns up in shape and with the ability to make finals. I have seen many a runner in my time but none compare to him for his durability and consistency. Why he will not win - He is not as young as he used to be. When I first saw him run he was a skinny kid and he has built his frame while keeping the wins coming. Does he have another big win in him or can one of the others spoil the party. Will someone take the half a metre off him. Verdict - win
Leigh Phelan 9.75 / Gareth Houley 10m 13% - Another combinations where the votes are for the one athlete. Phelan, why he will win. His run at Castlemaine was something else. He ran everything, including the egg and spoon race, and not only ran a huge time in the gift but won the 120m Masters off very little. He is another older athlete who has shown some of the younger brigade how to prepare yourself each year. Why he will not win - Dunbar. If Dunbar starts well he will be up to Phelan by 30 and phelan will not run over him. Phelan may just miss out this one unless of course he scratches to run the 400m. Verdict - podium
Tim Rosen 13.5m / Paul Hughes 14.25m - Rosen, why he will win - 'The Man' has a good mark and has the ability to run well off it. He is another who has turned out most weeks ready to go. I have him off this mark in the top 20 chances. Why he will not win - While this mark is good, he is not in the same form as earlier in the year or last year when he won just by thinking about it. For me he still needs to work on his start as he stands up too quickly and lacks the drive other athletes have. Hughes, why he will win - Have you ever seen him look unfit? Why he will not win - He does not have the speed to win off this mark at Bendigo. He won Euroa last season of 14.75m in 12.59. He will not have improved. Verdict - Rosen - semi. Hughes - heat.
See you up here.