NEWBRIDGE pulled off its best win since its 2018 Loddon Valley league grand final victory after triumphing in a last-kick thriller against arch-rival Bridgewater on Saturday.
With the Maroons trailing by three points key forward Chris Dixon marked 40m out in the dying seconds.
Having already booted five goals, Dixon then stood up under pressure, launching a shot at goal that sailed through, with the siren sounding moments after the ball left his boot.
Dixon's goal delivered the Maroons a 12.10 (82) to 11.13 (79) victory against their most fiercest of foe at Bridgewater, sending Maroons' players and supporters into raptures in one of the upsets of the season.
In what has been a tough season for the Maroons it was just their third victory and in doing so, they dealt a blow to Bridgewater's top-three hopes.
"Today proves to the boys they are able to match it with the quality teams," Newbridge coach Luke Freeman said.
"There were times when Bridgewater was all over us, but our ability to just keep fighting back and get the game back on our terms is something I'm really proud of.
"It was a very similar situation we had been in at three quarter-time last week against Serp."
A week earlier the Maroons had been three points down at the last change against Bears Lagoon-Serpentine, but dropped away badly in the final term to lose by 49.
On Saturday the game was again up for grabs at three quarter-time with the Maroons ahead by five points.
"Andy Collins kicked a couple of amazing goals early in the last quarter that got Bridgewater going," Freeman said.
"The game felt a bit like it was unfolding the same as last week when Serp ran all over us, but the boys have grown from what happened last week and were able to stand up, fight back and win.
"I've got enormous pride in the group."
While Dixon's six goals were hugely influential in the win for the Maroons, their best players were led by Dylan Lloyd.
"Dylan was enormous for us. He had the job on Andrew Collins when he was forward and we all know the class player Andy is and he showed that a couple of times in that last quarter," Freeman said.
"But I thought overall Lloydy did a really good job and had the better of their battle.
"Caleb Argus was a bull for us all day. He hates getting beaten in the contest and led the way with his intensity.
"Dicko with his six goals was huge and took some really big contested marks. And to kick a goal on the siren to win the game... it doesn't get much better than that for a player.
"And Austin Fithall was great for us too. He normally plays forward, but we put him back on Josh Martyn (one goal) and he did a great job on him."
The loss leaves the Mean Machine two games, plus 13 per cent, behind third-placed Mitiamo with two rounds remaining.
"Unfortunately for us, we had our chances to be in front, but just didn't take them," Bridgewater coach Rick Ladson said.
"It was a bit of a scrap of a contest all day and Newbridge was fortunate enough to be in front when the siren went.
"There was an opportunity that was missed today for us and does it make it (finishing third) harder, yes, but it is what it is and our mentality is to turn a negative today into a positive next week."
Consistent midfielder Harry Donegan led the best players for the Mean Machine, who had two more scoring shots than the Maroons.
Tyler Estrada and Lloyd Needs kicked three goals each and both played well for Bridgewater.
Mitiamo recorded its biggest win of the season, beating Maiden Gully YCW by 88 points at home.
In a pleasing sign for coach Marcus McKern given his side has had a tendency this year to fall away in the back end of games, the Superoos put together four solid quarters in their 18.16 (124) to 5.6 (36) victory.
The Superoos led 54-29 at half-time and then upped the ante in the second half, outscoring the Eagles 70-7 with the returning Carl Nicholson leading the charge.
"Carl came back from a hamstring today and he was best-on-ground. He won plenty of footy, was good in the air and kicked a couple of goals," McKern said.
"Lee Dale was super again... our midfield really dominated.
"Daniel Mowat at full-back did a great job to hold Matt Gilmore to two goals and also kicked a couple himself.
"Overall, the boys really stood up today and played a good brand of footy."
The Superoos had a spread of nine goalkickers, with Jay Reynolds (four), Ryan Wellington (three), Harry McCormick (two), Mowat (two) and Nicholson (two) all slotting multiples.
Consistent midfielder Jessi Lampi was best for the Eagles, who had gone into the game having won three of their previous four, but were comprehensively outplayed by the Superoos.
For the third game in a row - and ninth time this season - Marong won by a triple-figure margin as its imposing form continued.
This time it was Bears Lagoon-Serpentine on the end of a hiding as the Panthers won by 130 points, 24.18 (162) to 5.2 (32), at Serpentine.
The Panthers produced their most brutal first term of the season, racing to a 69-1 lead at quarter-time.
After conceding 11 goals in the first quarter the Bears limited the Panthers to just 13 more for the remainder of the game.
Such has been the red-hot form he has been in, Marong full-forward Brandyn Grenfell "only" kicked eight goals, taking his season tally to 137.
Grenfell will start next Saturday's game against Calivil United - the Panthers' last of the home and away season - needing just four goals to set a new league record, with the benchmark currently 140 held by Bridgewater's Peter Collins in 1982.
As well as Grenfell's eight, the Panthers also had fellow forward Kain Robins slot five goals, while experienced midfielder Corey Gregg, who was named best, chipped in with three.
Despite the 130-point margin, the Bears did manage to win one quarter, outscoring the Panthers 18-11 in the second term.
"We always knew it was going to be a massive challenge coming up against the in-form team in the competition," Bears coach Justin Laird said.
"They kicked 11 goals to our none in the first quarter, but I thought after that our effort and intent was there."
Laird playing in the ruck was best for the Bears.
A depleted Calivil United was on the end of a 152-point hiding at home from Pyramid Hill.
The Bulldogs made the most of their opportunities in front of goal, nailing 29 of 38 scoring shots as they won 29.9 (183) to 5.1 (31).
The quartet of Bailey George (eight), Braidy Dickens (five), Steve Gunther (four) and Bryden Morison (four) combined for 21 goals for the Bulldogs.
On-ballers Gunther and Morison led the best players for the Bulldogs, whose third quarter was particularly impressive when they kicked 10 goals without a miss.
The Demons have been ravaged with COVID and injury of late, making what was already going to be a difficult proposition against the Bulldogs all the more tougher.
"It was a tough day... we had 32 unavailable across the seniors and reserves," said Demons coach Jack Daley, who was his side's best player after having had to miss last week with a viral infection.
"The boys had a go and battled away, but Pyramid Hill is a high quality team. They move the ball really well... I reckon they kicked 15 of their goals launching from half-back.
"They are obviously getting to the pointy end of the season and looking to sharpen up and were very good today."
Mitiamo Seniors 4.5 8.6 12.12 18.16 (124)
MGYCW Seniors 0.3 4.5 5.6 5.6 (36)
GOALS: Mitiamo Seniors: J.reynolds 4, R.Wellington 3, H.McCormick 2, D.Mowat 2, C.Nicholson 2, R.Turner 2, L.Dale 1, M.White 1, J.Falls 1; MGYCW Seniors: M.Gilmore 2, N.Murley 2, M.Dean 1
BEST: Mitiamo Seniors: C.Nicholson, D.Mowat, L.Dale, B.Baines, J.reynolds, R.Turner; MGYCW Seniors: J.Lampi, N.Murley, D.Wust, N.McLaren, E.Crisp, H.McCartney
Pyramid Hill Seniors 5.5 13.7 23.7 29.9 (183)
Calivil United Seniors 0.0 1.0 2.0 5.1 (31)
GOALS: Pyramid Hill Seniors: B.George 8, B.Dickens 5, S.Gunther 4, B.Morison 4, S.Relouw 3, M.Cheesman 2, S.Mann 1, J.Woodward 1, B.Dalton 1; Calivil United Seniors: B.Baker 2, C.Smith 1, B.Sexton 1, J.Lawry 1
BEST: Pyramid Hill Seniors: S.Gunther, B.Morison, E.Caburnay, B.George, S.Mann, R.Dickens; Calivil United Seniors: J.Daley, J.Burns, L.Brook, L.McAllister, J.Lawry, E.Ritchie
Marong Seniors 11.3 12.8 20.11 24.18 (162)
B/L Serpentine Seniors 0.1 3.1 4.2 5.2 (32)
GOALS: Marong Seniors: B.Grenfell 8, K.Robins 5, C.Gregg 3, J.McCaig 2, R.Taylor 2, N.Devanny 2, B.Gregg 1, K.Manley 1; B/L Serpentine Seniors:
BEST: Marong Seniors: C.Gregg, J.Gadsden, N.Devanny, A.Ward, K.Robins, B.Grenfell; B/L Serpentine Seniors: J.Laird, H.Gadsden, D.Poulter, J.Walsh, B.Harrison, B.Sheahan
Newbridge Seniors 4.2 7.4 10.7 12.10 (82)
Bridgewater Seniors 3.2 6.6 9.8 11.13 (79)
GOALS: Newbridge Seniors: C.Dixon 6, C.Sanders 2, C.Argus 1, R.Burt 1, J.Murray 1, M.Hocking 1; Bridgewater Seniors: L.Needs 3, T.Estrada 3, A.Collins 2, T.Naughton 1, T.Wood 1, J.Martyn 1
BEST: Newbridge Seniors: D.Lloyd, C.Argus, A.Fithall, C.Dixon, W.Daly, B.Etherington; Bridgewater Seniors: H.Donegan, J.Symons, H.Symons, E.Pavlich, C.Prest, L.Needs
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