ONE of country Victoria’s longest premiership droughts continues into another year after Pyramid Hill again stumbled in the Loddon Valley Football League preliminary final.
For the fourth time in the past six years, the Bulldogs were beaten in the preliminary final, this time by Bears Lagoon-Serpentine on Saturday.
The Bulldogs – who haven’t won a premiership since 1950 – were defeated 19.10 (124) to 10.6 (66) at Mitiamo.
“They played better footy than us consistently today,” Pyramid Hill coach Paul Grayling said.
“We had patches where we controlled the game, but didn’t dominate, whereas they dominated the game when they were on top and that was the difference.”
The Bulldogs were forced to play catch-up football when they trailed the Bears by 26 points at quarter-time and later 28 at half-time.
“They started really well, but it was probably the second half where they really split us open,” said Grayling, who kicked four goals.
“We were still in the game at half-time, but they kicked the first goal of the third quarter and we just couldn’t get going.
“We needed to kick the first couple of goals of that third quarter to put on some scoreboard pressure.
“With what happened to them last week (giving up a 35-point three quarter-time lead against Bridgewater), if we had been able to kick those first couple of goals after half-time, who knows what could have happened.
“But they’re all ifs and buts.
“Serp played a really good brand of footy. They were disciplined and stuck to their structures. To beat them you’ve got to win the contested footy and we didn’t do that.”
The better players for the Bulldogs were led by Trent Barri, who played centre half-back and in the ruck.
The consistent Brad Fawcett played a top game across half-back, despite battling a medial strain.
Onballer Nathan Fitzgerald, forward Sam Kennedy (two goals) and Scott Miles were others to impress.
Grayling will again lead the Bulldogs as coach for a second season next year.
“I’ll be extremely surprised if we lose more than the standard two or three players you lose each year,” Grayling said.
“We’ll keep the group together and add to it and I’m confident we can play better next year and make more of an impact.”
As for this Saturday’s grand final between Bridgewater and Bears Lagoon-Serpentine – who both beat Pyramid Hill during the finals – Grayling says it’s too close to call.
“It will be a very physical game and both teams will test each other out, but I really don’t know about a winner... it’s going to be very tight,” Grayling said.