PYRAMID Hill kicked the last goal of the match to clinch a thrilling three-point victory over Maiden Gully YCW in Saturday’s Loddon Valley league under-18 grand final.
The Bulldogs had double the scoring shots than the Eagles, but were trailing late before co-captain Mitch Stephens kicked what proved to be the match-winning goal after he converted from 20m out following a contested mark.
The Bulldogs prevailed 3.13 (31) to 4.4 (28) to claim back-to-back premierships as they again beat Maiden Gully YCW in the grand final.
The fact only seven goals were kicked for the game, including just two in the first half, highlighted just how tough the breezy conditions were at Bridgewater.
The Bulldogs’ tally of 3.13 included a wasteful 1.8 during the second quarter.
“It was a tough day to kick goals, even with the breeze, so while we were 1.9 at half-time, there were probably only two easy chances that we missed,” Pyramid Hill coach Nathan Fitzpatrick said.
“It was obviously very nerve-wracking in that last quarter, but fantastic that the boys were able to get over the line.”
The Eagles – who led by four points at three quarter-time – did the bulk of the attacking against the breeze at the scoreboard end in the final term, but the Bulldogs defended gallantly to repel and then run over the top of their rivals late.
“We tried a bit of a zone defence this year and at times it fell down. But we kept at it, kept practicing and it held up today,” Fitzpatrick said.
Saturday’s victorious team featured 17 new players for the Bulldogs this year, one of which was Stephens, whose match-winner was the only goal of the final quarter.
“We had about nine from Echuca, six from Bendigo, one from Geelong… we plucked them from everywhere, but they have gelled together well,” Fitzpatrick said.
The best players for the Bulldogs were led by Matthew Farrell, Jordan Hutton, Stephens and Lachlan Dillon.
The AFL Victoria Medal for best-on-ground was awarded to Maiden Gully YCW ruckman Braydan Riddell.
As well as Riddell, top performers for the Eagles were Joshua Worsley, Mason James and Drew Harris.
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