ANOTHER chapter in the rivalry between Mitiamo and Bridgewater will be written in Saturday’s 18th round of the Bendigo Bank Loddon Valley Football Netball League season.
The Superoos and Mean Machine meet at John Forbes Oval in Mitiamo.
Restrictions on Melbourne-based players will affect some teams more than others.
Mitiamo puts its unbeaten record on the line against the second-placed Bridgewater.
It’s Road Safety Round in leagues across AFL Central Victoria so players and officials will wear blue armbands to promote and support the campaign.
On the footy field Mitiamo will be determined to maintain a psychological edge on its rival a week out from the start of the finals series.
When these clubs last met on June 26, Mitiamo won 69-32 in the ninth round showdown at Bridgewater Bakehouse Oval.
There is plenty of goalscoring power in both line-ups.
Mitiamo’s attack is led by co-coach Tyrone Downie, 38 goals; Tim Brooks and Ryan Wellington, 29; and Brent Downie, 17.
A gun recruit for Bridgewater, Josh Martyn leads the league’s goalkicking race on 56.
The Mean Machine also has Alex Powell, 27; Jarrod Fitzpatrick, 20; Lloyd Needs, 17; and Andy Collins, 17 goals in six games to test Mitiamo’s defence.
On-ball and midfield contests will be a key to fortunes of both teams.
Mitiamo has Nathan Twigg, Lucas Matthews, Doug Thomas and Ross Turner to take on Cameron Ross, Jarrod Fitzpatrick, Boden Alexander and Liam Jacques.
A strong Superoos’ defence is led by Max Simpson, Ben Bacon and Luke Lougoon.
Key players in the Mean Machine’s back six are Darren Clutton, Jake Rusbridge, Zane Hoiles and Tom Broadbent.
Mitiamo has brought in Ash Benbow, Lucas Matthews, Braydan Riddell and Jarad Webster for Waylon Draper, Ethan Hocking, Will Spicer and Jamie Twyford.
There were plenty of changes at Bridgewater.
Andy Collins, co-coach Jayden Donaldson, N Hall, Liam Jacques, J Naughton and Lloyd Needs all return, but Zeb Broadbent, Caillum Brady, Tom Dowd, Xavier Henderson and Harry Symons are key cogs missing from the Machine this round.
Bears Lagoon Serpentine takes on Pyramid Hill at Serpentine.
It’s a huge match as both will meet a week later in the elimination final.
The Bulldogs won the round nine clash with the Bears at Pyramid Hill’s Mitchell Park by 45 points.
Both teams were well beaten in their latest hit-outs on July 31.
Pyramid Hill will be keen to rebound from a 51-point loss to Mitiamo, while the Bears went down to Marong by 83 points.
Key players for the Bears include Tannar Cerrone in the centre, Jesse Evans at centre half-forward, rover Darcy Poulter, Justin Laird in the ruck, Orion Downing, Jeremy Hancock and Josh Walsh in defence.
The BLS defence faces a huge challenge against Braidy Dickens, 47 goals, and Bailey George, 28.
Other key players for the Bulldogs include Matt and Brad Ladson, Mitch Cheesman, Gavin James, Dylan Morison and Scott Mann.
Pyramid Hill has brought in Ed Caburnay, Mitch Dingwall and Evan Dorrington for Tom Brennan, Brad Driscoll and Billy Micevski.
Inglewood takes on Maiden Gully YCW Eagles at Inglewood’s Dissy Machinery Oval.
In round nine, Maiden Gully YCW held the Blues to a point in a 178-1 result at Marist College Oval.
The Darrell Billett-coached Inglewood will be determined to be far more competitive this time.
Best for the Wayne Mitrovic-coached Eagles in their latest clash with Bridgewater were Hamish McCartney, Cody Wright, Tom and Tori Ferguson.
Leading goalkickers for Maiden Gully YCW are Matt Gray, 16; Luke Gray, 12; and Sam Barnes, 11.
It’s been a tough season for the young line-up from Inglewood.
The determination and consistent play from the likes of Cody Stobaus in defence, ruck-rover Tynan Hywood, Jasper McClelland on a wing, Matt Rowe in the centre and captain Jaxon Billett have been highlights for the Blues.
Ins for Inglewood are Aaron Lister, Brodie Reddin-Jowett and David Rose for Shaun Morgan, Lachlan Nemet and Tyson Tresize.
Newbridge faces an enormous task against a red-hot Marong at Simonds Homes Riverside Oval in Newbridge.
It’s been a longer wait to return to action for the Maroons as they had the bye in the 16th round.
The Newbridge defence will be up against the likes of Kain Robins, 46 goals; Brandyn Grenfell, 38 goals in five matches; Adrian Pappin, 18; and Cory Jacobs, 15.
Leading goalkickers for Newbridge are Harry Whittle, 17; Chris Dixon, 15; and James Oliver, 11.
A strong Marong team includes Justin Hynes in the ruck, Ben and Corey Gregg, Nathan Devanny, Harry Graham and Adam Ward across half-back.
The Maroons will look for strong games from the likes of Ryan Burt at centre half-back, wingman Thomas Hobson, Chris and Logan Dixon, ruckman Corey Van Aken, Mitch Hocking and Dylan Lloyd in defence.
Marong has brought in Jacob Ede, Aron Morrish, Adrian Pappin and Simon Weekley for Will Gadsden, Carl Thiesz, Zac Turnbull and Nathan Walsh.
Calivil United has the bye.
The Demons goalkicking award was won by Jake Lawry on 20.
Loddon Valley FNL senior footy ladder:
Mitiamo 313 per cent, 100 per cent won; Bridgewater 245, 90; Marong 259, 81; Pyramid Hill 168, 54; Bears Lagoon Serpentine 115, 50; Maiden Gully YCW Eagles 95, 30; Newbridge 49, 20; Calivil United 36, 18; Inglewood 12, 0.
Written by Nathan Dole.