A FITTING NICKNAME

Bridgewater lives up to Mean Machine moniker

Bridgewater coach Andy Collins.

Bridgewater coach Andy Collins.

THERE's no doubt "Mean Machine" is one of the more peculiar nicknames for a club in country footy.

So peculiar, in fact, one of the new journos at the Addy asked on Friday while looking through Footy Focus if Mean Machine was the legitimate nickname for Bridgewater - not just given to the club by the sports department this year on the back of its dominance.

But I informed newbie Adam it is most certainly a real-deal nickname and one that Bridgewater has well and truly lived up to in the Loddon Valley Football League this year as the four-time reigning premiers have lifted their game to a whole new level under new coach Andy Collins (pictured).

To complete a home and away season undefeated is a rare achievement and one that Bridgewater accomplished on Saturday with its 125-point win over Calivil United.

The Demons had been the last team to go through an LVFL season undefeated back in 2005, while they also didn't lose a game in 2004 in what were two seasons during the club's extraordinary run of six flags in a row, which the Mean Machine no doubt have their eye on.

While a 16-0 win-loss record epitomises the brilliance of Bridgewater, a look at the Mean Machine's season-ending percentage indicates their level of dominance is perhaps one never seen before in the LVFL.

As much as win-loss records tell the tale of a season, percentages always give that extra level of insight into how a side has performed based on its ability to both attack and defend.

Since 1980, the team that has topped the LVFL ladder has had an average percentage of 190.7, but the Mean Machine surpassed that average this year by almost 100 as they coupled their 16-0 record with a monster percentage of 289.0.

You can't boast a percentage heading towards the 300-mark without strangling the opposition defensively, while putting them to the sword down the other end.

Defensively, the Mean Machine conceded an average of just 47.8 points per game through their combination of a well-drilled defence and the midfield's ability with their pressure to deny the opposition quality inside 50 supply.

Offensively, the Mean Machine averaged 138.2 points per game, with there no shortage of players capable of impacting the scoreboard.

The loss of full-forward Alex Collins to a knee injury against Pyramid Hill in round seven has added the element of unpredictability to the Mean Machine, which has been highlighted in the fact that not one Bridgewater player has kicked more than 50 goals.

Instead, they've had five between 22 and 48 - Brad Rohde (48), Andrew Collins (42 in eight games), Zeb Broadbent (31), Darren Clutton (26) and Zac East (22) - and another nine players between 10 and 19 goals.

With the LVFL finals to kick-off this weekend, the Mean Machine have set an enormous benchmark during the home and away season for the other four teams - Pyramid Hill, BL-Serpentine, Newbridge and Marong - to reach and then surpass if they are to deny Bridgewater a fifth-straight flag.

Of the finalists, only Marong has finished within six goals of Bridgewater, but as coach Collins would be preaching to his players, that all means nothing now and there's no medals handed out for finishing on top of the ladder - it's all about being the best side when it counts in finals.

•  LVFL top five percentages since 1980:

2014 - Bridgewater, 289.0 (16-0).

1997 - YCW, 253.5 (15-1).

2003 - Mitiamo, 248.5 (16-2).

1985 - Bridgewater, 246.0 (16-0)

2005 - Calivil United, 240.0 (16-0).

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