IT will be the 2013 flag favourites against the three-time defending premiers when Bears Lagoon-Serpentine meets Bridgewater in tomorrow’s Loddon Valley Football League second semi-final at Inglewood.
The Bears were the standout side of the home and away season, with their only blemish a one-point loss to Newbridge in round eight.
Their domination of the competition was reflected in not only a 15-1 record, but a massive percentage of 237.6 .
They have played a well balanced brand of football this year, strangling teams defensively, while they’ve also been the highest scoring side in the competition.
But that’s the home and away season – how will the Bears handle the pressure of expectation in the finals as they chase their first premiership since 1995?
Tomorrow, they come up against the finals-hardened Bridgewater – a team that is now 7-0 in finals since 2010.
The Mean Machine earned their chance to vie for a fourth grand final in a row after defeating Pyramid Hill by five points in extra time in last week’s qualifying final.
One of the key points of interest will be the physical toll last week’s gruelling game took on the Bridgewater players, while the Bears freshened up with a week off.
If their two games this season – which the Bears won by three and 12 points – are anything to go by, tomorrow’s clash should be a ripper.
Damien Featherby (BL-Serpentine) – “I’ve spoken to the boys this week about no side has beaten Bridgewater in a final for four years, so that shows how big the challenge is for us.
“They’ve proven themselves in finals, so we’re probably the underdogs. We haven’t proven ourselves yet... we had two goes in the finals last year when we won one and lost one.
“What’s different for us now is that last year we were never in the hunt in our games against Bridgewater. So it’s good to know this year we’ve been able to beat them and we’ll go in this week confident we can win.”
Zac East (Bridgewater) – “The boys are really keen for this week, as is to be expected.
“Hopefully, we can be a bit cleaner with the ball against Serp than we have been this year and eliminate our turnovers. They are very good offensively, so any time they get a turnover that’s when they’re dangerous.”