NEWBRIDGE will ride a nine-game winning streak into Saturday’s Loddon Valley league grand final against Mitiamo.
Under new coach Brad Comer, the Maroons entered the season touted as the team to beat after they strongly bolstered a list that had reached the preliminary final last year.
They hit two hurdles along the way with a round one loss to Pyramid Hill and 12-point defeat to Maiden Gully YCW in round nine, but have won their other 15 games, including their past nine, and looked increasingly ominous as the year has progressed.
Among the revelations for the Maroons this year has been the move of Jordan Gilboy from midfield dynamo to forward focal point.
Given the Maroons had recruited two key forwards in Rhys Ford and Sam Mildren – both previous Newbridge players returning – Gilboy would have been long odds at the start of the season to win the club goalkicking.
Yet he ended the home and away season as the competition’s leading goalkicker and goes into the grand final having kicked 72, with seven games under his belt having booted at least five.
As well as the key additions of Mildren, who came out of retirement, and Ford, another of the big signings for the Maroons in the off-season was Tommy Horne, who spent last year on Box Hill’s VFL list.
Horne has been super in the engine room, with his ability to extract the ball from clearances a key ingredient for the Maroons, while Nathan Bacon is another on-baller who has put together a superb season.
Comer, himself a Newbridge stalwart, has constantly lauded the work of his defence during the year, which was boosted late in the season with the addition of Strathfieldsaye premiership player Ash Trollop.
The Maroons have only had to play one lead-up final to qualify for the grand final – a 50-point victory over Maiden Gully YCW in the second semi-final – after they finished two games clear on top of the ladder.
Newbridge last won a premiership in 2000 under coach Brent Dyer when it beat YCW in a thriller by three points. Comer’s father, Brian, was chairman of selectors that year.
The Maroons have since lost grand finals in 2001, 2007 and 2012.
B: B. Price, A. Code, A. Farrow
HB: J. Fowler, A. Trollop, C. Mclean
C: B. Josey, W. Daly, C. Grant
HF: B. Comer, R. Ford, Z. Heaslip
F: S. Mildren, J. Gilboy, S. Kennedy
R: T. Romeril, T. Horne, N. Bacon
Int: J. Clark, A. Fithall, C. Dixon, C. Toohey
In: J. Clark
Out: A. Mayo
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