LVFNL Football Grand Final Preview | Panthers, Bulldogs chase historic premiership victory


WHATEVER the result, Marong or Pyramid Hill will mark a historic premiership victory in the Bendigo Bank Loddon Valley FNL senior footy grand final on Saturday.

The Linton Jacobs-coached Marong is chasing back-to-back premierships, a feat it has never achieved in the Valley when it takes to Inglewood’s turf at Dissy Machinery Oval.

The big clash starts at 2.30pm.

Marong is unbeaten in pursuit of the ’24 premiership cup and has a formidable attack led by Brandyn Grenfell, a century goalkicker the past two seasons for the club.

The Nathan Fitzpatrick-coached Pyramid Hill is aiming to break a 73-year premiership drought.

The Bulldogs have featured in several grand finals since they beat Mitiamo in the 1950 Mitiamo District FL grand final by five points, but been runner-up each time.

Although the Bulldogs carry the underdog status this time, they are not fazed by the challenge.

Most recent hit-out between Marong and Pyramid Hill was the second semi-final at Gadsden Finance Serpentine Reserve.

The Bulldogs were within five points going into the last term, but Marong kicked away for a 109-85 victory.

It was in stark contrast to their meetings in the home-and-away series where Marong won at home on East West Oval in Malone Park by seven goals in round four, and by 20 goals at Mitchell Park in the 13th round.

It’s been a 2-1 run for Pyramid Hill this finals series.

Wins for the Dogs were against Bears-Lagoon Serpentine by 69 points in the qualifying final, and by 52 points in last Saturday’s preliminary final.

Among the many key match-ups for Pyramid Hill in the grand final will be in defence where Dylan Morison, Tom McGregor and Gavin James are up against the likes of Brandyn Grenfell, Matt Riordan and Kain Robins.

The Dogs have the run of Seb Relouw and Thomas Hetherington from the back half.

Marong ruckman Michael Bradbury has had an outstanding season and teams brilliantly with the likes of Nathan Devanny and Jimmy Gadsden.

Crucial roles will be played by Bulldogs’ big men Adrian Holland and Lachlan Sidebottom.

The Harding medallists as the league’s fairest and best of the past two seasons, Dylan Collis and Billy Micevski play crucial on-ball or midfield roles for Pyramid Hill.

Marong also has a Harding medallist in Corey Gregg as captain, and his brother, Ben in the line-up.

In attack the Bulldogs have Zach Alford, captain Steven Gunther, Jesse Sheanan and Bailey George up against the likes of Brodie Hartland, Richard Tibbett, Will Gadsden and Matt Willox.

Unbeaten in the reserves competition, Marong takes on Pyramid Hill in the season decider from 12.30pm.

The Panthers also have the under-18s in the grand final.

Marong achieved the premiership trifecta last September, but no club has won all three grand finals in consecutive years.

Margins in Marong’s wins against Pyramid Hill this season have been 59, 63 and 49 points.

Best in the Panthers’ win against Pyramid Hill in the second semi were Noah McCaig, Grant Dowler, Billy Stewart and Jai Gretgrix.

Marong’s team for the grand final includes Patrick and Reece Gretgrix, Sam Taylor, Tucker Thach, Carl Thiesz, and Zack Turnbull.

The Bulldogs bounced back for an 82-30 victory against Maiden Gully YCW in the preliminary final.

Pyramid Hill’s best in the most recent clash with Marong were Thomas Nunn, Brad and Matthew Moon, and Darcy Hetherington.

The Bulldogs’ team chasing the cup includes Mitch Mitch Gunther, Nathan Moon, Will Perryman, Rowan Pollock, and Mark Swiney.

Huge test for Pyramid Hill to break Marong’s streak in the seniors or reserves on that one day in September.

What a win/s it or they would be to remember.