FOR so long Bridgewater has been the Loddon Valley club that opposition sides have used as the benchmark to test themselves against.
That’s what happens when you’ve won seven premierships in a row as the Mean Machine has – you’re the yardstick side and hunted every week.
But on Saturday it will be the Mean Machine who will be doing the hunting when they play undefeated top team Calivil United at home.
The Mean Machine are building strongly for a tilt at an eighth flag in a row, but the biggest hurdle they face is shaping as their opponents on Saturday in the Demons, who are carrying the tag as 2017’s team to beat.
The 12-0 Demons sit two games clear at the top of the ladder and can guarantee the minor premiership for the first time since 2005 if they keep their unblemished record intact at Bridgewater.
The Mean Machine are second on the ladder with a 10-3 record and have won their past six games.
“We’re certainly looking forward to Saturday… it’s 1 v 2 on the ladder so it’s fairly clear cut it’s a big game,” said Bridgewater coach Marc Lindsay, who returns to the side from injury.
“We’ll be trying to execute the gamestyle we’ve been working on all year against quality opposition. We know it will be a big challenge with Calivil playing some really good footy, but we’ll be going into the game with a fair bit of pressure on ourselves to perform.”
The game will feature the league’s two leading goalkickers in Calivil United’s Bryce Curnow (61), who has kicked 19 in his past two games, and Bridgewater’s Alex Collins (60), who has kicked at least three in every match so far.
• Saturday’s games – Marong v Maiden Gully YCW Eagles, Bridgewater v Calivil United, Pyramid Hill v Mitiamo, BL-Serpentine v Inglewood. Newbridge bye.
MEANWHILE, the Loddon Valley is set for a thrilling last four rounds as the trio of Bears Lagoon-Serpentine, Pyramid Hill and Mitiamo jostle for the last two spots in the finals.
The three teams are separated by just one game from fourth to sixth on the ladder, with two of them – Pyramid Hill and Mitiamo – meeting Saturday in a pivotal match.
• Run home to finals:
4th – Bears Lagoon-Serpentine (7-5, 113.2%) – v Inglewood (h), v Maiden Gully YCW (h), v Calivil United (h), v Newbridge (a).
5th – Pyramid Hill (6-6, 126.2%) – v Mitiamo (h), v Inglewood (a), v Maiden Gully YCW (h), v Calivil United (a).
6th – Mitiamo (6-7, 111.1%) – v Pyramid Hill (a), bye, v Inglewood (h), v Maiden Gully YCW (a).