BY NATHAN DOLE
TOP teams Marong and Bears Lagoon-Serpentine meet in Saturday’s sixth round of the Bendigo Bank Loddon Valley FNL senior footy season.
Marong has home-ground advantage as the Panthers face the Bears at Malone Park from 2.15pm.
It’s a daunting task for the Justin Laird-coached BLS as Marong has dominated in an unbeaten run of five matches.
The Bears face a massive task of trying to cut the supply to a Marong forward line led by Brandyn Grenfell, Kain Robins and Matt Riordan.
Last season Grenfell kicked a league record 154 goals in 18 matches.
Panthers’ coach Linton Jacobs has the team playing brilliant football in its pursuit of back-to-back premierships.
Best for the Panthers in last week’s 200-plus point win at Calivil were versatile big man Richard Tibbett, Lachlan Lee, Ben Gregg, and Jack McCaig.
A talented line-up includes Corey Gregg, ruckman Michael Bradbury, Nathan Devanny, Jimmy Gadsden and Matt Grant.
The Bears are back in action after the bye.
In round four, BLS fought from eight points down at three quarter-time to mark a 106-99 win at home against Calivil United.
Best were Anthony Lewin, Josh Taig, Callum Draper and James Bailey.
The Bears will look for big games from the likes of Charlie and Harry Gadsden, Jeremy Hancock, Darcy Poulter and Kyal Zass.
BLS will be without Andy Gladman who has kicked 14 goals to be equal third in the race for the league goalkicking award.
It’s the start of a tough three-week stretch for the Bears who play at Marong, face Bridgewater at home on May 20, and host Mitiamo a week later.
On the winners’ list for the first time this season, Mitiamo is back on home turf at John Forbes Oval to take on Pyramid Hill.
The Jon Varcoe-coached Superoos beat Newbridge by 31 points last round as Luke Lougoon, Ross Turner, Andrew Cussen and Zachary Morrison were best.
The Superoos’ squad includes Brayden Baines, Dylan Clohesy, Jye Rasmussen and Jay Reynolds,
This is a huge challenge for Mitiamo against the Nathan Fitzpatrick-coached Pyramid Hill.
Dylan Collis, Zach Alford, Thomas Brennan and Adrian Holland were best as Pyramid Hill scored a 46-point win on home turf at Mitchell Park against Bridgewater last round.
The Bulldogs’ line-up includes Gavin James, Billy Micevski, Bryden and Dylan Morison, and Seb Relouw.
Pyramid Hill has shown it has plenty of goalkicking options.
Leading goalkicker for the Bulldogs is Dylan Colls on eight.
Maiden Gully YCW Eagles are on home turf at Marist College Bendigo to take on Newbridge.
It’s a big match for both teams who have a 1-3 record and are sixth and seventh on the ladder.
The Jay McDonald-coached Eagles will be keen to hit back after a 49-point loss on Inglewood’s ground at Dissy Machinery Oval.
Key players for Maiden Gully YCW include captain Hamish McCartney named at full-forward, Grayson Brown at half-back, and ruckman Matthew Crooks.
The Eagles will look for lots of attacks being set up by Nathan Murley, the experienced Tyler Miles and assistant coach Damian Wust in midfield.
Newbridge kicked off the season with a three-goal win at Calivil.
Since then the Maroons have been beaten by Bears-Lagoon Serpentine, Marong, Bridgewater and Mitiamo.
Those four clubs were finalists last season.
Best for Newbridge in last week’s clash at Mitiamo were Dylan Stevens, Dylan Lloyd, Tyler McLeod and Caleb Sanders.
Jointly coached by Sam Gale, playing, and Daniel Smith, non-playing, Newbridge’s team to take on the Eagles includes William Copland in the ruck, Kynan Gard at centre half-forward, and Caleb Argus in the centre.
The Maroons also have Matt Giri, Will Daly and Ashley Mayo in action.
Bridgewater hosts Calivil United.
The Rick Ladson-coached Mean Machine has plenty of run and goalscoring power.
Bridgewater captain Josh Martyn has kicked 29 goals to be joint leader in the league’s goalkicking race.
Best for the Mean Machine at Pyramid Hill were on-baller Harry Donegan, Jack Symons, Ben Derrick and Brayden Stepien.
Bridgewater’s squad to face the Demons includes James and Nic Naughton, Zane Hoiles, Will Stringer and Emile Pavlich.
Best for the Anthony Dennis-coached Calivil United in last week’s clash with Marong were Blair Richards, Evan Ritchie, ruckman Justin Hynes, and Jake Lawry.
Inglewood has the bye.
Loddon Valley FNL senior footy ladder:
Marong 582 per cent, 20 points; Bears-Lagoon Serpentine 129, 12; Inglewood 127, 12; Bridgewater 121, 12; Pyramid Hill 116, 12; Maiden Gully YCW Eagles 64, 4; Mitiamo 50, 4; Newbridge 37, 4; Calivil United 40, 0.
29 Brandyn Grenfell, Marong.
29 Josh Martyn, Bridgewater.
17 Kain Robins, Marong.
16 Charlie McGaw, Inglewood.
14 Andy Gladman, Bears-Lagoon Serpentine.
14 Matt Riordan, Marong.
13 Ryley Taylor, Marong.
12 Keelan Payne, Inglewood.
11 Andrew Cussen, Mitiamo.
11 Justin Laird, Bears-Lagoon Serpentine.
10 Jack McCaig, Marong.
9 Sam Dorevitch, Inglewood.
8 Dylan Collis, Pyramid Hill.