LVFNL – Bears into top five after 84-point demolition of Bridgewater

BRILLIANT BEARS: Bears Lagoon-Serpentine's Shaun Bowles. The Bears belted Bridgewater by 84 points on Saturday - the Mean Machine's biggest loss since 2008.
BRILLIANT BEARS: Bears Lagoon-Serpentine's Shaun Bowles. The Bears belted Bridgewater by 84 points on Saturday - the Mean Machine's biggest loss since 2008.

BEARS LAGOON-SERPENTINE V BRIDGEWATER

BEARS Lagoon-Serpentine climbed from seventh to fourth on the Loddon Valley league ladder following an 84-point demolition of Bridgewater on Saturday.

The Bears’ resurgence in 2018 continued with their 23.14 (152) to 10.8 (68) win at Serpentine against Bridgewater, which has its poorest record after seven games since 2006.

The Mean Machine have played in every grand final since 2010, but at 2-5 may have a fight on their hands just to make the finals this year after succumbing to their fourth loss in a row.

The Bears, though, have now won three in a row following a 0-4 start, with Saturday’s performance showing why they were touted pre-season as one of the teams to watch this year.

“The big thing today is it gives the guys belief that we can compete really well if we play our best footy,” Bears coach Greg Gadsden said.

“The boys moved the ball well today, they spread well and we didn’t turn the footy over as much as we had been, which was pleasing.”

Bridgewater kicked the opening two goals of the game, but the Bears reeled off the next eight to bolt to a 38-point advantage at quarter-time, 8.3 to 2.1 – the third time in the Mean Machine’s four losses in a row they have been at least 20 points down by the first break.

“It was a fantastic first quarter. The movement of the ball was fantastic, we hit targets and when you’re getting clean footy up forward you are going to give yourselves plenty of opportunities to score,” Gadsden said.

The Bears had a tally of 84 on the board at half-time – already 16 more points than the Mean Machine would score for the game.

Nathan Twigg and Justin Laird rotated in the ruck and across half-forward and were the two best for the Bears, who for the second game in a row had a double-figure spread of goals with 10 led by Andrew Gladman (four).

As for Bridgewater, so consistent for so long have the Mean Machine been, Saturday’s result was their:

• biggest defeat since losing to Calivil United by 84 points in round 13, 2008;

• highest score conceded since Newbridge kicked 25.12 (162) in round 10, 2006;

• first time since round 13, 2012, against Newbridge they haven’t won a quarter;

• biggest loss against Bears Lagoon-Serpentine since 2005.

Defender Tristin Nalder was named best for the Mean Machine, who had tall Josh Metherell slot four of their 10 goals.

NEWBRIDGE V CALIVIL UNITED

Newbridge’s sixth win in a row propelled the Maroons to the top of the ladder.

The Maroons’ solid form continued with a 15-point win over reigning premier Calivil United, 13.10 (88) to 11.7 (73), at Newbridge.

“It was one of those games where we just did enough to win. Calivil is still a very good side and threw everything at us,” Newbridge coach Brad Comer said.

“It was another really good rallying win, but we’ve still got a lot to work on.”

The Maroons again forced their opposition to play catch-up football after establishing a 24-point lead at quarter-time, 5.2 to 1.2.

RELATED – SATURDAY SCOREBOARD

The Maroons are now +130 points in first quarters in their six wins in a row – all games in which they have led at every break.

“It’s always a tough day when you have to chase the opposition, but our backline in particular has been super for us, and was again today… they are able to find a way to keep holding up and negate the opposition’s scoring opportunities,” Comer said.

On-baller Nathan Bacon was again Newbridge’s best player, while Jordan Gilboy extended his lead at the top of the league goalkicking table with another six.

Midfielder-turned-forward Gilboy now has 31 goals for the Maroons – not far off the amount he kicked in his first three seasons with the club (34).

Down the other end the Demons had recruit Chris Sanders kick five of their 11 goals to be their best.

PYRAMID HILL V MAIDEN GULLY YCW

The season isn’t at the halfway point yet, but Maiden Gully YCW has already won its most games since 2011 – the year the Eagles last made the finals – after notching its sixth victory against Pyramid Hill.

The Eagles handled one of the competition’s toughest road trips in fine style, leading at every change in a 20.9 (129) to 12.12 (84) victory at Pyramid Hill that kept the big improvers three games inside the top three.

“With the effort we dished up last game (56-point loss to Calivil United) and then having a bye, you wonder how the group is gong to respond and they were definitely up to the challenge today,” Eagles coach Wayne Mitrovic said.

“Pyramid Hill has a very distinct gamestyle where in the back half they love to go sideways and short, so we made a conscious effort to push up on to the loose players and force them to kick to a contest and we were able to force a lot of turnovers, particularly through the middle of the ground.”

Cohen Kekich bagged six goals from centre half-forward to be among 11 goalkickers for the Eagles, who, in a further sign of improvement, lost to the Bulldogs by 99 points in the corresponding round last year.

The Eagles named Sean Moyle (two goals), who had a run-with role on Billy Micevski, their best.

Having started the season 6-0, Pyramid Hill has now lost two games in a row ahead of the bye next week.

Co-coach Gavin James (two goals) was named best for the Bulldogs in a game where both sides had players reported.

Pyramid Hill’s Ross James has taken a one-match set penalty on a tripping report, while the Eagles’ Ryan Walker went into the umpire’s book for striking.

MARONG V INGLEWOOD

A strong third quarter set up Marong’s 19-point win over Inglewood at home.

The Panthers kicked five goals to two during the third term on the way to their second win of the season, 14.13 (97) to 11.12 (78).

“It was a pretty scrappy affair for the first half, but we were able to play some good footy in the third quarter and create a bit of breathing room,” Marong coach Corbin Fleming said.

“There was a lot of intensity around the ball and we got better as the game went on.”

Bret Quin in defence, assistant coach Jarrod Fitzpatrick (two goals) and Zach Turnbull (two goals) all played well for the Panthers, whose spread of 10 goalkickers was their most in a game since round eight of 2015.

Inglewood, which won both the first and last quarters, was best served by Joseph Kenny and experienced inclusion Kris Doran.