NEWBRIDGE will ride a nine-game winning streak into the Loddon Valley league grand final after booking the first place in the season decider on Saturday.
The Maroons’ imposing form continued with a 50-point victory over Maiden Gully YCW in the second semi-final at Pyramid Hill.
The 20.12 (132) to 13.4 (82) victory propelled the Maroons into their first grand final since 2012 and created an opportunity for the club to snap a premiership drought that stretches back to 2000.
It was a tight battle for the first half, with the Maroons holding a nine-point advantage at the main break, 8.5 to 7.2.
RELATED – SATURDAY SCOREBOARD
However, the third quarter proved decisive in the Maroons breaking the game open as they slammed on 6.5 to 1.1 to take a stranglehold.
“Our midfield got on top in the second half and in that third quarter in particular we were able to get a lot of ball inside 50,” Newbridge coach Brad Comer said.
“We probably weren’t working hard enough the other way in the first half and we really set ourselves a goal at half-time to put a heap of pressure on when they had the footy and we did that and that helped us to create those scoring opportunities.”
Key forward Sam Mildren was dominant inside 50 for the Maroons, booting six goals, while fellow forwards Rhys Ford – returning to the side from a hand injury – and Chris Dixon added three each.
In what was a solid team effort, Mildren was named best for the Maroons, along with ruckman Tyler Romeril (two goals) and gun on-baller Tommy Horne, who won plenty of contested ball, while Comer also praised Brendan Josey for his job on Eagles’ playmaker Nick Waterson.
Luke Gray with three was the leading goalkicker for the Eagles, who named Nat McLaren (two goals), Ryan Walker and Matthew Higgs their best three.
Earlier, Bridgewater in the reserves and Maiden Gully YCW in the under-18s also won their way straight through to the grand final.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.