NEWBRIDGE restricted Mitiamo to the lowest score in a Loddon Valley league grand final for 16 years on Saturday as it completed a dominant 2018 with the premiership.
The Maroons broke an 18-year premiership drought with their 11.11 (77) to 4.9 (33) victory against the Superoos in front of a crowd that paid a gate of $31,500 at Bridgewater.
The 44-point victory delivered the Maroons their 14th premiership and first since 2000 on a grand final day that will be remembered for the bitterly cold and windy conditions, that included hail at times and rain, endured by players and spectators.
Newbridge’s triumph ended Mitiamo’s gallant run from the elimination final as the Superoos suffered grand final defeat for the third time in the past four years.
One of the pillars of the Maroons’ brilliant season in which they won 16 of 18 games – including their past 10 – has been their defence and it was again rock solid on Saturday, with Mitiamo’s score the lowest in a grand final since Calivil United kicked just 4.5 (29) against YCW in 2002.
Among the members of the Maroons’ defence was full-back Alex Code, who played a brilliant game and was a deserving winner of the AFL Victoria Medal for best-on-ground.
Code had the key match-up on Mitiamo forward Ryan Wellington and kept the Superoos’ spearhead goal-less and repelled strongly from the back half all game.
The 44-point victory delivered the Maroons their 14th premiership and first since 2000 on a grand final day that will be remembered for the bitterly cold and windy conditions
Down the other end one of the biggest challenges confronting Mitiamo was containing the Maroons’ dangerous forward trio of Sam Mildren, captain Jordan Gilboy and Rhys Ford.
It was always going to be a tough ask for the Superoos to keep all three quiet and Mildren was the player who got off the leash.
Mildren himself kicked more goals than the Superoos did, booting five as he capped a season in which he ended a two-year retirement by adding a Newbridge flag to the two he won with Strathfieldsaye.
Pivotal in the Maroons’ setting up their victory was their strong performance into the breeze in the first quarter in which they were able to break even two goals apiece with the Superoos.
Those two Newbridge goals were kicked by Mildren – who slotted the first of the match – and coach Brad Comer.
Highlighting just how crucial Newbridge’s two goals in the first term to the scoreboard end were, only one other goal was kicked to that end for the rest of the match.
The Superoos were unable to capitalise on their first use of the breeze, kicking 2.4, with their goals coming through Tom Grant and Isaac Mathewson, and they went into the first break just two points up.
However, the wind picked up significantly to the silo end in the second quarter and the game was played almost exclusively in the front half of Newbridge.
The Superoos fought valiantly against the breeze to lock the game down and forced constant stoppages, but a six-minute burst of three goals from the Maroons gave them the ascendancy and would prove to be a game-breaker.
The three goals in quick succession were kicked by Mildren (two) and Sam Kennedy and when Gilboy later kicked his first after being awarded a holding-the-ball free kick, which typified Newbridge’s tackle pressure during the quarter, the Maroons were out to a 24-point lead at half-time.
Mitiamo’s only score of the quarter was a behind to James Rozynski after he took a mark that showed just how stiff the breeze was to the scoreboard end during the second term in what were the worst of the conditions for the day.
The Superoos’ Lachie Drummond had a set-shot at goal that travelled 25m, but then blew back 10m and landed in the arms of Rozynski.
The Maroons led 6.5 to 2.5 at half-time, with their score at the main break later proving to already be a winning tally.
The Superoos battled hard in the third quarter to try to claw their way back, but struggled to move the ball inside forward 50 with any fluency and their attacking forays were constantly thwarted by the Maroons’ defence.
The Superoos could muster just one goal to the scoring end in the third quarter, kicked by Max Simpson, who had come off the ground in the second term with an ankle concern, but returned to the field in the second half and played forward.
Simpson’s late goal brought the Superoos within 16 points at three quarter-time and gave them a glimmer of a chance with the wind having died down.
However, Mitiamo’s hopes of a comeback were quickly snuffed out when the Maroons kicked the first two goals of the final term through Gilboy and Kennedy inside the first five minutes.
Two more goals to Mildren and one to star midfielder Tommy Horne followed, with Newbridge’s lead growing to as high as 49 points before the Superoos’ Lucas Matthews kicked the last of the game.
Newbridge’s 5.5 last quarter to go with its 4.3 in the second term gave the Maroons’ 9.8 to the scoring end compared to Mitiamo’s 3.7.
Mitiamo kicked two goals in the first 17 minutes of the game, and only two for the remaining 99.
The Maroons were down to 17 on the field for a period during the second and third quarter after Ford was yellow-carded for an incident against Mitiamo’s Ash Benbow, who worked hard across half-back.
Along with Code and Mildren, Horne was also a standout for the Maroons with a strong midfield performance, while running defender Billy Price, Jack Fowler, Will Daly and ruckman Tyler Romeril were others who figured in the best.
Newbridge’s Mildren (five), Gilboy (two) and Kennedy (two) were the game’s only multiple goalkickers.
Michael I’Anson, who was tireless in the ruck all game, hard-nut Rozynski through the midfield, co-captain Jarryd Wiegard, who linked up well, and Luke Lougoon off half-back were among the better players for the Superoos, whose last flag remains 2009.
NEWBRIDGE v. MITIAMO
Newbridge 2.2, 6.5, 6.6, 11.11 (77)
Mitiamo 2.4, 2.5, 3.8, 4.9 (33)
GOALS, Newbridge: Samuel Mildren 5, Sam Kennedy 2, Jordan Gilboy 2, Bradley Comer 1, Tommy Horne 1
Mitiamo : Maxwell Simpson 1, Isaac Mathewson 1, Lucas Matthews 1, Thomas Grant 1
BEST, Newbridge: Jack Fowler, Billy Price, Alex Code, Tommy Horne, William Daly, Tyler Romeril
Mitiamo :Michael I'Anson, Matthew Grant, James Rozynski, Jarryd Wiegard, Maxwell Simpson, Luke Lougoon
BRIDGEWATER v. PYRAMID HILL
Pyramid Hill 3.1, 3.1, 7.4, 9.4 (58)
Bridgewater 0.1, 4.5, 4.5, 7.7 (49)
GOALS, Pyramid Hill : Christopher Milroy 3, Bradley Fawcett 1, Alex Harper 1, Gervase Birt 1, Mitchell Dingwall 1, Troy Woolhouse 1,
David Mann 1
Bridgewater: Brian Westley 2, Adam Williams 2, Cameron Cail 1, Tom Kuhne 1, Joshua McLeod 1
BEST, Pyramid Hill : Gervase Birt, Dylan Tonkin, Bradley Fawcett, Christopher Milroy, Troy Woolhouse, Nathan Moon
Bridgewater : Jake Higgins, Collin Mayes, Matthew Collins, Tom Kuhne, Danny Childs, Harry Symons
MAIDEN GULLY YCW EAGLES v. PYRAMID HILL
Pyramid Hill 0.1, 1.9, 2.11, 3.13 (31)
Maiden Gully YCW Eagles 1.0, 1.0, 4.3, 4.4 (28)
GOALS, Pyramid Hill : Mitchell Gunther 1, Edmund Caburnay 1, Mitchell Stephens 1
Maiden Gully YCW Eagles: Joshua Worsley 1, Edward (Ned) Crisp 1, Joshua Hull 1, Harrison Everist 1
BEST, Pyramid Hill: Matthew Farrell, Jordan Hutton, Mitchell Stephens, Lachlan Dillon, Zac Dingwall, Connor Mayman
Maiden Gully YCW Eagles: Braydan Riddell, Joshua Worsley, Mason James, Drew Harris, Taylor Collins, Caleb Flood
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