PYRAMID Hill maintained its unblemished record in the Loddon Valley Football League this season with a five-point win over Bears Lagoon-Serpentine on Saturday.
In what was the closest match of the LVFL season so far, the Bulldogs recovered from a 22-point deficit at half-time to win 17.14 (116) to 17.9 (111) at Serpentine.
The Bulldogs stormed their way back into the contest during the third quarter.
Having kicked seven goals in the first half, the Bulldogs slammed on 8.4 to 3.3 in the third term to go from 22 points down at half-time to nine points up at three quarter-time.
In what was a tense final term, the Bulldogs adding 2.4 to the Bears' 3.2 was enough to ensure a five-point win in the LVFL's first single-figure margin of the season.
"It was a good win and a really spirited win, so we're happy with how things are going," Pyramid Hill coach Paul Grayling said.
Of the second-half turnaround when the Bulldogs kicked 10 goals to six, Grayling said: "Basically, the blokes started doing what they were told.
"We were patchy at a few things I asked of the boys early, but we played with more determination in the second half, stuck to our plans, got a few match-ups right and got the result.
"In the end it was a very good team effort."
Bears Lagoon-Serpentine has been a bogey side in recent seasons for Pyramid Hill. The Bears had beaten the Bulldogs four of their previous five meetings, including last year's preliminary final.
Impressive youngster Liam Bartels (three goals), veteran midfielder Linc Withers and Bryden Morison were all influential for the Bulldogs, while Grayling continues to prove a headache for opposition defenders.
Grayling kicked five goals, keeping up his record of kicking at least five in all his matches so far this season.
Sam Kennedy was also a strong target up forward for the Bulldogs with four goals for the second week in a row.
The defeat ended the Bears' three-game winning streak, with last year's grand finalists now 3-3.
Joshua Martyn bagged six goals for the Bears to be in their best players, along with Josh Shaw, Jye Sandiford (three goals) and James North (four goals).
• Mitiamo's finals aspirations took a further hit, with the Superoos copping a 93-point hiding off Bridgewater in their annual battle for the Blue Ribbon Cup.
Bridgewater's 19.15 (129) to 4.12 (36) win at home ensured the Mean Machine remained unbeaten, while the Superoos - after plenty of pre-season hype - are still winless after five games.
"We had one of our better days today," Bridgewater coach Andrew Collins said.
"It was reasonably tight early, but we started to get our game going as it wore on and became more efficient with our inside 50 entries.
"We were very wary of Mitiamo because there's a lot of talent in their recruits and having been in front at three quarter-time in three out of their four games, but our boys played very well today."
The game was still alive at half-time with the deficit a manageable 26 points for Mitiamo.
But Bridgewater blew the game wide open after half-time, adding 13 goals to two.
The Mean Machine had a spread of 10 goalkickers, led by full-forward Alex Collins' bag of seven.
But what again pleased coach Collins the most was the defensive work of the Mean Machine to restrict the Superoos to four goals.
Bridgewater has conceded just 30 goals in its five games, with its defensive pressure and ability to limit the opposition on the scoreboard going to another level this year.
To gauge a defensive comparison on the previous four years when Bridgewater won four flags, after five games the Mean Machine had conceded 47 goals last year, 38 in 2012, 52 in 2011 and 42 in 2010.
"The team defence aspect of our game is going really well at the moment, but there's still plenty we can get better at," Collins said.
Reigning Harding medallist Adam Parry, key defender Daniel Nalder and Zeb Broadbent (two goals) were the best for Bridgewater.
Brayden Baines kicked three of the Superoos' four goals. Baines was one of Mitiamo's better players, along with Daniel Meroli, Aaron McKean and Matthew Perri.
• Marong spoiled Calivil United's annual return to Raywood, defeating the Demons by 44 points.
The Panthers got the jump on the Demons early, leading by 27 points at quarter-time en route to a 21.14 (140) to 14.12 (96) win.
Having been dominated by Calivil United for so long - Marong never beat the Demons between 2002 and 2010 - it's now four wins in a row for the Panthers against their long-time nemesis.
"The guys were really primed for this one after losing our first game against Pyramid Hill and then having the bye last week," Marong coach Corey Gregg said.
"With Calivil having copped a bit of a touch-up last week, we were expecting them to come out really hard, but we were able to get away to a really good start, kicking the first six goals.
"We were able to hold that six-goal buffer for most of the day. There were a few times when we got it out to eight or nine goals, but we'd then go back into our shell and they'd get a bit of a run-on.
"That's disappointing from my perspective because I really want us to keep the foot on the floor and be pressing on, but at the end of the day, we got the four points."
Midfielder Craig Morris (two goals) again asserted his presence on the contest for the Panthers, along with Nathan Devanny and centre half-forward Richard Tibbett, while Josh McKee (four), Daniel Turcarelli (four) and Gregg (three) kicked 11 goals between them.
The best for the Demons, who in their past two games have trailed by 27 and 56 points at quarter-time, were Jordan Lea (three goals), Anthony Dennis (two goals) and Henry Miller.
• Third-placed Newbridge defeated YCW by 50 points at Riverside Park, winning 16.16 (112) to 9.8 (62).
The Maroons set the win up early when they led by 35 points at half-time.
Castlemaine recruits Lachlan Ford, Jordan Gilboy and ruckman Angus Fortune were top performers for the Maroons.
Maroons' full-forward Rhys Ford followed his 15 goals up last week with six to move to 36 for the season. Shaun Knott chipped in with four.
The better players for the Eagles - who kicked six of their nine goals in the third quarter - were the consistent Tim Wood, Nicholas Waterson and David Millard.
Matthew Waterson was the Eagles' only multiple goalkicker with four.
"We gave ourselves a chance at three quarter-time when we got the margin back to 21 points, but it's the same old story of we couldn't finish off," YCW coach Pat Jess said.
"Against the top sides in the competition you have to play for four quarters and we didn't do that today, which is frustrating when I know what we're capable of."