WE continue our countdown of the 50 most dominant premierships seasons across the Bendigo, Heathcote District and Loddon Valley leagues since 1990 with numbers 18 and 17.
Coach - Phil Walsh
Record - 17-1
Percentage - 247.1%
Average for - 137
Average against - 55
Points differential - +82
def Calivil United 127-88
lt Mitiamo 63-81
def BL-Serpentine 75-66
def Newbridge 103-50
def Inglewood 118-50
def Marong 223-28
def Bridgewater 141-61
def Pyramid Hill 147-40
def Calivil United 125-85
def Mitiamo 122-27
def BL-Serpentine 143-65
def Newbridge 148-64
def Inglewood 218-44
def Marong 140-41
def Bridgewater 235-45
def Pyramid Hill 71-51
def Mitiamo 150-56
def Calivil United 115-55
SUMMARY - YCW's 1997 premiership season was the second of what was a run of seven-straight years in which the Eagles played off in the Loddon Valley league grand final.
Captain-coached by Phil Walsh, the Eagles were 1-1 after two rounds, opening their season with a 39-point win over Calivil United, who they had lost the previous year's grand final to, before going down by 18 points to Mitiamo in round two.
They wouldn't lose again for the rest of the season and kicked some monster scores along the way, three times breaking the 200-point barrier - 35.13 (223) against Marong in round seven, 34.14 (218) against Inglewood in round 15 and 36.19 (235) against Bridgewater in round 17.
As well as their scoring prowess, down the other end the Eagles were also stingy defensively. In 11 of their 18 games they kept their opposition to less than 60 points.
"It was a team that had a good mix of guys who had played a higher standard of football," 1997 premiership player Matt Keating said this week.
"David Campbell, Jamie Gepp, Phil Walsh, Steve Robinson and Robert Stagg had all come out of Bendigo footy and brought that extra quality with them.
"And then there was a really good crew of young blokes as well. And we'd lost the grand final to Calivil United the year before, so that added a bit of sting in the tail as well."
The Eagles finished three games clear on top of the ladder and then produced two comprehensive finals performances, dismantling Mitiamo by 94 points in the second semi and disposing of Calivil United by 60 points in the grand final.
David Campbell kicked five goals in the grand final win and also claimed the Eagles' best and fairest that season
THE TEAM - Damian Malone, David Campbell, Michael McNamara, Shaun Cotter, Matt Keating, Shane Chisholm, Paul Chisholm, Greg Murley, Robert Stagg, Damian Keating, Michael Hamilton, Sean Geary, Paul Keating, Dean Robinson, Jamie Gepp, Phil Walsh, Steve Robinson, Paul McConnachie, Tony Keating, Peter Driscoll, Julian Rodda.
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Coach - Andrew Collins
Record - 17-1
Percentage - 257.4%
Average for - 126
Average against - 49
Points differential - +77
def YCW 180-25
def BL-Serpentine 117-61
def Inglewood 174-14
def Newbridge 144-15
lt Pyramid Hill 99-112
def Marong 107-40
def Calivil United 121-42
def Mitiamo 104-62
def YCW 141-23
def BL-Serpentine 102-70
def Inglewood 143-39
def Newbridge 90-48
def Pyramid Hill 111-43
def Marong 121-62
def Calivil United 152-60
def Mitiamo 109-72
def BL-Serpentine 144-36
def Mitiamo 116-60
SUMMARY - Season 2015 was premiership No.6 for Bridgewater during its run of seven-consecutive Loddon Valley league flags.
Coming off an undefeated 2014 and with the addition of former Richmond AFL player Daniel Connors to play alongside another ex-Tiger, coach Andrew Collins, the Mean Machine wasted no time picking up from where they had left off.
The Mean Machine won their first four games by margins of 155, 56, 160 and 129 points, at which stage their percentage was 534.8.
They were beaten in round five by Pyramid Hill when upset by 13 points in a loss that ended the club's 28-game winning streak, but the rest of the season was dominant victory after dominant victory.
No side got within five goals of the Mean Machine for the remainder of the year as they added another premiership to their dynasty with a 56-point grand final win over Mitiamo, 17.14 (116) to 8.12 (60).
Premiership coach Collins led the way superbly for his side, winning both the league's Harding Medal with 27 votes (nine clear of his nearest rivals) and the goalkicking, ending the year with 58.
Collins, Connors (36), Brad Rohde (34) and Alex Collins (32) all finished in the top 10 of the league goalkicking, while the Mean Machine also had eight players who represented the Loddon Valley against Alberton in inter-league.
"It was a bit of a different group to the year before. We kept trying to add a few in on the top all the time to get better," Collins said this week.
"I remember we brought in guys like Brian Westley and Danny Childs and their desperation to play well into their mid-30s was really inspiring for us and they fitted into our club brilliantly."
As well as their senior domination of 2015, the Mean Machine's reserves were also premiers after beating Marong.
THE TEAM - Brad Rohde, Daniel Nalder, Darren Clutton, Deon Jones, Josh Metherell, Zeb Broadbent, Ben Galea, Tristin Nalder, Josh McLeod, Marc Lindsay, David Harrison, Callum Prest, Luke Harrison, Alex Collins, Andrew Collins, Danny Childs, Tom Broadbent, Jared Keely, Alex Galea, Daniel Connors, Kyle Chant, Marty Shadbolt.
No. 20 & 19 - Mount Pleasant 1997; Mount Pleasant 1993
No. 22 & 21 - Bridgewater 2010; Bridgewater 2011
No. 24 & 23 - LBU 2011; Colbinabbin 1998
No. 26 & 25 - Gisborne 2003; LBU 2013
No. 28 & 27 - Gisborne 2002; Colbinabbin 1991
No. 30 & 29 - Maryborough 1998; Gisborne 2005
No. 32 & 31 - South Bendigo 1994; Golden Square 2009
No. 34 & 33 - Castlemaine 1992; South Bendigo 1990
No. 36 & 35 - Mitiamo 1999; Sandhurst 2016
No. 38 & 37 - North Bendigo 2019; Leitchville-Gunbower 2018
No. 40 & 39 - Bridgewater 1991; Calivil United 2017
No. 42 & 41 - Heathcote 1992, Sandhurst 2004
No. 44 & 43 - Eaglehawk 2008, Elmore 2007
No. 46 & 45 - Mount Pleasant 1990, Newbridge 2018
No. 48 & 47 - Gisborne 2006, Calivil United 1990
No. 50 & 49 - Calivil United 2003, Eaglehawk 2018
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