Pyramid Hill takes on a rampaging Mean Machine
PYRAMID Hill has to stop a rampaging Mean Machine from Bridgewater on Saturday to qualify for another senior footy grand final appearance in the Bendigo Bank Loddon Valley Football Netball League.
The Bulldogs and Mean Machine will fight for a chance to take on Marong in the season decider when they contest the preliminary final at Holloway Air Riverside Oval in Newbridge.
It’s a one-one record for Pyramid Hill this finals series.
The Nathan Fitzpatrick-coached Bulldogs scored a 50-point win against Mitiamo in the qualifying final, but was then beaten 102-44 by Marong in the second semi-final.
Bridgewater is in pursuit of a hat-trick of wins this finals campaign.
The Rick Ladson-coached Bridgewater won the elimination final against Bears Lagoon Serpentine by 55 points and followed up with a 49-point victory against Mitiamo in the first semi.
This season’s meetings between the preliminary finalists have both been won by Pyramid Hill by 20 and 35 points.
Key players for the Bulldogs include Dylan Morison, Brad Ladson and Gavin James in defence; captain Steven Gunther in the centre; rover Ryley Dickens; Dylan Collis, Braidy Dickens and Bailey George in attack.
The week began with ruck-rover Billy Micevski being crowned the Harding medallist as league fairest and best.
A blow for the Bulldogs is the classy Seb Relouw not being named in the team to take on Bridgewater.
The “big game” experience of Bridgewater star Andy Collins was to the fore as he kicked eight goals in the first semi-final victory.
Collins played at AFL level with Richmond and Carlton, and also won a premiership with Sandhurst in the Bendigo FNL, and with the Mean Machine.
He will again play a crucial role for the Machine, either through midfield or in attack.
Another key figure in Bridgewater’s attack is Josh Martyn who has kicked five goals last Saturday.
A premiership winner at Golden Square, Harry Donegan moved to Bridgewater this season and has starred in an on-ball role.
The skill and workrate of Donegan is behind many of Bridgewater’s attacks.
The Mean Machine will also look for big games from Cameron Ross in the ruck, Emile Pavlich, Michael Brooks, Nic Hall, Harry Symons, Alex Pollock and Zane Hoiles to keep their season rolling.
The consistent Callum Prest was not named in Bridgewater’s line-up.
A big day for Pyramid Hill and Bridgewater includes their reserves teams in action.
They met in the qualifying final where the Bulldogs won 76-24.
Pyramid Hill went down to Marong, 25-35 in last Saturday’s second semi-final.
Bridgewater kept premiership hopes alive in a 44-41 victory in the first semi against Newbridge.
Preliminary final day kicks off with the under-18s match between Bridgewater and Inglewood.
The second semi-final between Bridgewater and Marong ended in a 66-21 win for the Panthers.
Inglewood kicked off the finals with an impressive 122-40 victory against East Loddon in the first semi.
In a four-team competition it was Bridgewater which won all five clashes with the Blues in the home-and-away series.
Schedule for Saturday’s preliminary finals at Holloway Air Riverside Oval in Newbridge:
Under-18s at 10.40am: Bridgewater v Inglewood.
Reserves at 12.30pm: Pyramid Hill v Bridgewater.
Seniors at 2.15pm: Pyramid Hill v Bridgewater.
Written by Nathan Dole.