BRIDGEWATER coach Aimie Brown believes her team is more than capable of pressing for a top-three finish, given just an ounce of luck on the injury and sickness front.
A come-from-behind two-goal win over a tough and developing Newbridge on the weekend lifted a talented Mean Machine to their third win of the season ahead of a crucial next two weeks against Maiden Gully YCW and Mitiamo.
Their 3-2 record could just as easily read 4-1 after the Mean Machine finished on the other side of a two-goal game against Calivil United a fortnight ago, when the Demons came from behind to snatch the points.
Like many teams, Bridgewater has battled to field a full strength line-up this season.
On Saturday they were missing top recruit Carly Ladson, with four players, including goal attack Sidney Niemann, rising star Daisy Stringer and first gamers Piper Normoyle and Danielle Flood all playing parts of both the A and B-grade matches.
Brown is pleased with where her team's season appears to be heading.
"We are still in touch with the top teams and once we have some full sides back, I hope that we will be a threat to some of them," she said.
"I'd hope we can be top three.
"You put Carly Ladson back in the team and it's another versatile player with her height and her strength."
Ladson was unavailable due to her weekend commitment with the CVFLW representative team, which defeated Northern Country by 149 points at the QEO on Sunday.
Saturday's win was led at both ends of the court by experienced goal defence Kathryn Meade and goal shooter Claudia Collins, who is enjoying another fine season.
Brown reserved special praise for 15-year-old Stringer, who had an immense impact in the second half when the game was up for grabs.
"When she came on, her passing through the middle and feeding into the ring really helped turn the game in that last dying bit for us," she said.
"We also had Piper Normoyle and Danni Flood come on for their first A-grade games and Piper especially really stood up and took some really good intercepts through the midcourt.
"Those young girls are really developing and coming along. We've needed them the last few weeks to really stand up in A-grade as we have been hit a bit hard and they have.
"Hopefully we'll be back to full strength soon."
Back-to-back clashes against Maiden Gully YCW and Mitiamo, which played each other on Saturday, with the Eagles coming out on top by 13 goals, present an opportunity for the Mean Machine to bolster their prospects by claiming a genuine top-five scalp.
Their two games against top-five opponents this season have so far delivered a two-goal loss to Calivil United (third) and a nine-goal defeat against top-placed Marong in round two.
Bridgewater's three wins have come against Pyramid Hill, Bears Lagoon-Serpentine and Newbridge.
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