FOR the second year in a row Pyramid Hill has ended Marong’s season in the Loddon Valley Football League first semi-final.
The Bulldogs kept alive their premiership aspirations on Sunday with a 29-point victory, prevailing 12.8 (80) to 7.9 (51) at Bridgewater.
The win sends the Bulldogs into this Saturday’s preliminary final against Bears Lagoon-Serpentine.
The Bulldogs led at every change and were able to keep scoreboard pressure on the Panthers all game after opening a 20-point lead at quarter-time, 4.4 to 1.2.
“It wasn’t a pretty game and very ugly at times, but we fought it out and got the job done,” Pyramid Hill coach Paul Grayling said.
“When it gets to finals, it doesn’t matter how it looks, just as long as you get the win.
“To Marong’s credit they had a real crack, but probably just ran out of legs in the end.”
The best player for Pyramid Hill was Balraj Singh, who played in the ruck and also pushed back in defence to repel many of the Panthers’ forward thrusts.
Midfielders Bryden Morison and Gavin James and backmen Michael Bateman, Bradley Driscoll and Brad Fawcett were also among the better players for the Bulldogs.
Sam Kennedy kicked four goals for Pyramid Hill.
Next Saturday against the Bears at Calivil will be the seventh-consecutive preliminary final the Bulldogs have played in as they continue to chase that elusive premiership since their last flag 64 years ago in 1950.
Marong had been within two goals of the Bulldogs at three quarter-time and was kicking to the scoring end in the final term, but could only manage one goal to Pyramid Hill’s four.
“We were right in it at three quarter-time, but they played the better style of football,” Marong coach Corey Gregg said.
“We turned the ball over a lot under pressure and just weren’t good enough on the day.”
Defenders Josh Cooper and Jay Reardon were named the best for the Panthers.
Cooper played on Grayling and Reardon had the job on Troy Parker, with both defenders only having two goals kicked on them.
Gregg through the midfield worked hard to lift his side, while Lachlan Frankel, who played on Kennedy, Craig Morris (two goals) and ruckman Chris Morgan were also named in the best for the Panthers, who are yet to get past the second week of the finals since their 2004 grand final appearance.
“It’s all about building again for next year now,” Gregg said.
“We’ve got a really good group of young players... we’re just lacking a couple of key position players, which we’ll target in the off-season and have another crack again next year.”