POWER sides Pyramid Hill and Marong further asserted their authority on the Loddon Valley league on Saturday, each beating fellow top-five opponents by 94 points.
The dominant wins by the two pace-setters further whets the appetite for their looming blockbuster showdown this Saturday that is very much shaping as a grand final preview.
Marong dished out the biggest hiding Mitiamo has been dealt for eight years with a 25.10 (160) to 9.12 (66) thumping of the Superoos at home.
In front of a big crowd in support of the now annual Annette Grant Memorial Round the game was already a foregone conclusion by half-time as the Panthers bolted to an 84-point lead at the main break.
The Panthers made the most of their forward opportunities in the first half, kicking 16.4 from 20 scoring shots while the Superoos could muster just 2.4.
"I was really pleased with the way we started and our intensity was really good... the boys certainly came to play," Marong coach Linton Jacobs said.
"We're fully aware that Mitiamo had a few players missing, and so did we, but I was really pleased with our contest work, pressure and tackling, especially in the first half."
The 94-point victory featured yet another big haul of goals from star Marong forward Brandyn Grenfell, who continues to close in on the ton.
Grenfell took his season tally to 90 goals from just 11 games with a bag of nine - his last seven games now reading hauls of 9, 10, 13, 6, 8, 14 and 11.
Fellow key forward Kain Robins also caused the Superoos' defence plenty of headaches with six goals.
"The two big fellas were fantastic," Jacobs said.
"Throughout the week we weren't sure whether Kain was going to get up, but he played and makes a massive difference for us.
"To have two big guys who can take contested marks inside 50 is a massive bonus and they both kicked straight."
As well as the two key forwards dominating, the Panthers' younger brigade led by Ryley Taylor, Jack McCaig and Jimmy Gadsden all showed their class, while midfielder Nathan Devanny (three goals) was named best.
The 94-point margin was the biggest hiding third-placed Mitiamo has copped since losing to Bridgewater by 97 points in round 15 of the 2014 season.
"It was a disappointing result. The first half we fumbled, didn't stick tackles, turned the footy over and Marong outplayed us in all facets," Mitiamo coach Marcus McKern said.
"They are a very-well drilled team and had 22 blokes play their role where as we left it up to too few.
"To our boys credit our second half was a lot better, but we need to pick ourselves up and move onto next week."
Gun midfielders Doug Thomas and Lee Dale were named the two best for the Superoos, while veteran Aaron McKean in his return to senior football kicked two goals.
Pyramid Hill has regained top spot from Marong on the ladder after another stifling defensive performance.
The Bulldogs kept fifth-placed Bears Lagoon-Serpentine goal-less until late in the final quarter in their 17.14 (116) to 2.10 (22) win at home.
It was the seventh time in their 10 games this year the unbeaten Bulldogs have held the opposition to less than 50 points.
The Bulldogs' tally of 17 goals featured 15 kicked across the second (8) and final (7) quarters when they had the aid of a strong breeze.
"Our defenders did a really good job again today as they have all year with their ability to allow us to slingshot into our offence," Bulldogs coach Nathan Fitzpatrick said.
Steven Gunther, who was the Bulldogs' best, and Bailey George both kicked five goals, while Pyramid Hill unveiled a mid-season signing in former Casey Scorpions VFL player Dylan Collis.
"Steve Gunther played up at Waratahs in Darwin a couple of years ago and knows Dylan from there, so he has come on board with us for the rest of the year," Fitzpatrick said.
"He goes through the middle, but can play half-forward or half-back and is a really good ball user."
On a tough day for the Bears, who scored just 0.6 with their two quarters with the breeze, consistent defender Josh Walsh was named best.
Nine goals to forward Josh Martyn helped Bridgewater get back on the winner's list against Inglewood.
Having lost their previous two games against Marong and Pyramid Hill the Mean Machine trailed the Blues by six points at half-time.
However, the Mean Machine absorbed the challenge from the Blues, kicking nine goals to four after half-time to prevail 14.14 (98) to 10.7 (67) and extend their streak of wins over Inglewood to 27 in a row that began in 2008.
"The boys kept chipping away today; we had a bit of an inexperienced team, so it was a good learning game for a lot of younger players," Bridgewater coach Rick Ladson said.
"Josh (Martyn) played a great game for us up forward. He's just such a classy player, a great leader and there were some big moments today where he needed to kick well set-shot wise and he did that, so it was a good reward for effort."
The Mean Machine ended the game with 17 players on the field after Andrew Collins, who kicked three goals, was yellow carded and reported in the final term.
The Blues suffered a blow early in the game with an injury to key midfielder Bregon Cotchett.
"Our boys never backed down today, but in the end Bridgewater's experience probably proved telling," Inglewood coach Darrell Billett said.
"I couldn't have been prouder of the effort of our boys being undermanned. Today showed that we can compete, but it's about bringing the same effort every week."
Ruckman Tom Alexander was the best for the Blues, who had Charlie McGaw kick three goals.
Maiden Gully YCW beat Newbridge in the closest game of the season so far.
The Eagles made it two wins in a row with their 8.9 (57) to 7.13 (55) victory as they made the Maroons pay for their inaccuracy.
In a game where just 15 goals were kicked, the contributions of Brayden Aitken (four) and coach Wayne Mitrovic (three) were telling in the win for the Eagles.
Playing at home, the Maroons fell two points short having started the final term 17 points in arrears.
Caleb Sanders kicked three goals for the Maroons and was named best.
It was the second tight game between the two sides this year after the Maroons won their first encounter by eight points in round three.
MGYCW Seniors 2.3 3.6 6.8 8.9 (57)
Newbridge Seniors 1.2 2.6 3.9 7.13 (55)
GOALS: MGYCW Seniors: B.Aitken 4, W.Mitrovic 3, N.Murley 1; Newbridge Seniors: C.Sanders 3, C.Dixon 1, M.Hocking 1, R.Burt 1, A.Fithall 1
BEST: MGYCW Seniors: B.Aitken, C.Walsh, J.Lampi, J.Carroll, E.Crisp, N.McLaren; Newbridge Seniors: C.Sanders, T.McLeod, P.Andrews, B.Etherington, M.Hocking, L.Nihill
Marong Seniors 6.1 16.4 21.6 25.10 (160)
Mitiamo Seniors 1.2 2.4 6.10 9.12 (66)
GOALS: Marong Seniors: B.Grenfell 9, K.Robins 6, N.Devanny 3, C.Gregg 3, R.Taylor 1, J.Gadsden 1, K.Manley 1, D.Johnstone 1; Mitiamo Seniors: A.Mckean 2, B.Baines 2, L.Dale 1, D.Thomas 1, M.Grant 1, J.reynolds 1, T.Grant 1
BEST: Marong Seniors: N.Devanny, B.Grenfell, R.Taylor, J.McCaig, K.Robins, J.Gadsden; Mitiamo Seniors: D.Thomas, L.Dale, J.Wiegard, E.Hocking, R.Turner
Pyramid Hill Seniors 1.3 9.5 10.8 17.14 (116)
B/L Serpentine Seniors 0.2 0.4 0.8 2.10 (22)
GOALS: Pyramid Hill Seniors: B.George 5, S.Gunther 5, B.Dickens 3, W.Perryman 2, B.Micevski 2; B/L Serpentine Seniors: D.Poulter 1, A.Gladman 1
BEST: Pyramid Hill Seniors: S.Gunther, Z.Dingwall, B.Micevski, D.Morison, J.Woodward, R.Dickens; B/L Serpentine Seniors: J.Walsh, Z.Stone, J.Hancock, R.Prendergast, B.Harrison, D.Poulter
Bridgewater Seniors 5.1 5.4 10.10 14.14 (98)
Inglewood Seniors 5.3 6.4 8.6 10.7 (67)
GOALS: Bridgewater Seniors: J.Martyn 9, A.Collins 3, T.Estrada 1; Inglewood Seniors: C.McGaw 3, C.Wright 2, L.Nemet 2, S.Hare 1, B.Cotchett 1, A.Lister 1
BEST: Bridgewater Seniors: L.Allison, J.Ozanne, D.Wood, J.Martyn, H.Symons; Inglewood Seniors: T.Kennedy, C.Ingham, L.Matheson, C.McGaw, A.Lister, C.Wright
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