NEWBRIDGE'S impressive form in the Loddon Valley Football League continued on Saturday as it defeated Pyramid Hill by 21 points.
In what was a clash of two top-three teams, the Maroons unleashed a strong third term to win 14.15 (99) to 11.12 (78) at Riverside Park and improve to 6-1.
The Maroons had led by three points at half-time, but gained control during the third term when they added 5.11 to 1.1 to kick away from the Bulldogs.
"It was one of those grinding wins that probably wouldn't have been pretty to watch," Newbridge coach Matt Dillon said.
"Our forward pressure in that third quarter was really good and one of the things that probably turned the game for us.
"It was just a really good, hard footy contest and we're obviously very happy to get the win against a quality side like Pyramid Hill."
Brad Comer and Rhys Ford both kicked four goals for the Maroons - who are carrying the tag as the "best of the rest" behind Bridgewater - while David Carroll chipped in with three.
Jack Fowler off half-back was the Maroons' best. Fellow defenders Josh White, who played on Bulldogs' coach Paul Grayling, and Luke Jones, who had the job on Sam Kennedy, also figured in Newbridge's better players.
Another of the Maroons' standouts was recruit Lachlan Ford, who continues to firm as a top Harding Medal contender.
The loss was the second in a row for Pyramid Hill and cost the Bulldogs their position in the top three.
"We were ordinary for more than just the third quarter," said Grayling, who kicked two goals for the Bulldogs.
"We started the game okay, but concentration lapses and lack of communication really hurt us. We just allowed Newbridge to dictate terms."
Impressive youngster Liam Bartels, Leigh Davies in defence and Balraj Singh led the better players for the Bulldogs, whose two losses in a row to Newbridge and Bridgewater followed their 5-0 start to the season.
• Mitiamo finally broke through for its first win of the season against Inglewood.
In what was a clash of two teams chasing their first victories of the season, the Superoos trailed at each of the first three breaks, but dominated the final term to win 18.7 (115) to 11.8 (74) at Inglewood.
The Superoos were remarkably accurate after half-time, kicking 14.1.
Mitiamo's 14.1 in the second half included 9.1 in the final term after the Superoos had kicked just nine goals for the first three quarters.
"The game opened up a bit in the second half and we were more controlled when we had the footy," Mitiamo coach Denis Grinton said.
"We weren't just bombing the ball away like we did in the first half and we took our chances in front of goal."
The long-awaited victory was the Superoos' first since they defeated Inglewood by 19 points in round 13, last year, with the club having lost its previous 10 games since.
"It's fantastic for the club and gives all the volunteers and the unsung heroes a bit of happiness and belief that we're on the right path," said Grinton, who kicked two goals.
Centre half-back Spike Ingley was Mitiamo's best player, while Matthew Perri proved one of the game-breakers, kicking five goals in the last quarter when pushed forward.
Aaron McKean, who was again superb for the Superoos, and Brayden Baines (three goals) were other standout performers.
Inglewood led by one point at three quarter-time, but ran out of legs in the last quarter as its overall losing streak extended to 20 games in a row.
"I asked the boys to dig deep today and they did, but we let it slip in the last quarter," Inglewood coach Isaac Douthie said.
"We started well, but to Mitiamo's credit, they got on top of us and we couldn't keep up, but from where we've come from (three 100-point losses in a row previously) it was a pretty good effort."
The best players for the Blues were midfielders/half-forwards Justin Williams (two goals) and Jayden Sheean, plus Joshua Essex.
• Bridgewater's domination continued as the reigning premiers dished out a 72-point hiding to Marong at Laser Plumbing Bendigo Oval.
The Mean Machine won 20.11 (131) to 8.11 (59) in a game where they were already 58 points up at half-time.
In his first game for Bridgewater, former Richmond AFL player Daniel Connors, who is on VFL club Port Melbourne's list, bagged four goals to be one of the Mean Machine's best in his return from a hand injury.
"Daniel was really good for us today... he marked the ball well, including a couple of hangers, and finished well in front of goal," Bridgewater coach Andrew Collins said.
As well as Connors - who needs to play four LVFL games to qualify for finals with Bridgewater - the Mean Machine also welcomed-back Bendigo-Gold listed Alexander Pollock after a lay-off with a knee problem.
"Alex played down back today and was excellent in that role," Collins said.
Key forward Brad Rohde continued his consistent season for the Mean Machine, kicking six goals and now has 32 for the season.
The silky Zac East (two goals), Luke Harrison and reigning Harding medallist Adam Parry also impressed in what was Bridgewater's ninth win in a row against Marong.
The Panthers squandered chances early to put scoreboard pressure on Bridgewater, kicking 1.6 in the first quarter before the game was quickly out of reach by half-time.
"Bridgewater is a class side with good players across every line and that showed out today," Marong coach Corey Gregg said.
"They hit their targets, whereas we kept making mistakes and they were able to get repeat entries inside 50 and put the score on the board.
"We were in the contest in the first quarter, but didn't kick straight and didn't put pressure on the scoreboard. Our intensity dropped probably 10 per cent in the second quarter, and that's all it takes for a good side like Bridgewater to kick away."
The best players for the Panthers in their second loss in a row were led by their three most consistent players in Nathan Devanny, Craig Morris and Gregg.
• Bears Lagoon-Serpentine has moved into the top three for the first time this season after belting Calivil United by 98 points.
The Bears won 23.20 (158) to 9.6 (60) at Serpentine in a game where the Demons kicked just two goals in the first three quarters, but added nine in the last to add some respectability to their score.
Recruit Jye Sandiford (five goals) continues to impress for the Bears to be their best player.
Nick Arthur, ruckman James Orr and Nathan McNally were also among the most damaging for the Bears, while in his first game for the club, star midfield recruit Gareth Bowes (two goals) had an immediate impact.
Joshua Martyn, Cody Gunn and another new player in his first game, Leroy Larson, all kicked three goals for the Bears.
After losing their first two games, the Bears are now 5-3 and in third position.
The loss was Calivil United's third in a row, with the Demons again jumped early when they trailed by 36 points at quarter-time.
"We were blown away early, but I thought the boys battled away all game and we were obviously pleased to finish with seven goals in the last quarter," Demons coach Andrew Freemantle said.
"We were beaten by a much better side today."
Caleb Smith, Anthony Dennis and Glen Scholtes (three goals) battled hard for the struggling Demons.