MARONG Panthers face another huge test against Bridgewater’s ‘Mean Machine’ in Saturday’s sixth round of the Bendigo Bank Loddon Valley Football Netball League’s senior footy action.
Marong has home-ground advantage at Discover Marong Park in Malone Park as fourth clashes with second.
The Panthers worked extremely hard to be equal with Mitiamo at three quarter-time of last Saturday’s clash at John Forbes Oval.
It was all the Superoos in the final term as they kicked away to win by 50 points.
The Linton Jacobs-coached Marong now takes on a line-up which won its home clash with Calivil United at Laser Plumbing Bendigo Oval in Bridgwater by 179 points.
Bridgewater has shown it has plenty of scoring power.
Alex Powell kicked seven goals to be best afield against the Demons as Josh Martyn, six; Andy Collins, Liam Jacques and Lloyd Needs all chipped in with four majors.
One of several gun recruits at Bridgewater, Martyn’s tally of 24 goals has him in second place in the league goalkicking race.
A premiership-winning coach and former AFL player in stints at Richmond and Carlton, Collins has kicked eight goals in just two games this season.
A powerful Bridgewater line-up includes Zeb Broadbent, Darren Clutton and Peter Rothacker.
Ins for the Mean Machine include Tom Dowd, a multiple premiership winner with Strathfieldsaye Storm.
Back at Marong, Ben McKinley kicked two goals in his first senior game of the season at Mitiamo.
The play of Ben and Corey Gregg, Nathan Devanny in midfield, Corbin Fleming in defence will be vital to Marong’s chances.
Gun recruit Kain Robins kicked 10 goals in Marong’s first game of the season, but has added just five since.
This Saturday could be when the Michelsen medallist and Eaglehawk premiership star turns it on again for the Panthers.
Marong also welcomes back Adrian Pappin and has brought in Harry Graham, Brad Matthews and Kane Newton.
The Panthers will be without classy forwards Cory Jacobs and Zac Turnbull.
Maiden Gully YCW Eagles face a big test against the unbeaten Mitiamo at Marist College Oval.
The Eagles are on the rebound from a 73-point loss on Pyramid Hill’s turf at Mitchell Park.
Goalless in the second half of that clash, Maiden Gully YCW will be determined to create and capitalise on scoring chances.
Players to watch for the Eagles include Ed Crisp, Tori Ferguson, Natnael McLaren and Travis Mercadante.
The Eagles have brought in experienced defender Steve Turner, along with Jordan Crisp, Damien Moyle and Kallum Schepers.
Maiden Gully YCW will be without ruckman Chris Howgate and coach Wayne Mitrovic is back on the sidelines.
A Maiden Gully YCW defence led by Ed Crisp, Turner and Mercandante has a huge challenge again.
Mitiamo has the goalkicking power of Ryan Wellington, 18 goals; Tyrone Downie, 14; and Tim Brooks, 12.
Superoos’ defenders such as Max Simpson, Luke Lougoon, Lachlan Woodward and Dylan Clohesy work hard to limit their opponent’s impact on the game, and also provide plenty of run.
An onball division of Braydan Riddell, Lee Dale and Dylan Mutu will test the Eagles.
Refreshed by the bye, Inglewood marks a return to home turf at Dissy Machinery Oval to take on Newbridge.
The Blues and Maroons will be desperate for the points.
Both teams have battled to score goals this season.
Inglewood’s leading goalkickers are Josh Taig and Tynan Hywood on four and three.
The Newbridge line-up has relied a lot on onballer Harry Whittle to win plenty of contests and also have an impact in attack.
Whittle has kicked eight majors for the Maroons and James Oliver is on five.
Key players for Inglewood include Tom Alexander, Kris Doran, Jasper McLelland, Taj Rodwell, Cody Stobaus and Nathan Wallace.
Newbridge’s best last week were Ryan Burt, Aidan Moore, Brandon Etherington and Dylan Lloyd.
The Maroons will look for big games from the likes of Corey Van Aken, Chris Dixon and Tyler Romeril in attack, Lachlan Costelow at full-back, and Ricky Cathie in the ruck.
Bears Lagoon Serpentine clashes with Calivil United at Serpentine.
The Bears clawed their way to the fifth rung after a 23-point win against Newbridge at Simonds Homes Riverside Oval.
Leading goalkickers for the Bears are Jesse Evans, eight; James Bailey and Tannar Cerrone on six; and James Rippingale on five.
Bears’ coach Greg Gadsden will be urging the team not to take the Demons lightly.
A Bears midfield of Miggy Podosky, Cerrone and Oscar Amy could set up plenty of scoring chances.
Calivil United will need to work hard to lessen the influence that Cerrone, Anthony Lewin, Ryan Prendergast and Zach Stone have on the contest.
In a tough season for the Demons, former South Bendigo coach Brady Childs has played well in every match.
The play of Mitchell A’Vard, Jayden Manderson and Blair Richards will be crucial in Calivil United’s bid for a breakthough victory.
In attack, Jake Lawry, Tom Dargaville and Evan Ritchie will play key roles for the Demons.
Pyramid Hill has the bye.
Loddon Valley FNL senior footy ladder:
Mitiamo 412 per cent, 20 points; Bridgewater 468, 16; Pyramid Hill 331, 16; Marong 190, 12; Bears Lagoon Serpentine 107, 8; Maiden Gully YCW Eagles 105, 8; Newbridge 35, 0; Inglewood 13, 0; Calivil United 10, 0.
Written by Nathan Dole