Bulldogs dominate Eagles to win Loddon Valley under-18 premiership

ON paper it promised plenty – the two evenly-matched standout teams of the competition facing off for the Loddon Valley league under-18 premiership.

But the reality was Saturday’s clash between Pyramid Hill and Maiden Gully YCW Eagles didn’t live up to the lofty expectations.

The Bulldogs were simply far too good in denying the Eagles back-to-back premierships with a commanding 50-point victory at Serpentine, 12.7 (79) to 4.5 (29).

Pyramid Hill held the Eagles scoreless in the opening term and already had what would prove to be a winning score on the board at quarter-time when it led 5.2 to 0.0.

“We went into the game believing it was a 50-50 contest and that whoever played the best footy would win the game,” Pyramid Hill coach Nathan Fitzpatrick said.

“We got off to really good start… our contested ball in the middle and pressure was fantastic and the first quarter really set it up for us.

“The passion that the players have shown this year has been super and I’m proud of the whole group.”

The AFL Victoria Country Medal for best on ground was awarded to Bulldogs’ midfielder Steven Gunther, who kicked two goals.

Saturday capped a big year for Gunther, who also impressed in 15 games in the seniors.

“He was best-on in three of our finals and was fantastic again today,” Fitzpatrick said.

Adam Dwyer in the centre and Ben Dalton, who came out of retirement mid-season, were also among the Bulldogs’ standout players.

Pyramid Hill’s lively James Vlaeminck outscored the Eagles off his own boot, kicking five goals.

As well as Vlaeminck’s five and Gunther’s two, the Bulldogs also had Hayden Webb chip in with two goals.

Defender Brad Moon, only 14, had the big job on Eagles’ spearhead Tyler James and held the 2017 centurion to just one goal.

“He played against him in the second half a couple of weeks ago and did a really good job on him,” Fitzpatrick said.

“He played him really well in not getting in any wrestles because he’s smaller and punched from behind all day.”

Saturday was the Bulldogs’ third under-age premiership since they joined the competition in 1995, having also won in 2002 and 2013 in what was then the under-17s.

The Eagles were best served by Drew Harris, Jye Strauss and Taylor Collins.