A WEEK'S a long time in football - just ask Bridgewater.
Seven days after conceding 13 goals in the final term, this time Bridgewater came from 19 points down at three quarter-time to defeat Bears Lagoon-Serpentine and keep itself right in the Loddon Valley league finals hunt.
For the second time this season the Mean Machine beat the Bears by 14 points, winning 16.12 (108) to 14.10 (94) at Bridgewater on Saturday..
A week after their 86-point hiding from Calivil United, the result leaves the young Mean Machine just percentage outside the top five with four rounds to play.
"The way the boys bounced back today was fantastic... we went back to basics and just played as a team," Bridgewater coach Dale Cameron said.
"We had two first-gamers in Wade Kinniburgh and Max Stewart and lost both our ruckmen, Alex Banko (hamstring) and Nick Hall (calf), before half-time, but we managed to find a way."
Trailing by 19 points at three quarter-time, the Mean Machine with the aid of the breeze at their backs in the final term kicked 6.4 to 1.1 to over-run the Bears.
With the injuries to Banko and Hall it left forward Alex Powell (two goals) to do the bulk of the ruck work in the second half for the Mean Machine.
On-baller Liam Jacques was again outstanding for the Mean Machine and also impacted inside 50 with two goals.
"Liam has gone to a new level this year and has been unbelievable... he gets tagged every week, but he somehow still finds a way," Cameron said.
"Probably the most impressive player today was Jimmy Naughton down back. He's only fresh out of the under-18s, but is playing some super footy.
"The most pleasing part about today was everyone stood up when they needed to."
After kicking seven goals against Bears Lagoon-Serpentine earlier in the season, Bridgewater's Darren Clutton was again a handful for the Bears, slotting five.
The defeat ended the Bears' winning streak at six.
"At three quarter-time I didn't think it was a lead (19 points) big enough given the breeze that we were kicking against in the last quarter," Bears coach Greg Gadsden said.
"They outplayed us in that last quarter; their midfield got on top of ours and were a bit more desperate at the footy than we were. It was a good contest, but they just wanted it a bit more."
The standout for the Bears was Harry Gadsden, who bagged six goals splitting his time between midfield and forward.
Centre half-back Brodie Leonard-Shannon was also one of the best for the Bears, who only kicked two goals against the breeze compared to the Mean Machine's five, which ultimately proved telling in a hard-fought game decided by 14 points.
INGLEWOOD v PYRAMID HILL
A ruthless Pyramid Hill recorded the league's biggest winning margin since 2014, obliterating Inglewood by 179 points.
Stung by back-to-back losses, the Bulldogs responded in devastating style, winning 32.11 (203) to 3.6 (24) at Inglewood.
The Bulldogs led by 33 points at quarter-time; 50 at half-time; 105 at three quarter-time; and 179 at the final siren.
Pyramid Hill showed no mercy on the Blues, finishing with a blitz of 12.2 to no score in the final term - Inglewood's fourth scoreless quarter of the season.
"We spoke a fair bit leading into today about the path we need to take. I suppose we were at the crossroads a bit off the last couple of weeks (losses to Mitiamo and Marong) and you obviously don't want to lose too many games in a row," Pyramid Hill coach Adrian McErvale said.
"Our first objective was to get the four points today, and then get them winning the way we wanted to and get back to our style of footy, which we did."
Pyramid Hill forward Braidy Dickens bagged the season's biggest haul of 11 goals, moving the competition's top goalkicker to 50 for the year.
"Braidy had a good day. He led up and presented really well," McErvale said.
"The paper will show he kicked 11 goals, but the effort he put in with his work-rate and tackling pressure and his ability to give the ball off to players in better positions was a credit to him. It was a great game."
As well as Dickens' 11 goals, Jack Woodward jagged six and the trio of Steven Gunther, tall Adrian Holland and Matt Klein-Breteler - who were all in the best - chipped in with three apiece.
The 179-point margin was the league's biggest since Newbridge beat Inglewood by 193 in 2014, with the percentage-boosting victory propelling the Bulldogs back to top spot.
Samuel Barnes kicked two of Inglewood's three goals and was named best on a forgettable day for the Blues, who have a bye next week to regroup.
NEWBRIDGE v MARONG
Marong elevated itself back into the top five with a critical 24-point away win over Newbridge.
The Panthers took the place in the top five of the Maroons with their 10.8 (68) to 6.8 (44) win in a game that had been level at half-time.
However, the Panthers controlled the second half, kicking five goals to one in a massive boost for their finals aspirations, while delivering a dagger to the Maroons, who are now facing the prospect of becoming the second reigning premier in as many years after Calivil United last season to miss the finals.
Most pleasing for Marong co-coach Taylor Beard was the Panthers didn't drop their guard after the previous week's big win over Pyramid Hill.
"I'm super proud of the boys. We had to dig deep, particularly with the way Newbridge came at us in the second quarter," Beard said.
"It was good to come out after half-time and get a bit of a break, and then to hold on was really pleasing.
"The boys stuck to the gameplan and got the result we needed."
Midfielder Adam Ward's stellar season continued to be the best for the Panthers, who won the game despite being held goal-less in both the second and last quarters.
"Wardy kicked a couple of goals and was good around the stoppages. He has been playing great footy all year," Beard.
In his 100th game, Callum Williamson, who kicked two goals from half-forward, was also important for the Panthers and Corbin Fleming played another strong game at centre half-back.
Newbridge's better players were headed by gun onballer Jordan Gilboy and the consistent William Daly, while Billy Price and Brian Mustafa kicked two goals apiece.
The game featured a goal-less last quarter: Newbridge kicked 0.4 to the Panthers' 0.1.
MAIDEN GULLY YCW v CALIVIL UNITED
For the second time this season Maiden Gully YCW has beaten Calivil United by less than a kick.
In a low scoring slog at Maiden Gully, Luke Gray kicked the final goal of the game to get the Eagles over the line 7.10 (52) to 6.12 (48).
It was the sixth of the 12 games the living-on-the-edge Eagles have played this year decided by less than a kick, with their ledger in the thrillers that could have gone either way now 4-2.
The ball was in the Demons' forward 50 when the siren sounded.
"Both teams had their opportunities to win the game; fortunately, we were in front at the siren," said Eagles coach Wayne Mitrovic, who kicked two goals.
"We needed some big efforts in the last quarter and were able to produce a few more than they did, so I was really proud."
Ruckman Darby Graham battled tirelessly all day to be the Eagles' best, Nick Waterson was good again on the wing and in the midfield and rover Dylan Morris also impressed for a Maiden Gully YCW side that was missing three of its starting on-ballers in Sean Moyle, Galen Munari and Ryan Walker.
Calivil United's best was led by the duo Levi Moss and Jordan Lea.
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