BY NATHAN DOLE
UNBEATEN runs by Marong and Pyramid Hill will be on the line in Saturday’s fourth round of the Bendigo Bank Loddon Valley FNL’s senior footy action.
The Panthers and Bulldogs will clash at Marong’s Malone Park from 2.15pm.
It’s been a brilliant start by the Linton Jacobs-coached Marong which has won its opening three matches by margins of 127, 84 and 202 points.
Pyramid Hill’s pressure and run will be at a much higher intensity and for longer than the Panthers have faced so far.
The only club to beat Marong in its run to last year’s premiership was Pyramid Hill.
The Nathan Fitzpatrick-coached Bulldogs did so, 87-75 in the fourth round at Marong.
Next two meetings went the Panthers way by 46 and 58 points.
In this contest, Pyramid Hill’s defence will rely a lot on the pressure applied by the on-ballers and midfield.
The Bulldogs’ back six will be up against the formidable trio of Brandyn Grenfell, Matt Riordan and Kain Robins.
Marong’s attack is given plenty of scoring chances through the play of ruckman Michael Bradbury, Nathan Devanny, Jacob Ede, Jimmy Gadsden and Lachlan Lee.
Dylan Collis led the Bulldogs’ attack on five goals last round and will play a crucial role, as will Zach Alford, Zac Dingwall, Bailey George, ruckman Adrian Holland, and Steven Gunther.
Pyramid Hill also has Harding medallist Billy Micevski to test the Panthers in and around centre ball-ups and stoppages.
It’s the battle of the bridges between Bridgewater and Newbridge at Bridgewater Recreation Reserve.
The Rick Ladson-coached Bridgewater will be fired up after a 33-point loss on Inglewood’s turf at Dissy Machinery Oval.
Gun forward and Bridgewater captain Josh Martyn kicked seven goals against the Blues and leads the LVFNL goalkicking race on 21.
The Mean Machine will look to Harry Donegan, Zane Hoiles, Ben Irvine, James Naughton, Alex Pollock, Jack Symons and Darcy Wood to win plenty of contests.
Bridgewater’s team also includes talented athlete Oliver Muggleton, runner-up in this year’s City of Greater Bendigo Gift (200m), and Will Stringer.
After a first-round victory at Calivil, Newbridge was outgunned by Bears-Lagoon Serpentine and Marong the past two rounds.
The Maroons are likely to have more scoring chances than what they did against Marong.
Key players for Newbridge which is jointly-coached by Sam Gale, playing, and Daniel Smith, non-playing, include Dylan Lloyd, co-captains Will Daly and Angus Fortune, David Romer and Aidan Moore.
Tough on-baller Caleb Argus is back for this match.
Newbridge’s team includes Chris Dixon, ruckman Corey van Aken, and Matt Giri.
Mitiamo is on home turf at John Forbes Oval to face Inglewood.
The Jon Varcoe-coached Superoos will be desperate to claim the points.
It will not be an easy task against an Inglewood line-up which is riding high on confidence after beating Bridgewater.
The Superoos were overrun in the second half of last Saturday’s clash with Maiden Gully YCW on the Eagles’ ground at Marist College Bendigo Oval.
Premiership winners Dylan Clohesy, Luke Lougoon, Ross Turner are three of Mitiamo’s best and most influential players.
Andrew Cussen kicked four goals against the Eagles to be among the best with Brayden Baines, Waylon Draper and Daniel Walters.
The Superoos’ squad includes Jay Reynolds, Jackson Falls and Liam Jones.
In Keelan Payne, Inglewood has a strong-marking target who kicked five goals against Bridgewater.
The Blues also had Charlie Ingham and Charlie McGaw chip in with three apiece.
Coached by Darrell Billett, Inglewood goes into this match in fifth place in the premiership race.
The Blues will look to Bregon Cotchett, Tom Kennedy, captain Nathan Angelino, Fergus Payne and Luke Matheson, Cody Stobaus and Jaspa Wendels to all play well and mark consecutive victories.
Bears Lagoon Serpentine tackles Calivil United at Gadsden Finance Serpentine Reserve.
Although beaten by three goals at Pyramid Hill’s Mitchell Park, Bears-Lagoon Serpentine has shown it’s a team to be reckoned with.
Bears’ coach Justin Laird kicked six goals against the Bulldogs and will be a constant threat to Calivil United’s defence.
Darcy Poulter, Aidan Brohm, Louis Mott and Nash Kemp were among the best for BLS against the Bulldogs.
The Bears also have Andy and Steve Gladman, Charlie Gadsden and Jeremy Hancock in their line-up.
The Anthony Dennis-coached Calivil United had the bye after losses to Newbridge, 18 points; and Pyramid Hill, 31 points.
The Demons worked incredibly hard to be within a goal of the Bulldogs in the second-round match at Calivil.
Justin Hynes is one of the league’s best ruckmen and will play a crucial role for the red and blue, as will Henry Miller, Jake Lawry and Mitch Avard.
The Demons will also look for big games from the likes of Patrick Hansford, Jordan Lea, Thomas Piazza and Evan Ritchie.
Maiden Gully YCW Eagles have the bye.
Loddon Valley FNL senior footy ladder:
Marong 879 per cent, 12 points; Bridgewater 139.68, 8; Bears-Lagoon Serpentine 139.17, 8; Pyramid Hill 138, 8; Inglewood 77, 4; Maiden Gully YCW Eagles 70, 4; Newbridge 25, 4; Calivil United 60, 0; Mitiamo 40, 0.
21 Josh Martyn, B.
15 Brandyn Grenfell, Mar.
11 Matt Riordan, Mar.; Kain Robins, Mar.
10 Andy Gladman, BLS.
9 Justin Laird, BLS; Keelan Payne, I.
8 Ryley Taylor, Mar.
5 Michael Bradbury, Mar.; Dylan Collis, PH; Hamish McCartney, MGYCW; Charlie McGaw, I.