THE Loddon Valley Football Netball League will have a pair of fresh combatants in next Saturday’s A-grade netball premiership decider.
It follows Bridgewater’s stunning 10 goal win against Mitiamo in Saturday’s preliminary final at Marong.
The grand final was already destined to have one new contender after reigning premier Pyramid Hill missed the finals.
It will now have two following 2017 season runner-up Mitiamo’s demise.
As the Mean Machine did in their previous week’s semi-final win against Maiden Gully YCW, they were spritely early and enjoyed a sizeable lead at quarter time.
The Superoos, who were looking to advance to a third-straight grand final, hit back in the second and were able to reduce the margin at half time, but Bridgewater - with goal shooter Olivia Treloar and Meg Allen in control at opposite ends of the court - were able to press home their advantage in the third quarter to set up a 52-42 victory.
Mean Machine coach Claudia Powell said their good starts had been pivotal in many wins this season, especially both finals victories.
“The girls came out really firing and were really motivated,” she said.
“We’ve concentrated on getting a good start and then just persevering the whole way through.
“We’ve given ourselves the best chance going into next week – the last two weeks we’ve played good quality teams and we’ve played good quality netball.
“Hopefully that gives us some momentum going into next week.”
Bridgewater will be chasing its first flag since 2011 when it clashes with Calivil United next Saturday.
The match will be played on the Mean Machine’s home court, with Powell hopeful of avenging an earlier finals loss to the Demons, who are back in the grand final for the first time since 2015.
“We really didn’t play well in that first final, hopefully we can perform more like our last two weeks,” she said.
“It will be a tough contest. We have beaten them twice, the final was the only time they have beaten us.
“We’re confident, but we know we are playing a very good side and realistically it will come down to the day.”
Mitiamo joint coach Jenny Clohesy said her side had paid dearly for their tardy start and were always up against it while playing catch-up.
“Our second quarter was really good, but we dropped the ball again in the third – we just weren’t good enough on the day,” she said.
“It was a disappointing end (to the season), but the girls went down trying – you can’t fault their effort. It just wasn’t meant to be.
“Bridgewater played a very smart team game.”
Defender Sarah Ludeman and centre Amelia Ludeman rated as Mitiamo’s best for the day.
Based on performances against the Superoos, Clohesy expected the grand final to go down to the wire.
“They’re both very similar in the way they play, so it should be a cracker,” she said.
Preliminary final results
A-grade: Bridgewater 52 d Mitiamo 42.
B-grade: Bridgewater 61 d Pyramid Hill 42.
C-grade: Mitiamo 45 d Bridgewater 38.
C-reserve: Pyramid Hill 42 d Bears Lagoon-Serpentine 37.
17-and-under: Inglewood 53 d Maiden Gully YCW 39.
15-and-under: Inglewood 53 d Pyramid Hill 38.