MARONG emerged victorious against Mitiamo on Saturday in the first encounter between the two teams widely touted as the top flag contenders in the Loddon Valley league this year.
The Panthers turned a 10-point deficit at half-time into a 15-point victory, prevailing 13.11 (89) to 10.14 (74) at Mitiamo in the league's most anticipated match of the season so far.
The Panthers inflicted the first loss on Mitiamo since the Superoos lost to Calivil United on July 20, 2019, with the Superoos having won 20 games in a row entering Saturday.
"It was a really intense, high-pressure game, which made it a bit of a scrap," Marong coach Linton Jacobs said.
"I thought Miti was all over us early, but probably didn't take their chances and that kept us in the game.
"But we were able to hang in there and being a couple of goals down at half-time I asked the boys to respond and we were able to get our running game going in the third quarter.
"We got some good looks inside 50 during the third quarter, but overall, I was just pleased that we were challenged and able to respond."
From 10 points down at half-time, the Panthers - missing gun forward Kain Robins (calf) - took an eight-point lead into the final term, 10.7 to 8.11.
The Superoos wrestled back the lead during the final quarter before goals to key target Brandyn Grenfell and midfielder Nathan Devanny put the Panthers back in front.
Grenfell finished with three goals for the Panthers, whose best player was David Johnstone (two goals).
"DJ was really good for us. He started in the middle and then went to half-back after half-time. He took some good intercept marks and gave us a lot of run," Jacobs said.
"Kyle Manley and Corey Gregg were good inside and Brodie Hartland did a really good job down back flicking between Jay Reynolds and Ryan Wellington.
"And a couple of our smalls in Riley Taylor and Jack McCaig were really good winning plenty of ball around the contest and their run in the last quarter with Jimmy Gadsden opened the game up for us."
The Panthers' Trent Fisher suffered a hamstring injury.
For the third game in a row half-back Luke Lougoon was named best for the Superoos, followed by the midfield trio of assistant coach Ross Turner (two goals), Lucas Matthews (three goals) and Lee Dale.
Bridgewater has got its season rolling as it burst the bubble of Inglewood.
In a game where Bridgewater had gone in winless and Inglewood was unbeaten, the result ended the way it had in their previous 26 encounters with the Mean Machine victorious.
The Mean Machine extended their advantage at every break in their 73-point win, 19.14 (128) to 8.7 (55).
"I was rapt to see the boys get some reward for their effort," Bridgewater coach Rick Ladson said.
"We've come up against Pyramid Hill and Marong, who are playing really strong brands of footy and we're a new group getting used to our gamestyle together."
The Mean Machine were 20 points in front at half-time before busting the game wide open with a seven-goal to one third term.
"We were able to capitalise on our chances and maintain possession a little more in the second half, but Inglewood kept coming at us all day," Ladson said.
The Anzac Medal was won by Bridgewater's Harry Donegan, whose game ended during the third term with a knee injury.
Andrew Collins and Josh Martyn each kicked five goals for the Mean Machine, while versatile big man Jack Ozanne in the ruck also impressed.
Inglewood - which still hasn't beaten Bridgewater since 2008 - named Thomas Kennedy and Nathan Angelino its best, while Cody Wright kicked three of the Blues' eight goals.
Newbridge fought back from a slow start to mow down Maiden Gully YCW and win by eight points.
With both sides hunting their first wins of the season it was the Maroons - who had trailed at each of the first three breaks - who triumphed 8.14 (62) to 8.6 (54) at Maiden Gully.
"We were five goals down 10 minutes into the game and were just gradually able to work our way back into it," Newbridge coach Luke Freeman said.
"We didn't catch them until the last quarter, so it was tough going after we were a bit rattled early.
"We didn't have a bench during the last quarter and they were a few players down as well, so we both had to really grind it out... there were a lot of tired blokes out there at the end giving it their all."
In a game where just 16 goals were kicked, Harry Whittle's four for the Maroons were telling.
"Harry played most of the day forward, but we threw him into the middle late and he had a big impact in there," Freeman said.
"In that last quarter Tyler McLeod, Brandon Etherington and Mitch Hocking just kept working and willed themselves to the contest... they were huge for us."
The loss has consigned the Eagles to their first 0-3 start to a season since 2008. Midfield recruit Jessi Lampi and ruckman Chris Howgate were named best for Maiden Gully YCW.
Strong first and third quarters were the catalyst for Pyramid Hill's 49-point win at home over Bears Lagoon-Serpentine.
In their first game following back-to-back weeks off the Bulldogs won 15.11 (101) to 8.4 (52), which included outscoring the Bears 77-13 in the second and third terms.
"I thought offensively we were quite good, but we've still got a bit to work on defensively," Bulldogs coach Nathan Fitzpatrick said.
"After a couple of weeks off it was pleasing to come out the way we did in the first quarter and get a good start (7.2 to 2.0)."
Among the highlights for the Bulldogs was 17-year-old Mitch Gunther on debut snagging a goal with his first kick.
Braidy Dickens, Bailey George and Will Perryman each kicked three goals for the Bulldogs, whose best were midfielder Billy Micevski (two goals), forward George and veteran Gavin James off half-back.
Josh Walsh, Ryan Prendergast and James Bailey battled hard for the Bears, who had Andrew Gladman kick three goals.
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