BRIDGEWATER got the top-five scalp it has long craved this season after defeating Calivil United by six goals in Saturday's round of LVFNL netball.
The Mean Machine, led by a standout performance in defence from Claudia Collins, withstood a spirited last quarter revival from the Demons to win 40-34.
Both teams were well below full-strength, with Bridgewater missing Carly Ladson and injured goal keeper Alanna Swatton, and Calivil United without injured goal shooter Mia McCrann-Peters, defender Jasmine Condliffe and Amy Murfitt (for three quarters).
Used to being without key players most weeks this season and accordingly forced to shuffle her side around, Mean Machine coach Aimie Brown hailed the win as a reward for digging deep.
"We just went into the game positive with the players we had and they did it," she said.
"The last two weeks, Claudia has gone down to defence and we have had one of our young girls Danni Flood, who is only 18, come up and she is playing really well with Sidney (Niemann) in goals. It really seems to be working.
"She is improving every week and really getting used to that body contact in senior netball and is doing well."
After restricting Calivil United to only 15 goals in the first three quarters, Bridgewater weathered a stunning last quarter fightback to take the points, as the Demons, led by Bridget Baker, piled on 20 goals to seven.
It provided a few anxious moments for Brown, whose team let a five-goal lead at three quarter time slip in a two-goal loss to the Demons earlier in the season.
"They did it to us last time and won, so we were prepared for it," she said.
"We were worried; they're a very good and experienced team, so we were happy to just get across the line.
"I've always said we've got the talent out there. We've been training hard and just trying to support each other in every grade across the board as we have flus and injuries hitting us.
"I've always known we could beat a top-three team - this is just step one for us."
Bridgewater has the bye in the next round, but gets its chance to build further momentum with a third straight win against Newbridge in a fortnight's time.
A second straight defeat for the Demons, coming on top of a loss to Mitiamo, saw them drop to fourth place, replaced in third by Marong after the Panthers' 10-goal win over Newbridge.
Far from perturbed, Calivil United co-coach Karen Pascoe was pleased with her team's effort with so many players missing and defender Michelle Balic battling an injury.
"We'd only shot 15 goals in those first three quarters and things were looking really dire and then our B-grade goal attack (Baker) came on at goal shooter and shot 17 goals in the last to get us back into the game," she said.
"To only go down by six was a pretty good outcome. We were happier than we were for a lot of the game.
"Bridgewater was steady and did a good job. Claudia in defence did a great job and their centre Daisy Stringer played really well too."
Pascoe said the drop to fourth, while not ideal, was not too worrisome, with the coach still confident the Demons can have an impact in finals from any position on the ladder.
She singled out young goal defence Keira Lawry and goal shooter Stephanie Demeo in stepping up from the 17-and-under team for the day to be good solid contributors.
Top side Maiden Gully YCW continued on its winning ways with a 57-31 victory over Pyramid Hill.
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