IT took a period of extra time, but Bridgewater has continued its Loddon Valley Football League finals dominance over Pyramid Hill.
After scores had been locked together at 60 apiece at the final siren in Saturday’s dramatic qualifying final at Newbridge, Bridgewater kicked the only goal in extra time to win 8.19 (67) to 9.8 (62).
The five-point win moves the Mean Machine – who are now 5-0 in finals against Pyramid Hill since 2010 – a step closer to defending their premiership as they set up a second semi-final showdown with Bears Lagoon-Serpentine this Saturday.
However, had they been beaten, the Mean Machine would have only had themselves to blame after their poor kicking at goal kept Pyramid Hill in the contest.
The game was forced into extra time, despite Bridgewater having had 10 more scoring shots, kicking 7.18 to Pyramid Hill’s 9.6.
“It was a day of wasted opportunities in front of goal, and it nearly cost us a final,” Bridgewater coach Zac East said.
“A lot of those misses were set-shots, so that’s something we’re going to have to focus on this week. You can’t afford to do that in finals.”
The only goal of the extra time period, which was dominated by constant stoppages, was kicked by Bridgewater’s Alexander Collins.
Collins’ match-winner was his third goal of the game and he now has 96 for the season.
Earlier, the Mean Machine had the yips in front of goal from the outset when they kicked 2.8 during the first quarter and 4.6 in the second. They had their chance to break the game open in the first half, but instead were just 18 points ahead at the main break, 6.14 to 5.2.
“The game could have been done and dusted in the first quarter if we kicked straight,” said East, who missed the game with a hamstring injury.
“But we didn’t take our chances and it almost came back to bite us.”
The Bulldogs hit back in the third quarter with their best term of the game, adding 3.2 to 0.1 to hold a one-point advantage going into what was to be a thrilling final term.
The best players for Bridgewater included defender Tristin Nalder, ruckman David Harrison and midfielders Josh McLeod, Callum Prest and Adam Parry.
Key forwards Collins (three) and Brad Rohde (two) combined for five of Bridgewater’s eight goals.
Pyramid Hill – which had a six-game winning streak broken with the defeat – was best served by Trent Barri, key defender James Pietromonaco, silky onballer Gavin James and backman Dylan Morison.
The Bulldogs had nine individual goalkickers.
Saturday was Pyramid Hill’s second extra time loss in a final in four years after losing the 2010 preliminary final to Calivil United in the same circunstances.