CALIVIL United lived up to its top-of-the-ladder status and is carrying the tag as the team to beat in the Loddon Valley after toppling Bridgewater on Saturday.
In the keenly-anticipated 1 v 2 clash at Calivil, the Demons maintained their unblemished record in winning 14.6 (90) to 10.13 (73).
The defeat was the second of the year for Bridgewater in what’s the first time the Mean Machine have suffered more than one loss in a season since 2013.
“It was a good win and a chance to set our season up with the way some other results fell, but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves… there’s still a lot of footy to be played this year,” Demons coach Anthony Dennis said.
The game was up for grabs at three quarter-time with the Demons holding a slender five-point advantage.
However, unlike last week when the Mean Machine came from behind to run over the top of Maiden Gully YCW Eagles in the final term, Bridgewater was outplayed in the last quarter as the determined Demons kicked four goals to two to win by 17 points.
The victory was Calivil United’s first over Bridgewater since 2010.
“It was a tug-of-war all day, but we had a few lucky bounces go our way in the last quarter that we were able to get a few goals from,” Dennis said.
“It wasn’t both teams best footy, but it was a good, competitive match.”
The Demons lost forward Braydan Knox (back) and Sam Brinsmead (concussion) in the first half.
Bryce Curnow continued his good form for the Demons, kicking five goals to take his season tally to 20.
Ben Haines on the wing and across half-forward, defender Matt Magee and ruckman Chris Down were also among the better players for the Demons.
Bridgewater was left to lament missed opportunities, having had 23 scoring shots to the Demons’ 20, while having Alex Pollock yellow carded in the third term didn’t help its cause.
“It’s hard to put the finger on what went wrong today… they are a good side and were too good for us on the day,” Bridgewater coach Marc Lindsay said.
“We were in it for a long period of the game, but in the last 10 minutes they were able to kick some crucial goals and we weren’t able to do it down the other end.”
Captain Zeb Broadbent, who is having another top year through the midfield, Lindsay and forward Alex Collins (four goals) led the best players for Bridgewater.
The Mean Machine losing two of their first six games this season comes after they had lost just two of their previous 61.
• Pyramid Hill has fired its first major salvo of the season in beating Mitiamo by 25 points.
The Bulldogs won their second game in kicking eight goals to three after after quarter-time to win 11.8 (74) to 6.13 (49) against the wasteful Superoos at Mitiamo.
“We certainly needed that win today and treated it a bit like a mini-final. If we had dropped that one it would have made it really hard work to make finals,” Bulldogs co-coach Brad Fawcett said.
“We needed to take a scalp and were able to do it.
“It was pleasing that the way we played today was good team-first footy, we started to move the ball well and hopefully, we can start to build some momentum from it.”
The Bulldogs were well served by Nick Dundon off half-back, Steven Gunther and hard-working onballer Billy Micevski (two goals), who continued his consistent start to the season.
Coach Justin Maddern kicked two of the six goals for the up-and-down Superoos, who had good players in recruits Luke Scott and Jarryd Wiegard and ruckman Mitch Sidebottom.
The Superoos have plenty of time to stew on the loss with a 21-day break.
• Maiden Gully YCW Eagles kicked the last two goals of its game to clinch a thrilling one-point win over Marong.
The 12.4 (76) to 10.15 (75) victory was the Eagles’ first win at their new Marist College home ground and ended their three-game losing streak.
The victory was the Eagles’ first over Marong since 2011, breaking a string of 10 losses in a row against the Panthers.
Continuing the trend of losing teams paying the price for poor conversion, the Panthers were beaten despite having 25 scoring shots to the Eagles’ 16.
The Eagles trailed by 11 points with six minutes to play, but kicked the last two goals through Brayden Aitken and captain Cohen Kekich, and were able to hold on in the dying stages, which included Patrick Cummins taking a key contested mark in defence 20m out from the Panthers’ goal.
“We didn’t play overly well and the conditions made it fairly hard for both sides, but we were fortunate to be on the right end of the scoreboard when the siren went,” Eagles coach Daniel Francis said.
“It was good to get some reward after not getting the job done last week (against Bridgewater).
“There were a couple of close moments in the last minute after we got in front, but it was pleasing the way we were able to hang on.”
Kekich (two goals) and Aitken (four goals) were the best players for the Eagles, who also had Jack Wakefield and Cummins among their key contributors.
The one-point loss leaves the Panthers with a 1-4 record.
Ryan Wellington was again a good target in attack for the Panthers with four goals and was one of their best players, along with recruit Jarrod Fitzpatrick, who has made a ripping start for his new club, and Lachlan Frankel.
• Bears Lagoon-Serpentine kept Inglewood winless, while improving its record to 4-1 with a 36-point victory.
In what was another competitive round in the Loddon Valley, the Bears’ 14.14 (98) to 9.8 (62) win at Inglewood was the biggest margin of the day.
The Bears won all four quarters to move into second position on the ladder.
“It was a fairly scrappy affair, but to Inglewood’s credit they had a dip and were able to slow the game down and play it on their terms for a bit,” Bears coach Greg Gadsden said.
“But we were able to break away towards the end of the game.”
Rhys Deacon up forward was the Bears’ best player, kicking five goals, while James Rippingale chipped in with three. Charlie Gadsden and Nick Arthur were also prominent for the competition’s big improvers.
Inglewood was coached by Tim Hawken in the absence of co-coaches Jon Starr and Ryan McNish, who both served the first of two-match suspensions stemming from incidents with the umpires after the previous week’s loss to Marong.
Forward Shane Harris kicked four of the Blues’ nine goals and was their best player, while Daniel Lloyd and Brandon Worner, who has been their most consistent player this season, also battled hard in defeat.