LVFNL GRAND FINALIST – CALIVIL UNITED

ONCE a staple of Loddon Valley league grand final day, Calivil United makes its return to the big stage for the first time in seven years on Saturday.

The Demons take on Bridgewater for the 2017 premiership at Serpentine.

Calivil United hasn’t played off for the flag since 2010 – a 115-point loss to Bridgewater – in what was the last of nine grand finals in a row for the Demons.

Coached by Anthony Dennis, the Demons will be aiming to put the finishing touch to a 2017 campaign in which they were the standout team of the home and away season, finishing four games clear on top of the ladder.

Calivil United goes into the grand final with a 16-2 record for the season, with both losses having come against their opponents on Saturday, the Mean Machine, in games they surrendered half-time leads of 15 and 39 points in.

How will the Demons handle the second half this time should they again be in front at the main break?

While the Demons are striving for the ultimate team success on Saturday, they have two players who have already claimed two of the Loddon Valley league’s individual awards.

Captain Ben Knight polled 25 votes to win the Harding Medal, while Bryce Curnow ended the home and away season as the competition’s leading goalkicker with 76.

Curnow has since added seven more – including five against Bridgewater in the nine-point second semi-final loss – to go into Saturday’s grand final with 83.

Curnow is one of five players, along with Vincent Rodi (46), Knight (26), Luke Marchesi (23) and Lachlan O’Neil (20), who have kicked at least 20 goals for the season, with the quintet all hitting the scoreboard in last week’s 37-point preliminary final win over Newbridge.

Saturday’s side includes only Caleb Smith who was part of Calivil United’s last premiership team.

That was 2008 when the Demons beat Pyramid Hill by 68 points to win their sixth flag in a row – a streak that has since been surpassed by Bridgewater having won the past seven.