BRIDGEWATER avoided the upset of the Loddon Valley Football League season on Saturday after overcoming a three quarter-time deficit against YCW at Backhaus Oval.
The Eagles - whose side included Collingwood premiership player Alan Didak - led by three points at the final change.
However, Bridgewater responded to the challenge as the reigning premiers kicked 3.10 to 0.1 in the final term to win by 24 points, 9.18 (72) to 6.12 (48).
"We didn't play our best footy today, but credit to YCW, they got themselves up for it and played some good footy," injured Bridgewater coach Andrew Collins said.
"We asked for a special effort in the last quarter and a few of our better players stood up and delivered.
"It can be tough getting yourself up week after week, but we did when it mattered today and got the four points."
Ruckman Josh Metherell, Zeb Broadbent, Deon Jones and Marc Lindsay led the way for the Mean Machine.
YCW coach Pat Jess was disappointed to squander a three quarter-time lead - a position that's likely to be a rarity for opposition against the four-time defending champions this year.
"It was our fitness and a few crucial errors from fatigue in that last quarter that hurt us," Jess said.
"They lifted a cog in that last quarter and we just couldn't match it with them."
The key area of focus for the Eagles was an improved defensive effort after they had leaked an average of 113 points per game in their first five matches.
"We've scored well ourselves, but our defence across the ground has been fairly lacklustre, so we worked on that," Jess said.
"We really wanted to tighten up defensively today and have a low-scoring match, and we were able to do that for the first three quarters, and our attack on the footy was the best it has been this season, but simple errors hurt us, so we've still got a lot to work on."
Didak, 31, spent most of the game up forward for the Eagles and was opposed by the Mean Machine's Tristin Nalder.
"From a club perspective it was a success... there was a good crowd considering the weather," Jess said.
"Alan would be the first to admit he didn't set the game on fire in terms of his performance, but he may have lifted everyone in the group to give an extra five per cent.
"The pleasing thing for me is we didn't have to rely on him... he didn't kick a goal or get a lot of the ball, but we were able to compete well with the best side and that was purely us playing positive footy."
Harley Dunlop, Levi Moss, Tim Wood (two goals) and Leighton Driscoll - who has been in the best every week - were the better players for the Eagles.
• It was the "Rhys Ford Show" at Inglewood as the Newbridge full-forward booted 15 goals in the Maroons' 193-point flogging of the Blues.
With recruit Ford - who had 21 shots at goal - unstoppable inside 50, the Maroons won 32.21 (213) to 3.2 (20) and boosted their percentage from 124.4 to 200.0.
"It was a big effort from Rhys today... he had a real day out," Newbridge coach Matt Dillon said.
"The beauty of all his goals is he worked really hard for them in terms of one-on-one contested marks, and he gave a few off as well. It was one of the best games I've seen."
Ford's 15 goals were the most by a Newbridge player since another ex-Castlemaine player, Scott Carson, kicked 15 - also against Inglewood - in round four, 2006.
As well as Ford - who now has 30 goals from four games for his new club - the Maroons also had David Carroll boot six.
Ford, Jordan Gilboy, Jack Fowler, Lachlan Ford and Billy Price were named the best in the rout for the Maroons, who kicked five goals in the first quarter, nine in the second, seven in the third and 11 in the last.
Newbridge held Inglewood scoreless during the second and third terms, with Dillon pleased his side didn't take the foot off the pedal after the game was over at half-time.
"We really challenged the boys to play four quarters today, keep the intensity up and stick to the way we want to play, and the boys ticked all those boxes," Dillon said.
It was a tough day for new Inglewood coach Isaac Douthie after the Blues had shown signs early in the season of being more competitive.
"No-one turned up to play, a lot of the blokes didn't show any heart out there and it was the worst game for us this year," Douthie said.
"All credit to Newbridge. They are a really good team with good-sized bodies, and our boys just need to stick together and keep trying to improve."
Josh Essex, Brandon Worner and Jayden Sheean were the best for the Blues.
• Bears Lagoon-Serpentine overhauled a 31-point half-time deficit to defeat Mitiamo.
After a woeful first half in front of goal, which included kicking 0.8 in the first quarter, the Bears trailed the Superoos 10.2 to 3.13 at the main break.
But the Bears straightened up after half-time, kicking 9.7 to 3.2 to record a 12.20 (92) to 13.4 (82) victory and win their third game in a row.
"We had a lot of the ball in the first half and we were doing a lot of things right, we just couldn't kick goals," Bears coach Damien Featherby said.
"But we were able to get more value for our shots in the second half and turn it around on the scoreboard, which was pleasing."
The Bears had better players in Jye Sandiford, Daniel Hayes, ruckman James Orr and experienced midfielder Nathan McNally.
Mitiamo is now 0-4, with the Superoos giving up a three quarter-time lead for the third time this season.
The Superoos, thanks to their superior conversion, had been 12 points up at the final change.
"We went into our shells and just didn't finish the game off in the second half," Mitiamo coach Denis Grinton said.
"We're not fit enough and bad turnovers in crucial parts of the ground hurt us."
Brent Fitzgerald (two goals), Aaron McKean, Brayden Baines and James Drake were the best players for the Superoos, who in the three games they have led at three quarter-time against Pyramid Hill, Calivil United and the Bears have been outscored by 20, 35 and 22 points in final terms.
• Undefeated Pyramid Hill handed Calivil United its biggest loss for more than 20 years, belting the Demons by 116 points at Mitchell Park.
The Bulldogs raced to a 56-point lead at quarter-time on the way to their 21.24 (150) to 4.10 (34) victory.
"We started well and that first quarter (8.9 to 0.1) was the best we've played this year," said Bulldogs coach Paul Grayling, who again imposed himself on the contest with seven goals.
"We could have converted a bit better, but I thought we were fairly good all over the ground."
Utility Danny Bateman, who snared five goals, Grayling, Craig Crichton across half-back and midfielder Linc Withers were prominent for the Bulldogs.
Jordan Lea, Glen Scholtes (two goals), Brad Masson and Caleb Smith battled hard for the outclassed Demons.