LVFNL Week One Finals Football Preview | Massive challenge for Bears, Bridgewater


A MASSIVE challenge awaits Bears-Lagoon Serpentine and Bridgewater in this weekend’s start to the Bendigo Bank Loddon Valley FNL senior footy finals.

Neither the Bears or Mean Machine have beaten their opponents in the home-and-away series.

Finals action kicks off Saturday with the qualifying finals at Bridgewater.

In the senior footy it’s Pyramid Hill against Bears-Lagoon Serpentine from 2.15pm.

The Nathan Fitzpatrick-coached Pyramid Hill has had a 14-2 run to the finals.

For the Justin Laird-coached Bears the win-loss tally was 12-4.

Margins between the Dogs and Bears have been close.

In round one, Pyramid Hill marked a 119-101 victory on its turf at Mitchell Park.

Dylan Collis kicked five goals in a best afield performance as Zach Alford, Zac Dingwall and Bailey George starred.

Bears’ coach Justin Laird kicked a match-high six goals as Jaxon Addlem, Darcy Poulter, Aidan Brohm and Louis Mott were best.

In round 12, Pyramid Hill won 100-94 at Gadsden Finance Serpentine Reserve.

The Dogs scored 7.3 to 3.4 in the third term, but BLS fought back to win the last quarter, 28-9.

Zach Alford kicked five goals and Bailey George added three.

Best for the Bulldogs were Bryden Morison, Zac Dingwall, Zach Alford and Adrian Holland.

James Rippingale led the Bears’ attack on four goals as James Bailey added three.

Best for BLS were Harry and Charlie Gadsden, James Rippingale and Aidan Brohm.

There is plenty of finals experience in a Pyramid Hill line-up determined to break a long-running premiership drought.

Players to watch in the red, white and blue include captain Steven Gunther, Gavin James, Scott Mann, Billy Micevski, Will Perryman, Seb Relouw, and Jesse Sheahan.

The Bears’ line-up includes Orion Downing, Steve Gladman, Jeremy Hancock, Jacob Murley, Kalem Paxton, and Beau Roy-Clements.

Playing cricket for the Philippines has meant Miggy Podosky has played just eight footy matches this season, but the popular clubman is in the BLS team.

The winner tackles unbeaten reigning premier Marong in the second semi-final to be played on August 26 at Pyramid Hill or Serpentine.

The reserves qualifying final on Saturday also features Bears Lagoon-Serpentine and Pyramid Hill from 12.30pm.

It’s one-all in this season’s meetings.

The Bulldogs won 115-32 at the kennel in round three, and the Bears won 74-32 at the end in round 12.

Inglewood and Bridgewater will fight to stay in the premiership race when they contest the senior footy elimination final on Sunday.

The Blues and Mean Machine will clash at Beck Legal Riverside Oval in Newbridge from 2.15pm.

A big day for Inglewood as it marks a long-awaited return to finals action.

It’s déjà vu for Bridgewater which was in last season’s elimination final and fought through to the grand final.

Based on this season’s results the Darrell Billett-coached Inglewood will start favourite.

The Blues won the round three clash on their turf at Dissy Machinery Oval by 33 points.

One of several key recruits, Keelan Payne kicked five goals as Charlie Ingham and Charlie McGaw added three.

Inglewood’s best were Thomas Kennedy, Charlie McGaw, Bregon Cotchett and Charlie Ingham.

Bridgewater captain Josh Martyn kicked a match-high seven goals as Nic Naughton booted two.

Best for the Rick Ladson-coached Mean Machine were Darcy Wood, Ben Irvine, Josh Martyn and Zane Hoiles.

In round 12, Inglewood won 73-48 at Bridgewater.

Best for the Blues were Thomas Kennedy, Daniel and Sam Polack, and Fergus Payne.

Ben Derrick, Nic Naughton, Lachlan Cohen and Brayden Stepien played well for Bridgewater.

Huge plus for Bridgewater is the return of captain and full-forward Josh Martyn who has not played since round 11 because of injury.

Martyn had kicked 39 goals in 10 matches and will test the Blues defence.

Inglewood named captain Luke Matheson at full-back.

Among the key match-ups will be in the centre where the Blues have Bregon Cotchett up against Charlton Hindle.

Huge roles for Cody Stobaus, Cameron Martin and Gabe Nevins in the Blues’ defence against Ben Irvine, Brayden Stepien and Tyler Estrada.

In the on-ball duels, Thomas Kennedy, Fergus Payne and Charlie Ingham face the Bridgewater trio of Sam Dewar, Ben Derrick and Harry Donegan.

Key targets in the Blues attack are Keelan Payne, Jayden Leach and Sam Dorevitch.

Bridgewater will need strong defence from the likes of Hamish Terry, Jack Symons and Emile Pavlich.

The reserves elimination final between Inglewood and Maiden Gully YCW starts at 12.30pm.

This season’s record stands at one-all.

Inglewood won the round five showdown, 67-32, and the Eagles claimed a 60-35 victory in the 13th round at Marist College Bendigo in Maiden Gully.

Final standings in the Loddon Valley FNL senior footy ladder for the ’23 home and away series:

Marong 578 per cent, 64 points; Pyramid Hill 187, 56; Bears-Lagoon Serpentine 122, 48; Inglewood 105, 36; Bridgewater 75, 28; Mitiamo 55, 16; Newbridge 46, 16; Calivil United 59, 12; Maiden Gully YCW 54, 12.

Leaders in the seniors goalkicking race:

103 Brandyn Grenfell, Marong.

52 Kain Robins, Marong.

44 Ryley Taylor, Marong.

39 Josh Martyn, Bridgewater.

37 Will Perryman, Pyramid Hill.

36 Justin Laird, Bears-Lagoon Serpentine.

36 Matt Riordan, Marong.

34 Zach Alford, Pyramid Hill.

31 Jay Reynolds, Mitiamo.

30 Andy Gladman, Bears-Lagoon Serpentine.

30 Charlie McGaw, Inglewood.

30 Keelan Payne, Inglewood.

25 Jesse Sheahan, Pyramid Hill.

24 James Bailey, Bears-Lagoon Serpentine.

24 Andrew Cussen, Mitiamo.

24 Brandon Dimech, Maiden Gully YCW.

24 Bailey George, Pyramid Hill.

23 Ben Baker, Calivil United.

22 Chris Dixon, Newbridge.

21 Brayden Baines, Mitiamo.

21 Nathan Devanny, Marong.

21 Jack McCaig, Marong.

19 Harry Gadsden, Bears-Lagoon Serpentine.

19 Daniel Polack, Inglewood.

18 Bregon Cotchett, Inglewood.

18 Sam Dorevitch, Inglewood.

18 Jake Lawry, Calivil United.

18 Kyle Manley, Marong.

18 James Rippingale, Bears-Lagoon Serpentine.

17 Thomas Brennan, Pyramid Hill.

17 Caleb Sanders, Newbridge.

17 Jack Woodward, Pyramid Hill.

16 Dylan Collis, Pyramid Hill.

16 Callum Draper, Bears-Lagoon Serpentine.

16 Jake Lawry, Calivil United.

16 Tyler Miles, Maiden Gully YCW.

15 Caleb Sanders, Newbridge.

15 Fergus Payne, Inglewood.

14 Mitch Dingwall, Pyramid Hill.

14 Nic Naughton, Bridgewater.

13 Fergus Payne, Inglewood.

13 Damian Wust, Maiden Gully YCW.