THE fighting qualities of Bears Lagoon Serpentine and Mitiamo have been on show for many weeks as they hovered in or just outside the Bendigo Bank Loddon Valley FNL’s senior footy’s top five all season.
The Bears and Superoos fight to keep their run going when they meet in Sunday’s elimination final at Newbridge.
After being 0-4 on last on the ladder after five rounds, the Greg Gadsden-coached Bears fought back brilliantly to post a win-loss record of 9-7 and fourth place at the end of the home and away series.
The Bears scored a 75-69 win against Mitiamo at Serpentine in round six, but the Superoos triumphed by four goals in their latest meeting in round 15.
The Andy Grant-coached Mitiamo also had a 9-7 record.
In terms of scoring power, Bears Lagoon Serpentine has had Cody Gunn, 47 goals; James Rippingale,30; and Andy Gladman, 28; lead the way.
The Bears have had Charlie and Harry Gadsden, the experienced Nathan McNally, as well as Gunn, Rippingale and Kalem Paxton play well in many matches.
A big day for BLS includes all three football teams contesting the elimination finals.
Mitiamo’s leading goalkickers are Ryan Wellington 22, Dylan Clohesy 18, Michael I’Anson 15, and Thomas Grant on 14.
In-form players in Mitiamo’s line-up include I’Anson, Jarryd Wiegard, Terence Reeves, Aaron McKean and Luke Lougoon.
The Superoos kicked off the year by beating last season’s runner-up and premier, Bridgewater and Calivil United in rounds one and two.
Play at the level of intensity they did in those games and Mitiamo will be tough to beat.
Finals action kicks off at Inglewood on Saturday when Maiden Gully YCW meets Pyramid Hill in the qualifying final.
The Eagles beat the Bulldogs both times they clashed in the regular season.
A 129-84 victory on Pyramid’s turf at Mitchell Park in round eight showed the Eagles were a force to be reckoned with.
An injury-hit Pyramid Hill was beaten by 45 points in the Eagles next at Marist Oval in the 17th round.
Maiden Gully YCW’s scoring power will test their opponents all match.
The Eagles’ attack is led by Cohen Kekick and Luke Gray on 33 goals apiece, coach Wayne Mitrovic on 31, Natnael McLaren 17, and Luke Ross on 14.
Restricted to just 10 games this season, Mitrovic’s strength and nous near goal is a huge plus for the Eagles.
Maiden Gully YCW will be desperate to hit back from last Saturday’s big loss to Newbridge under the Marist Oval lights.
Pyramid Hill will look to Mitchell Cheesman and Nathan Fitzpatrick, locked on 31 for the club’s goalkicking award as main targets inside forward 50.
The classy Billy Micevski has kicked 12 goals, but set up many more.
In a contest where midfield duels will be crucial, Maiden Gully YCW has the skill of Nick Waterson, Ryan Walker, McLaren, Matt Higgs and Luke Gray.
Key players for Pyramid Hill include Gavin James, Tom Sala, Riely Thiesz, Adrian Holland and Andrew Dobb.
Freshened up by last week’s bye and a few key players to return from injury, Pyramid Hill will be determined not to make it three losses in a row to the Eagles.
The winner faces Newbridge in the second semi-final on September 1 at Maiden Gully or Pyramid Hill.
Saturday’s qualifying finals at Empire State Hotel Oval, Inglewood:
Seniors at 2.15pm: Maiden Gully YCW Eagles v Pyramid Hill.
Reserves at 12.30pm: Newbridge v Pyramid Hill.
Under-18s at 10.50am Maiden Gully YCW Eagles v Bridgewater.
Sunday’s elimination finals at Adroit Insurance Group Riverside Oval, Newbridge:
Seniors at 2.15pm: Bears Lagoon Serpentine v Mitiamo.
Reserves at 12.30pm: Bears Lagoon Serpentine v Mitiamo.
Under-18s at 10.50am: Marong v Bears Lagoon Serpentine.