Coach: Marc Lindsay (2nd year)
Last year: Premiers
Oliver Cahill, Liam Jacques, Jack Symons
Andy Collins, Callum Prest, Brad Rohde
Sportsbet flag odds: $1.50
Player points: 42
R1: v BL-Serpentine (h)
R2: v Pyramid Hill (a)
R3: v Mitiamo (h)
R4: v Inglewood (a)
PAST FIVE YEARS
How do you improve on seven-straight premierships?
How do you win an eighth-straight flag when three of your premiership stars have left the club?
They are the two key questions facing Bridgewater as the club prepares for the 2017 LVFNL season.
Coach Marc Lindsay is confident the Mean Machine will answer both questions in a positive way.
Andy Collins, Brad Rohde and Callum Prest are hard to replace and Lindsay purposefully didn’t try to replace the trio with similar style players.
Lindsay wanted to get more run in his side and it appears he’s achieved it with the addition of Liam Jacques, Oliver Cahill and Jack Symons.
“We’re really excited about this year,’’ Lindsay said.
“The players we’ve lost means there are opportunities created for others. We’ve got more youth onto our list and with that we have more leg speed and running power compared to what we’ve had in the past five years.
“We’re keen to play a run and carry style of footy.”
The Mean Machine will also regain midfielder/forward Alex Pollock after he missed all of 2016 with a knee injury.
Q&A with Marc Lindsay
Q: Andy Collins, Brad Rohde and Callum Prest averaged eight goals per game between them last year. Are you confident you can maintain your scoring power?
Those three players are quality players, but even last year we always had a good spread of goalkickers. We prided ourselves on not relying on one or two forwards. We have other forwards who are more than capable of stepping up for us.
Q: What can you tell us about Oliver Cahill, Liam Jacques and Jack Symons?
Oliver can play through the midfield or across half-back. Liam played some VFL development league footy with the Northern Blues last year and he gives us a real X-factor. Jack has leg speed and he’ll play off half-back.
Stacey Rothacker (Sandhurst); Leah Sartori (Sandhurst); Ashlee Strachan (South Bendigo); Kirsten Galea (making a playing return); Olivia Treloar (elevated from B-grade).
Jane Barnes; Emily Barnes.
B-grade: Kymberly Childs
C-grade: Natasha Stringer
C-reserve: Sarah Trembath
Under-17: Caz Wood
Under-15: Jayne Lawson
Minis: Natsha Stringer
LAST THREE YEARS
Last season's early finals exit will act as a spur for Bridgewater under new coach Meg Allen.
The 21-year-old takes over from Ange Tremian, who coached both the A-grade and premiership winning B-grade team last sesaon.
The Mean Machine will field a relatively fresh team, with the additions of former Sandhurst pair Stacey Rothacker and goal attack Leah Sartori, Ashlee Strachan, from South Bendigo.
The club's 2015 best and fairest Kristen Galea will return after having a baby, while Olivia Treloar, who finished fourth in last year's B-grade league medal count and won the award in 2015, will step up to A-grade.
They will join a cast that includes Kymberley Childs, Jenna Collins and new coach Allen, who finished seventh in last year's league medal count.
Allen said players were still burning from the pain of last year's elimination finals defeat to YCW and were keen to make amends.
"Based on last year, I think we can have a real crack and be up there in contention for top three," she said.
"In saying that, I don't know what other teams are doing.
"But the experience we've brought into the club has got to help."
Q&A with Meg Allen
Q: You must be happy with your recruiting, gaining a trio of Bendigo league players and having a former best and fairest return?
It's real exciting, we have a really good group of girls. Pre-season has been going well and we had our first night out at Bridgie on Thursday night. It will be great having the next three weeks of training getting everyone uesed to playing with one another. We had a practice match against South Bendigo, which went well considering it's a relatively new team.
Q. What prompted your move into coaching?
I've always been pretty interested. I did some coaching at my home club (Mallee Eagles) in the juniors. I quite enjoy the leadership role.