Round of blowouts to end home and away season

TOP YEAR: Newbridge's Rhys Ford bagged 74 goals to win the goalkicking award.

TOP YEAR: Newbridge's Rhys Ford bagged 74 goals to win the goalkicking award.

THE Loddon Valley Football League home and away season ended with the most one-sided round of the year on Saturday.

Three of the games were decided by more than 100 points, with the closest match of the round the 59 points Mitiamo defeated YCW by.

At Riverside Park, Newbridge restricted Marong to the lowest score of the season in a 103-point belting of the Panthers in what was a preview of their elimination final next Sunday.

The Maroons blitzed the Panthers 18.12 (120) to 2.5 (17) in a what was a margin that Newbridge coach Matt Dillon admitted he never envisaged.

"I was confident we could have a win, but by that margin was not something we expected," Dillon said.

"That's the sort of performance we've been looking for all year and it all just seemed to click today... it was a good four-quarter effort.

"We weren't thinking about the fact we'd probably be playing them again next week, it was just about us going out and playing four quarters."

The Maroons got the jump on the Panthers to lead by 29 points at quarter-time, and with the margin growing to 54 points by half-time, it was game over.

David Carroll kicked five goals for the Maroons, while fellow forward Rhys Ford added four to end the season as the LVFL leading goalkicker with 74.

Ford is the first Newbridge player since Bruce Morcom who kicked 71 in 1991 to win the LVFL senior goalkicking.

Brad Comer, Lachlan Ford, Shaun Knott and Justin McEwan led the better players for the Maroons, who moved from fifth to fourth.

Marong's round 18 shocker came a week after the Panthers had been good enough to push powerhouse Bridgewater for three quarters.

"It was one of those days where we went into the game knowing we'd be playing them the next week and we didn't get our heads into the right space of where it should be," Panthers coach Corey Gregg said.

"We didn't perform at all, which was really disappointing. We turned the ball over all game and weren't prepared to run defensively to the level we have been all year.

"We didn't apply ourselves to the way we expect and allowed Newbridge to get a roll-on and away they went... before we knew it the game was done."

Marong's two goals were kicked by Aaron Collins and Josh McKee, while Callum Williamson, ruckman Chris Morgan and Zac Boyer were the Panthers' best.

The Panthers head into what will be the second year in a row they have played Newbridge in the elimination final with injury concerns over McKee (knee) and Trevor Borg (shoulder).

• Bridgewater put the finishing touch to an undefeated home and away season with a 125-point victory over Calivil United at home.

The Mean Machine won 21.25 (151) to 3.8 (26) in what was a game where they were already 86 points up at half-time.

"It has been a good effort by the boys to get through the home and away season unbeaten, but it means nothing now... it all starts again and we've got to make it count," Bridgewater coach Andy Collins said.

Collins booted seven goals for the Mean Machine to now have 37 in his six games back from a broken collarbone.

Zeb Broadbent and Adam Parry, who both shape as strong Harding Medal contenders, were again dominant through the midfield, while Bendigo Gold-listed Alexander Pollock and Callum Prest (two goals) were also leading contributors.

The Mean Machine - missing three key players in Zac East, Josh McLeod and Deon Jones and having Tom Kuhne stretchered off during the game - spread their 21 goals between 12 players.

"That spread of goalkickers has been one of our strengths all year... good midfielders kick goals and we expect our forwards to kick goals," Collins said.

The Demons ended the season eighth with a 3-13 record, with six of their 13 losses more than 100 points.

"It has obviously been a challenging season, but we're well-placed off-field... we've just got to get it right on-field next year," Demons coach Andrew Freemantle said.

"The boys had a crack today against a very good side, but we just couldn't put the score on the board."

The Demons kicked two of their three goals in the final quarter. Blair Richards, Anthony Dennis and Jordan Lea battled hard for the Demons, whose tally of three wins is the club's lowest  since 1987.

• Pyramid Hill will head into its 11th-straight finals series on the back of a 148-point hiding of Inglewood.

The Bulldogs belted the Blues 24.24 (168) to 2.8 (20) to end the season second - their seventh-consecutive top-three finish.

"I was happy with the effort of the boys today, although, we probably didn't kick as straight as I would have liked," Bulldogs coach Paul Grayling said.

After kicking 0.8 last week, Grayling kicked 7.6 on Saturday for the Bulldogs, who were quick to kill the contest when they led the Blues by 30 points at quarter-time and 62 at half-time.

The Bulldogs kicked 14 of their 24 goals in the second half, with Troy Parker, Jaryd Wishart and Mitchell Dingwall all finishing with three each, while Liam Bartels (two goals), Gavin James and Leigh Davies also impressed.

Pyramid Hill now turns its attention to this Saturday's qualifying final against Bears Lagoon-Serpentine at Backhaus Oval.

The 148-point hiding came a week after the Blues ended their 27-game losing streak against Mitiamo, but it was clear from the outset there would be no back-to-back wins. Although, they weren't helped by needing to call on Lachlan Shawyer, Pat Barry, Nicholas Wharton and Ashley Durie, who had all played in the reserves.

"It was an embarrassing performance today," outgoing Blues coach Isaac Douthie said.

"You could tell before the game we just weren't in the right frame of mind... there was a handful of blokes who turned up to put in an effort and the rest were just passengers."

Darcy Crapper and Joshua Matthews kicked Inglewood's two goals. Joshua Essex, Joe Hartney and Sam Williams all worked hard for the Blues, who ended the season with their fourth wooden spoon in a row.

• Mitiamo ended its season with a 20.18 (138) to 11.13 (79) win over YCW at Backhaus Oval.

The Superoos - coming off their upset loss to Inglewood - blew the game apart in the second term when they slammed on nine goals to two to open a 43-point break at half-time.

Matthew Perri was again a livewire for the Superoos, booting seven goals to finish the season with 42. Joel Whybird added four goals for Mitiamo and Daniel Meroli chipped in with three.

The Superoos ended the season with four wins, which while an improvement on last year, was well below pre-season expectations.

The loss was a disappointing end to Pat Jess' two-year stint as YCW coach, with the up-and-down Eagles squandering the chance to finish the season with a hat-trick of wins.

"It was clear why we lost the game... we weren't prepared to win the hard ball. They wanted it more and we just sat back," Jess said.

The Eagles' three most consistent players this season, David Millard, Leighton Driscoll and Nick Waterson, were their three best on Saturday.

Meanwhile, for the first time since 2003, all five finalists ended the home and away season with at least 10 wins - Bridgewater (16), Pyramid Hill (12), BL-Serpentine (11), Newbridge (10) and Marong (10).

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