CRUCIAL matches at Newbridge, Bridgewater and Maiden Gully highlight this Saturday’s round 14 action in the Bendigo Bank Loddon Valley Football Netball League’s senior footy competition.
Newbridge and Marong do battle on the Maroons’ turf at Bendigo Locksmith Riverside Park.
Last week’s stunning victory by Marong at Pyramid Hill has kept the Panthers in the finals race.
Percentage is all that separates Newbridge, Marong and Bridgewater.
The Maroons gained a significant confidence lift from last week’s 16-goal win against Inglewood.
Newbridge coach Brad Comer and the team know the pressure will be far greater from the Panthers.
In round five, Marong beat Newbridge by five points at Discover Marong Oval in Malone Park.
Key players for Marong include Nathan Devanny in the centre, Corbin Fleming at centre half-back, Justin Hynes in the ruck, Ben Gregg as ruck rover, and Harry Graham and Ben McKinley in attack.
Comer’s return to the field is a huge plus for Newbridge.
The Maroons will also look for big games from the likes of Connor Toohey in the ruck, Tyler Romeril, Will Daly in the centre, Alex Trollop and Ed Coulthard in the defence, and Jordan Gilboy and Chris Dixon near goal.
Another big match will be at Laser Plumbing Bendigo Oval in Bridgewater where the Mean Machine takes on Bears Lagoon Serpentine.
The Bears were in superb form as they beat Mitiamo by nine points last round.
A talented line-up that includes James Rippingale, Brodie Leonard-Shannon, Darcy Hawker, Matt Gibbs, Nathan Twigg and Nathan McNally will be confident of taking the points on Bridgewater’s turf.
In round five, Bridgewater played brilliant football to win in the Bears’ den by 14 points.
The Mean Machine will be desperate to strike back after last week’s 86-point loss at Calivil.
After a bye, Maiden Gully YCW Eagles take on the red-hot Calivil United Demons at Marist College Oval in Maiden Gully.
In round five, the Eagles clawed their way to a 77-74 win in the Demons’ den.
Players to watch in the Eagles line-up are Nic Waterson on a wing, Matt Waterson at centre half-forward, Dylan Morris, Alex Pearson, Jake Klemm and coach Wayne Mitrovic.
Key players for the Demons include Jake Hall in the centre, Sam Demeo at full back, Michael Cooke and Will Jeffs in attack, Levi Moss and Jonas Somerville.
Inglewood faces a Pyramid Hill line-up on the rebound from defeat.
A bonus for the Ryan McNish-coached Blues is playing at Searle Bros Oval in Inglewood.
The Blues will be without in-form onballer Hayden Polglase for this clash.
Pyramid Hill has the experienced Lachlan O’Toole on the sidelines, but a team with the skill of Matt Klein-Breteler, Braidy Dickens, Bailey George, Bailey Goodwin, Gavin James and Billy Micevski should be too strong.
Mitiamo has the bye.
Loddon Valley FNL senior footy ladder:
Mitiamo 171 per cent, 40 points; Pyramid Hill 178, 36; Bears Lagoon Serpentine 114, 32; Maiden Gully YCW Eagles 97, 24; Newbridge 108, 20; Marong 96, 20; Bridgewater 79, 20; Calivil United 96, 16; Inglewood 41, 0.