Machine delivers in style

CLASS: Zac East was one of Bridgewater's best players against Pyramid Hill.

CLASS: Zac East was one of Bridgewater's best players against Pyramid Hill.

ANOTHER game - another challenger taken care of by Bridgewater in the Loddon Valley Football League.

Saturday's top-of-the-ladder clash between the unbeaten Pyramid Hill and Bridgewater at Mitchell Park promised plenty.

But just like the Mean Machine did in their much-hyped round one grand final rematch against Bears Lagoon-Serpentine, they turned the game into a fizzer with an 84-point win, 20.17 (137) to 8.5 (53).

The Mean Machine continued to assert their authority the longer the game wore on.

After leading by 24 points at half-time, Bridgewater piled on 12 goals to four after the break in a clinical performance from the club that after winning the past four flags has taken its game to another level this year.

"I was very pleased with the effort of our side today," Bridgewater coach Andy Collins said.

"It was a very good four-quarter performance, which is what we want; we're trying to be a really ruthless side.

"We had a lot of good players on the ground and it was just a very even team effort."

The Mean Machine lost full-forward Alex Collins (two goals) with a knee injury early, but in his absence, the switch of Darren Clutton from defence to attack proved telling.

Clutton's renowned as one of the premier defenders in the LVFL, but he also showed his wares up forward with a haul of six goals.

"Darren's marking was really strong, and his pressure when the ball hit the ground was also very good," Collins said.

Brad Rohde was also damaging inside 50 for the Mean Machine, bagging seven goals. 

Clutton and Rohde were among Bridgewater's best players, while the Mean Machine's standout was midfielder Zeb Broadbent, who continued his stellar season.

"Zeb has been super consistent for us all season and was fantastic again today. He's having a fantastic year," Collins said.

The Bridgewater defence was again at its measly best, with Pyramid Hill restricted to eight goals after averaging 17.8 in its first five games.

Pyramid Hill coach Paul Grayling was bitterly disappointed with his side's performance.

"We started okay, but just dropped off. They worked harder than us and out-ran us," said Grayling, who was held goalless by Daniel Nalder.

"They were consistently good all day and we were very patchy, which you can't afford to be against the top side.

"We've got to bring a different attitude to beat them. As good as they are, they are beatable, but it's going to take a good side on a good day to do it."

Leigh Davies, Linc Withers and Dylan Morison were named the best for the Bulldogs in their biggest loss since their 99-point hammering from Bridgewater in the 2012 grand final.

• For the second game in a row, Bears Lagoon-Serpentine was involved in a game decided by less than a kick, but this time was on the right side of the result.

The Bears came from 11 points down at three quarter-time to defeat Marong by three points, 13.13 (91) to 13.10 (88), in the closest game of the season so far.

The game at Marong Links Oval looked to be slipping from the Bears during the last term, but they kicked the final three goals of the match - including two to Brodie Leonard-Shannon after he was switched forward - to win a crucial clash between two top-five teams.

It was a see-sawing contest in which the Bears led by 22 points at half-time.

However, the Panthers gained the momentum during the third quarter when they kicked 5.3 to 0.0, before the game went down to the wire in the final term.

"We were disappointed with how we played through certain stages of the game, but we just needed to win it," Bears coach Damien Featherby said.

"We lacked a bit of effort in the third quarter, but we lifted in the last and got the win.

"If you can find ways to win when you're not playing your best footy, it's not a bad sign."

Onballer Nathan McNally, ruckman James Orr, Leonard-Shannon (two goals) and Tim OHare led the better players for the Bears, who the previous round lost to Pyramid Hill by five points.

Josh Martyn and James North kicked three goals each as the Bears improved to 4-3.

In what was Marong's second loss of the season, Nathan Devanny (two goals), the experienced Lee Franklin, coach Corey Gregg and Kyle Manley were the best of the Panthers players.

• YCW inflicted Inglewood's third-consecutive defeat by more than 100 points.

The Eagles won their second game of the season with their 23.17 (155) to 5.7 (37) demolition of the Blues at Backhaus Oval.

Matthew Waterson (eight), Steven O'Keefe (six) and Daine Lowry (four) kicked 18 goals between them for the Eagles, who were already 72 points up at half-time after holding the Blues goalless.

"The things we've been working on fell in place, so I was really pleased with the effort today," YCW coach Pat Jess said.

"We dropped off a bit in the third quarter, but we responded well in the last quarter and ran the game out strongly, which is good for our confidence and we'll hope to continue that into our next match."

Waterson, consistent defender Leighton Driscoll, David Millard and O'Keefe were the best for the Eagles in their biggest win since beating the Blues by 122 points in round six, 2011.

The winless Inglewood has now lost its past three games by margins of 118 points (YCW), 193 points (Newbridge) and 103 points (Bridgewater).

"There's a good feeling among the boys before the games, but once we got out there it just seems to fall apart," Inglewood coach Isaac Douthie said.

"We played one good quarter, and that was the third, but apart from that, YCW ran all over us the whole day, which is full credit to them.

"I don't have any answers... I'm doing all I can do, so we'll look at making a few changes and continue to work on the areas that we lack in."

Since round 15 last year, the Blues have played 10 games - six of which they've lost by more than 100 points.

"I think all the floggings the players have copped over the years have scarred them and they're so used to it that they don't know how to win anymore," Douthie said.

"But full credit to YCW... they have improved a lot and played really well today."

Brandon Worner, Jye Bryan (three goals) and Jayden Sheean were valiant for the Blues, who kicked four of their five goals in the third quarter.

• Newbridge moved to second on the ladder after defeating Mitiamo by 57 points.

Set up by a flying start when they raced to a 45-point lead at quarter-time, the Maroons won 22.12 (144) to 13.9 (87) at Mitiamo.

"The boys played some good, hard footy today, and to start the way we did was obviously pleasing," said Newbridge coach Matt Dillon, who injured his hamstring in the win.

While key forward Rhys Ford (40 goals for the season) has been starring in attack for the Maroons, they had a spread of 10 goalkickers in their tally of 22 majors.

"Rhys is getting double-teamed every week now, so we've had a real focus of making sure there's more of an even spread and that showed today," Dillon said.

Ford kicked four goals for the Maroons, who again had Jordan Gilboy play an outstanding game.

Shaun Knott (three goals), Justin McEwan and Brad Comer (three goals) were others to impress in the Maroons' fifth win.

For the winless Mitiamo, Aaron McKean kicked four goals. Daniel Meroli, Matthew Perri and Brayden Baines also played well.


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