THE first of the AFL Central Victoria region’s senior football grand final match-ups of 2017 is confirmed.
It will be Bridgewater v Calivil United – the two clubs that have won 13 of the past 14 flags – in the Loddon Valley league premiership decider at the refurbished Serpentine next Saturday.
If you’re not a supporter of Bridgewater, Loddon Valley senior grand finals have become mundane affairs in recent years.
And that’s purely because Bridgewater has been that far ahead of the chasing pack that, unfortunately, the Loddon Valley has become accustomed to one-sided fizzers of grand final matches.
Bridgewater is on a premiership-winning streak that will go down in both Loddon Valley and country football folklore.
The Mean Machine have won seven-straight from 2010 and now have an opportunity to add an eighth flag in a row.
It’s not quite the 10 in a row of the Horsham Demons in the Wimmera league between 2003 and 2012, but it’s now the benchmark in the Loddon Valley league after last year surpassing Calivil United’s six on the trot between 2003 and 2008.
Of the seven grand finals in a row Bridgewater has won, only one – against Bears Lagoon-Serpentine in 2013 when the Mean Machine hung on by eight points – has been a genuine contest befitting of such a stage.
The Mean Machine’s other six premierships during their reign have been won by margins between 50 and 115 points.
This year, while still a tough nut to crack, the Mean Machine have been cracked five times, including once by their grand final opponent, the Demons.
Given the Mean Machine don’t possess the aura of invincibility they’ve had of previous seasons, it seems Loddon Valley league fans heading to Serpentine next Saturday can finally look forward to a grand final tussle that is anything but a fait accompli.
Luke West – sports reporter