ARCH-RIVALS Bridgewater and Newbridge will lock horns in today’s Loddon Valley Football League grand final.
Bridgewater is chasing a hat-trick of flags for the first time in its history, while Newbridge will be striving to win its first premiership since 2000.
LUKE WEST takes a look at eight of the key players in the grand final to be played at Inglewood Recreation Reserve from 2.15pm..
DARREN CLUTTON – the Mean Machine captain is the best swingman in the LVFL, and arguably, the No.1 player in the competition. Has been named in defence, where he has a superb ability to cut off opposition attacks with his reading of the play, but can also push forward and have an impact.
ZAC EAST – the first-year Bridgewater co-coach is as classy a player as you will find in the LVFL. A slick user of the ball who can carve opposition sides up through the midfield, or inside 50, where he has kicked 27 goals. Runner-up in the Harding Medal.
BRAD ROHDE – for the second year in a row the full-forward is the LVFL’s leading goalkicker, despite missing three games. He has booted 70 goals, which includes a bag of nine against Newbridge in round four. Four times he kicked eight or more goals during the season. Kicked six in last year’s grand final win against Pyramid Hill, but it would have been 16 had he taken every opportunity he had.
TAYLOR STRACHAN – one of the recruits of the season in the LVFL after joining Bridgewater from Sandhurst. Athletic big man who will start in the ruck, but will also push forward, where he will be a handful for the Maroons’ defenders.
CHRIS ENDRES – captained Kilcunda Bass to a premiership in the Alberton league last year, and has been a jet in his first season with the Maroons. Only played one of the
Maroons’ first five games, but after his delayed start got better every week. Complete footballer who is part of the Maroons’ midfield brigade, and has also booted 24 goals in his 15 games. Polled 13 votes in the Harding Medal and definitely a player to watch today.
JEFF McMURTRIE – in his second season at the Maroons, he is one of the most damaging players in the competition, who has been in strong form over the past month. Plays through the midfield, but is also a livewire up forward. Is the Maroons’ leading goalkicker with 40 and is a proven big-game performer, having won a best-on-ground medal in a winning Harcourt grand final team.
BRAD COMER – returned this season to Newbridge, where he was a member of the club’s 2007 losing grand final side, of which he was co-captain. Super midfielder, who is a tireless worker and boasts a strong footballing CV. Like McMurtrie, also mixes his midfield role with that of a goalkicker, having kicked 27.
TRENT McINNES – key forward, who looms as an X-factor today. Has been restricted to just 11 games and 22 goals this season, but when he’s up and about, he can tear a game apart. Kicked three goals in the preliminary final win over Pyramid Hill last week and shapes as a headache for the Bridgewater defenders.