Intense contests to be played across semi-final weekend
HEAT is on across this weekend’s semi-finals in the Bendigo Bank Loddon Valley Football Netball League’s senior footy semi-finals.
On Saturday it’s top teams Marong and Pyramid Hill who will contest the second semi-final at Gadsden Finance Serpentine Reserve.
For the winner it’s progress to the grand final and a hard-earned rest.
For the defeated it’s await the winner of Sunday’s first semi between Bridgewater and Mitiamo to meet in a preliminary final.
This season’s contests between the Panthers and Bulldogs stand at one-all.
In round four it was Pyramid Hill which scored an 87-75 win on Marong’s turf at Malone Park.
Braidy Dickens kicked a match-high five goals for the Bulldogs as Ryley Dickens chipped in with three and captain Steven Gunther added two.
The Marong attack was led by Richard Tibbett on three as century goalkicker Brandyn Grenfell was held to just two.
Best for the Nathan Fitzpatrick-coached Bulldogs were Ryley and Braidy Dickens, Brad Ladson and Jake Willcocks.
Marong’s best were Richard Tibbett, Jimmy Gadsden, Ryley Taylor and Jack McCaig.
In the 13th round, Marong made the trek to Pyramid Hill’s Mitchell Park.
The Dogs led 32-26 at quarter-time, but the Linton Jacobs-coached Panthers unleashed a brilliant second quarter in which they scored 8.2 to 0.3.
Marong went on to win 114-68 as Brandyn Grenfell kicked six goals and Nathan Devanny, Lachlan Frankel, Lachlan Lee and Ryley Taylor booted two each.
Pyramid Hill’s leading goalkicker was Bailey George on three.
Panthers’ captain Corey Gregg was best afield as Lachlan Frankel, Jacob Ede and Lachlan Lee led the way.
Best for the Bulldogs were Zac Dingwall, Brad Driscoll, Bailey George and Billy Micevski.
Pyramid Hill kicked off the finals campaign with a 127-77 victory against Mitiamo in the qualifying final.
Dylan Collis kicked four goals as Bailey George, Steven Gunther and Will Perryman added three, and Seb Relouw chipped in with two.
Best were Zac Dingwall, Ryley Dickens, Dylan Collis and Adrian Holland.
In terms of beating the Panthers will be limiting the amount and qualify of supply to a powerful attack led by Brandyn Grenfell, 143 goals in 16 matches; Kain Robins, Ryley Taylor and Nathan Devanny.
Bulldogs’ defenders Dylan Morison, James Arratta, Zac Dingwall and Brad Ladson will all have key match-ups and also rely a lot on the workrate of team-mates across midfield and in on-ball roles.
A strong Pyramid Hill attack is led by Braidy Dickens, Seb Relouw, Bailey George and Scott Mann.
They will pit their skill against a Marong defence that includes Corbin Fleming, David Johnstone, Nathan Walsh and Will Gadsden.
Adrian Holland will be in the ruck opposed to Justin Hynes, while its Ryley Dickens and Billy Micevski as ruck-rover and rover against Corey Gregg and Jimmy Gadsden.
A sign of Marong’s strength is its named interchange of Ben Gregg, Cory Jacobs, Carl Thiesz and Adam Ward.
On Sunday it will be Mitiamo and Bridgewater fighting to stay in the premiership race when they meet in the first semi-final at Calivil Recreation Reserve.
The Marcus McKern-coached Superoos will aim to bounce back from a 50-point loss to Pyramid Hill in the qualifying final.
Jay Reynolds kicked four goals against the Bulldogs as Harry McCormick, three, and Daniel Mowat, two, were the other multiple goalkickers.
Mitiamo’s best in week one of the finals were Lee Dale, Tom Grant, Daniel Mowat and Ross Turner.
The Rick Ladson-coached Bridgewater marked a 97-42 victory against Bears Lagoon Serpentine in the elimination final.
Nic Hall, Josh Martyn and Emile Pavlich kicked three goals each.
Best for the Mean Machine were Lachlan Allison, Harry Donegan, Callum Prest and Cameron Ross.
Although it finished below Mitiamo on the ladder and the double chance for finals, Bridgewater beat the Superoos in both home and away matches.
In round nine it was Josh Martyn who kicked six goals and Tyler Estrada and Lloyd Needs added two in a 102-79 win for the Mean Machine at John Forbes Oval in Mitiamo.
The Superoos’ attack was led by Jay Reynolds, four, and Carl Nicholson, three.
Bridgewater’s best were Andy Collins, Lachlan Allison, Brayden Stepien and Harry Donegan.
Carl Nicholson, Ross Turner, Daniel Mowat and Nathan Twigg worked hard for Mitiamo.
The fierce rivals met in the last round of the home and away series at Bridgewater.
The Mean Machine led 67-65 at three quarter-time and then scored 6.3 to 5.1 in a dramatic final term to clinch a 106-96 victory.
Andy Collins starred with seven goals as Emile Pavlich, three, and Lloyd Needs, two, also did well near goal.
Mitiamo’s leading goalkickers were 400-plus gamer Lucas Matthews, three; Tom Grant, Harry McCormick and Ryan Wellington, two.
Best for the Machine were Callum Prest, Emile Pavlich, Nic Hall and Andy Collins.
Mitiamo’s best were Lee Dale, Carl Nicholson, Lachlan and Nathan Twigg.
There are two notable inclusions for the first semi-final.
Mitiamo regains ruckman/forward Michael I’Anson who missed the qualifying final because of a flight delay.
Bridgewater welcomes back Andy Collins to bolster a forward line that includes Josh Martyn, Emile Pavlich and Tim Wood.
A key for Mitiamo is its run and dare from defence through the likes of Luke Lougoon, Jarryd Wiegard, Daniel Mowat and Kyle Patten.
Michael I’Anson and Jay Reynolds are key targets in an attack that includes Tom Grant, Lucas Matthews and Harry McCormick.
Superoos’ on-ballers in ruckman Nathan Twigg, Doug Thomas and Lee Dale will play crucial roles against Cameron Ross, Callum Prest and Harry Donegan.
Bridgewater will look for strong games in defence by the likes of James Naughton, Harry and Jack Symons and Lachlan Allison.
Others to watch in the Machine line-up are Alex Pollock on a wing, Tyler Estrada and Zane Hoiles.
In the reserves competition, Marong meets Pyramid Hill in the second semi-final.
The Panthers beat the Bulldogs by 59 and 50 points in the run to the finals.
Pyramid Hill scored a 76-24 victory in the qualifying final clash with Bridgewater as Mitchell Dingwall, Matthew Moon, Glen James, Jack Hickmott, Luke Padgham and Micheal Bateman were best.
The first semi-final features Newbridge and Bridgewater.
The Mean Machine won on Newbridge’s turf at Holloway Air Riverside Oval by 78 points in round seven and then marked a 51-point victory in the 16th round.
Best for Bridgewater in the qualifying loss to Pyramid Hill were Jack McKinley, Jackson Brown, Jay Bowen and Ben Derrick.
Newbridge won the elimination final showdown with Bears Lagoon Serpentine by 43 points.
Hugh McGillivray, Thomas Hobson, Keelan Bertuch and Nic Gray were best for Maroons.
In the under-18s competition, Marong takes on Bridgewater in Saturday’s second semi-final at Serpentine.
The Panthers ended the home and away series for the four-team competition with a 13-2 record as Bridgewater was 10-5.
Marong has a 4-1 record against the Mean Machine this season.
The Inglewood Blues are in the September 3 preliminary final at Newbridge after an 82-point victory against East Loddon in first semi-final.
Schedule for Saturday’s second semi-finals at Gadsden Finance Serpentine Reserve:
Seniors at 2.15pm: Marong v Pyramid Hill.
Reserves at 12.30pm: Marong v Pyramid Hill.
Under-18s at 10.40am: Marong v Bridgewater.
Schedule for Sunday’s first semi-finals at Calivil Recreation Reserve:
Seniors at 2.15pm: Mitiamo v Bridgewater.
Reserves at 12.30pm: Bridgewater v Newbridge.
Written by Nathan Dole.