MITIAMO absorbed a barrage of early shots from Pyramid Hill, but then counter-punched just before half-time with a 10-minute burst that set the Superoos on the path to the Loddon Valley league premiership.
Late in the first quarter on a cold and windy day at Calivil on Saturday the Superoos were staring at a 31-point deficit - and perhaps a fourth grand final loss in five years.
The Superoos had been jumped by the slick Bulldogs, who kicked the first five goals, and six of the opening seven, as they played with the intent you'd expect of a team trying to end a 69-year premiership drought.
However, a 39-12 scoreline in favour of the Bulldogs midway through the second quarter seemed to spark a sense of urgency among the Superoos, who in a matter of just 10 minutes of superb play stormed back into the game, trimming their deficit to one point at half-time, before controlling the second half en route to an 11.16 (82) to 9.6 (60) victory.
The 22-point win continued a trend of years ending in 9 being successful for the Superoos, whose past four flags have now been won in 2019, 2009, 1999 and 1979, while there was also another grand final in 1989, but they were beaten by Marong.
Early though it was Pyramid Hill that made the running after winning the toss and kicking with the wind.
With the Bulldogs' under-18 and reserves teams having already won flags earlier in the day, the seniors' bid to complete a clean sweep got off to a flyer with the first five goals of the game.
The Bulldogs' Steven Gunther kicked the opening goal of the grand final with a well judged kick in the forward pocket, and by the 16-minute mark the Bulldogs had three more on the board.
Tall forward Jake Willcocks took a strong contested mark and converted for the Bulldogs' second, which was followed by a snap out of a stoppage from Braidy Dickens and Jack Woodward running into an open goal.
With scoreboard pressure imperative in any game - let alone a grand final - the Bulldogs had it on the Superoos, and they added to it when Willcocks again pulled down a strong contested mark and kicked his second goal at the 28-minute mark as the scoreboard read 32-1 in favour of Pyramid Hill.
The Superoos' early worries were compounded when Billy White was reported and yellow carded after a late bump on Pyramid Hill's Brad Driscoll, who was assigned the role on Mitiamo co-coach Tyrone Downie.
Five goals down - and a man down - the Superoos gained a late reprieve when Tom Grant got boot to ball from 30m out for a much-needed goal and the first of his three majors.
With the defence having held up superbly in the opening term and Pyramid Hill looking dangerous with its ball movement, the Bulldogs went into quarter-time leading 33-9.
The Bulldogs' lead then extended to 39-9 when ruckman Adrian Holland drifted forward, marked and nailed the set-shot early in the second term.
By the 18-minute mark of the second quarter the Superoos' only goal had still come through Grant, but they hadn't been without their chances, having 1.6 from their first seven scores.
Mitiamo's inaccuracy had become one of their traits in the back half of the season, but could it be their undoing on the biggest stage?
However, having been off-target early, the Superoos found their radar and charged back into the contest off the back of the engine room of ruckman Michael I'Anson, best-on-ground Terry Reeves and Doug Thomas.
The Superoos took control of the centre square and with it generated some quick ball inside 50 that turned up the heat on the Pyramid Hill defence.
Having kicked just one goal for the first 51 minutes, the Superoos then unleashed a blitz of 5.2 to 1.0 in 10 minutes and with it Pyramid Hill's advantage was back to just one point at half-time as the Bulldogs led 45-44.
Facing the 39-12 deficit, the Superoos' surge began with a pair of long-range set shot goals to Ryan Wellington and Downie, while the fifth goal of the match-turning run came after the half-time siren when Grant kicked his second from a free kick.
With the Loddon Valley having become accustomed to one-sided grand finals - only one of the previous 11 had been decided by under five goals - this was very much game on at the main break, but with a major question being asked of Pyramid Hill given the momentum of the Superoos.
Desperately needing to produce a third quarter like their first to re-stamp their authority on the contest, this time the Bulldogs were rendered totally ineffective with their use of the breeze.
The Bulldogs' first scoreless quarter since round two of 2017 couldn't have come at a worse time - kicking to the scoring end in the third term of a tight grand final.
Instead, the ball spent the majority of the quarter in the Mitiamo front half; the Superoos adding 3.3, with goals to Justin Maddern, Brent Downie and Wellington.
On the few times the Bulldogs launched an attacking foray it was repelled by the Superoos' defence or intercepted by I'Anson, who must have only just been pipped by team-mate Reeves for the best-on-ground medal.
One of I'Anson's defensive marks came on the goal-line after the Bulldogs' Matt Klein-Breteler - who kicked 0.3 for the day - showed his trademark pace by having a bounce, baulking an opponent and then checksiding a shot at goal that would have brought the Bulldogs back within a point had it just had that bit of extra distance.
Earlier, Maddern's goal at the eight-minute mark of the quarter - his only one of the match from a soccered kick off the ground - gave the Superoos their first lead and they would hold it for the rest of the match.
With the game having been in the balance at half-time with the one-point margin, by three quarter-time it was clear the Superoos had one hand on the flag.
The Superoos were 20 points up at the last break, 65-45, and were coming home with the wind advantage.
Having already kicked the Superoos' first goal of the match when they desperately needed it, plus the goal after the half-time siren that closed the gap to one point, Mitiamo's Grant bobbed up with another important goal - this time the first of the last term with a left-foot snap.
With there having been so much focus on the Mitiamo star forward trio of Downie (two goals), Wellington (two) and Maddern (one), it would be Grant the player who had the most impact inside 50 with three goals.
Both teams added two goals apiece in the final term, but the Superoos were able to savour the best footy feeling of all - knowing the premiership is locked away - for the final 13 minutes after Downie kicked the sealer.
Ultimately, the game could be broken down to Pyramid Hill's control of the first quarter-and-half when the Bulldogs kicked 6.3 to 1.6; followed by Mitiamo kicking 10.10 to 3.3 over the last two-and-a-half quarters.
MITIAMO v. PYRAMID HILL
Mitiamo 1.3, 6.8, 9.11, 11.16 (82)
Pyramid Hill 5.2, 7.3, 7.3, 9.6 (60)
GOALS, Mitiamo: Thomas Grant 3, Tyrone Downie 2, Ryan Wellington 2, Brent Downie 2, Douglas Thomas 1, Justin Maddern 1
Pyramid Hill: Braidy Dickens 2, Jake Willcocks 2, Jack Woodward 1, James Sala 1, Adrian Holland 1, Steven Gunther 1, Bailey George 1
BEST, Mitiamo: Michael I'Anson, Terence Reeves, Douglas Thomas, Maxwell Simpson, Luke Lougoon, Brent Downie
Pyramid Hill: Billy Micevski, Gavin James, Dylan Morison, Bailey Goodwin, Dylan Tonkin, Andrew Dobby
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.