BY NATHAN DOLE
VICTORY on Pyramid Hill’s turf is a feat Bears-Lagoon Serpentine has not achieved at Pyramid Hil for many seasons.
The Justin Laird-coached Bears will aim to break the winless run at Mitchell Park in Saturday’s third round of senior footy in the Bendigo Bank Loddon Valley Football Netball League.
The Bulldogs and Bears will fight for the premiership points from 2.15pm.
After wins against Inglewood and Newbridge by 13 and 90 points, Bears-Lagoon Serpentine faces a much bigger test against last season’s preliminary finalist.
A key to the BLS game plan will be at stoppages and disrupting Pyramid Hill’s run and link from half-back through midfield into attack.
Bears’ forwards Andy Gladman and Justin Laird have made a superb start to the season, as have Nash Kemp, Louis Mott and Josh Taig.
A key match-up for BLS will be Kyal Zass at centre half-back against Tom McGregor.
The Bears will also have to work the limit the impact that Adrian Holland, Zach Alford, Billy Micevski, Bailey George and Seb Relouw have on the match.
The play of Jeremy Hancock, Beau Roy-Clements, Orion Downing and Charlie Gadsden will also be important to BLS hopes of marking an upset win.
The Nathan Fitzpatrick-coached Pyramid Hill was pushed up to three quarter-time of last Saturday’s match on Calivil United’s ground.
The Bulldogs led by a goal at the start of the final term and then slammed on 3.8 to a point for a 58-27 victory.
Players to watch for Pyramid Hill include Mitch and Steven Gunther, Gavin James, Jesse Sheahan and Declan Slingo.
A red-hot Marong is back at home at Malone Park to take on Newbridge.
The Panthers have kicked 19 and 18 goals in the opening two rounds.
It will be a huge challenge for Newbridge to limit scoring chances for the likes of Brandyn Grenfell, Kain Robins and Ryley Taylor.
A big factor in the winning run of the Linton Jacobs-coached Marong is its running power and teamwork.
The Panthers have new ruckman Michael Bradbury, Nathan Devanny, Jimmy Gadsden and Jack McCaig in great form.
After a three-goal win at Calivil in round one, Newbridge was held to 1.9 in last Saturday’s match at Serpentine.
Jointly coached by Sam Gale, playing, and Daniel Smith, non-playing, Newbridge will be determined to lift its intensity.
Key players for the Maroons include captain Angus Fortune, David Romer, Matt Giri, Tyler McLeod, Dylan Lloyd, Aidan Moore and Dylan Stevens.
Inglewood takes on the in-form Bridgewater on the Blues’ turf at Inglewood’s Dissy Machinery Oval.
The Darrell Billett-coached Blues played well to lead Marong by seven points at half-time of last Saturday’s clash.
In the final hour it was Marong which scored 14.8 to a point.
The Blues will look to captain Nathan Angelino, Bregon Cotchett, Sam Dorevitch, Thomas Kennedy, Fergus Payne and Keelan Payne, and Cody Wright to lead the way in winning the footy.
Inglewood must also keep the heat on when Bridgewater has the ball.
The Rick Ladson-coached Bridgewater was pushed until the final minute of the second-round clash with Maiden Gully YCW Eagles.
Harry Donegan, Jack Symons and Tyler Estrada played key roles in Bridgewater holding on for a 56-52 win at home.
Bridgewater captain Josh Martyn leads the LV goalkicking race on 14 and is a huge threat to Inglewood’s hopes.
Others to watch for the Mean Machine include Charlton Hindle in the centre, Emile Pavlich, Nic Hall, Zane Hoiles and Brayden Stepien.
There was plenty to like about Maiden Gully YCW’s play at Bridgewater.
After a 127-point loss on April 1, the Jay McDonald-coached Eagles bounced back to almost overrun the Mean Machine at Bridgewater.
Now the focus is on Saturday’s home game against Mitiamo at Marist College Oval.
Eagles’ captain Hamish McCartney was superb against Bridgewater, as were key defender Tyler Miles, Ed Crisp and Brandon Dimech.
Other key players for MGYCW include assistant coach Damian Wust, Nathan Murley, Cooper Hale and Lachie Sobina.
Mitiamo had the bye after a first-round loss to Bridgewater on the Superoos’ ground at John Forbes Oval.
The Superoos have the experience of Luke Lougoon, Dylan Clohesy and Ross Turner.
Best for the Jon Varcoe-coached Mitiamo in the opening round included Zachary Morrison, Daniel Walters, Jackson Falls and Joshua Diss.
When these clubs in last season’s 16th round it was the Superoos who won by 88 points at Mitiamo.
Fans of the Superoos and Eagles can expect a much closer margin this time.
Calivil United has the bye.
The Anthony Dennis-coached Demons tackle the Bears at Gadsden Finance Serpentine Reserve in the fourth round.
Loddon Valley FNL senior footy ladder:
Marong 627 per cent, 8 points; Bridgewater 225, 8; Bears Lagoon-Serpentine 205, 8; Pyramid Hill 214, 4; Newbridge 53, 4; Calivil United 60, 0; Inglewood 55, 0; Maiden Gully YCW Eagles 28, 0; Mitiamo 24, 0.
14 Josh Martyn, Bridgewater.
10 Brandyn Grenfell, Marong.
8 Andy Gladman, BLS; Kain Robins, Marong.
4 James Bailey, BLS; 3 Michael Bradbury, Marong; Sam Dorevitch, Inglewood; Harrison Gadsden, BLS; Sam Gale, Newbridge; Nic Hall, Bridgewater; Keelan Payne, Inglewood; Darcy Poulter, BLS; Matt Riordan, Marong; Ryley Taylor, Marong.