BRIDGEWATER has elevated into the top three at the halfway mark of the Loddon Valley league season following a crucial win over Mitiamo on Saturday.
The Mean Machine replaced the Superoos in third position with their 23-point win at Mitiamo, 15.12 (102) to 10.19 (79).
"It was a tight tussle and just a really good battle all day. Thankfully, we were able to string it together more consistently over the four quarters and come away with the win," Bridgewater coach Rick Ladson said.
The Mean Machine won the game despite having two less scoring shots than the Superoos, who were off-target from the outset when they scored 1.7 in the first quarter.
"Full credit to our defenders, I thought they were fantastic today," Ladson said.
"Mitiamo probably would have liked to have kicked six or seven more of their set-shots, but we did spoil a lot of balls through, so quite a few of their behinds were from our defensive actions.
"For our young group I thought today was a really good learning curve and a good step forward."
For our young group I thought today was a really good learning curve and a good step forward- Rick Ladson - Bridgewater coach
In his return to the side Andrew Collins was the best for the Mean Machine showing plenty of class in the tricky conditions, while Lachlan Allison in defence was also a strong contributor and Josh Martyn with six goals was lively up forward.
"Andy was just phenomenal and Lachie Allison down back was solid for us all day," Ladson said.
"Harry Donegan and Emile Pavlich were both strong in the midfield and we had a couple of lads play their first games with us in Joel Green and Tim Wood.
"Both Joel and Tim had massive impacts on the game, but unfortunately Tim got knocked out in the last quarter going back with the flight and was taken away in an ambulance."
The Mean Machine also lost Jacob Ellings with a nose injury.
The Superoos - who are now 1-3 on their home ground this year - were best served by two of their on-ballers in Carl Nicholson and Ross Turner.
Forward Jay Reynolds (four) and Nicholson (three) combined for seven of Mitiamo's 10 goals.
Bears Lagoon-Serpentine has climbed into the top five after holding off a fast-finishing Maiden Gully YCW.
The Bears were well in control of their clash at Maiden Gully at half-time when they lead 42-15, before the Eagles had the better of the second half kicking five goals to two.
But it was a deficit too big for the Eagles to overcome in the difficult conditions as the Bears clung on to win 8.10 (58) to 7.10 (52).
"We had the game on our terms in the first half, but we always knew YCW would come out strong in the second half and they really pushed us," Bears coach Justin Laird said.
"I challenged the boys at three quarter-time with the rain coming down to fight it out and we'd have to work really hard, which we did and were able to get over the line."
I challenged the boys at three quarter-time with the rain coming down to fight it out and we'd have to work really hard, which we did and were able to get over the line- Justin Laird - BL-Serpentine coach
Charlie Gadsden's brilliant form over the past five games continued to be the Bears' best player.
"Being an in-and-under type player, the conditions really suited Charlie today and he thrived," said Laird, who kicked two goals and was also among the Bears' best.
The Bears' Andrew Gladman was the game's leading goalkicker with three.
Of the seven games the Eagles have now lost, Saturday was their third defeat by less than two goals.
Corey Walsh and Nathan Murley were named the Eagles' two best players.
Newbridge won its second game of the season and moved off the bottom of the ladder with a 33-point win over Calivil United at home.
The Maroons made more of their scoring opportunities than the inaccurate Demons to win 12.12 (84) to 6.15 (51).
One of the stars of the win for the Maroons was Ryan Burt, who relished a new role up forward to kick six goals.
"He has been a key defender most of his career, but he has kicked goals the past couple of weeks," Newbridge coach Luke Freeman said.
"He has straightened us up and is taking some really good contested marks... it wasn't just the goals he kicked today, but also the marks he took higher up the ground to set up other guys.
"Our big forwards in Ryan, Chris Dixon and Austin Fithall were all massive today for us with their marking, but overall it was a good effort across the board."
The Demons' inaccurate score of 6.15 included 2.10 in the first half when, despite having had four more scoring shots than Newbridge, trailed the Maroons by 21 points at the main break.
"Those missed chances have hurt us and is a bit of the story of our year," injured Demons' coach Jack Daley said.
"Credit to Newbridge, they handled the conditions a lot better than we did. We were fumbly and turned the ball over and they were much cleaner than us."
Jack Burns, who kicked three of Calivil United's six goals, was the Demons' best.
Pyramid Hill continued its long-time domination over Inglewood with a 101-point victory.
The Bulldogs made it 27-straight wins over the Blues with their 18.18 (126) to 3.7 (25) win at Inglewood as they have now ticked off wins against all eight rival sides this year.
The ladder-leading Pyramid Hill had six multiple goalkickers in the win, including their best player Seb Relouw (two), who excelled in the challenging conditions.
"The ball being wet and on the ground a fair bit today really suited him," Pyramid Hill coach Nathan Fitzpatrick said.
Brad Ladson on the wing and half-back was also a standout for the Bulldogs, while Braidy Dickens with four kicked more goals than Inglewood.
Forward Bailey George kicked three goals for the Bulldogs, but has a groin concern out of the game.
The Blues had the wind in the first quarter, but squandered their chances with it with a return of 1.6 before the Bulldogs took over in the second term.
Luke Matheson was best for the Blues, who have now lost four games in a row - including three by 80-plus points after such a promising start - and for the first time this season have dropped outside the top five.
There is a Queen's Birthday general bye in the LVFNL next weekend.
Newbridge 3.1 7.1 9.6 12.12 (84)
Calivil United 0.3 2.10 2.13 6.15 (51)
GOALS: Newbridge: R.Burt 6, C.Dixon 2, H.Whittle 1, M.Hocking 1, L.Nihill 1, T.McLeod 1; Calivil United: J.Burns 3, A.Daniels 1, J.Greenwood 1, M.Avard 1
BEST: Newbridge : R.Burt, T.Hobson, C.Sanders, H.Whittle, L.Dixon, M.Hocking; Calivil United: J.Burns, P.Ryan, B.Rogers, M.Avard, J.Lea, O.Murphy
Pyramid Hill 2.2 7.9 12.15 18.18 (126)
Inglewood 1.6 1.7 2.7 3.7 (25)
GOALS: Pyramid Hill: B.Dickens 4, M.Cheesman 3, B.George 3, W.Perryman 2, B.Morison 2, S.Relouw 2, J.Willcocks 1, A.Holland 1; Inglewood: C.Wright 1, C.Love 1
BEST: Pyramid Hill: S.Relouw, B.Ladson, S.Gunther, G.James, R.Dickens, B.Micevski; Inglewood: L.Matheson, A.Lowe, N.Angelino, C.Ingham, T.Alexander, G.Nevins
B/L Serpentine 1.5 6.6 6.9 8.10 (58)
MGYCW 0.2 2.3 5.7 7.10 (52)
GOALS: B/L Serpentine: A.Gladman 3, J.Laird 2, J.Taig 1, D.Tineo 1, R.Maher 1; MGYCW: L.Roberts 1, J.Butty 1, J.Worsley 1, H.McCartney 1, G.Brown 1, N.Murley 1, W.Mitrovic 1
BEST: B/L Serpentine: C.Gadsden, H.Gadsden, J.Laird, K.Paxton, J.Walsh, Z.Stone; MGYCW: C.Walsh, N.Murley, S.Turner, H.McCartney, J.Gallaher, C.Angove
Bridgewater 4.3 7.5 11.8 15.12 (102)
Mitiamo 1.7 4.12 5.17 10.19 (79)
GOALS: Bridgewater: J.Martyn 6, L.Needs 2, T.Estrada 2, J.Green 1, B.Stepien 1, N.Naughton 1, M.Baker 1, H.Donegan 1; Mitiamo: J.Reynolds 4, C.Nicholson 3, J.Falls 1, T.Grant 1, R.Turner 1
BEST: Bridgewater: A.Collins, L.Allison, B.Stepien, H.Donegan, J.Martyn, E.Pavlich; Mitiamo : C.Nicholson, R.Turner, D.Mowat, N.Twigg, T.Rogers, J.Wiegard
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