MID Gippsland Football League celebrated a victory at Visy Park, Melbourne on Sunday defeating Picola and District Football League 15.18 (108) to 5.7 (37) in its Worksafe Victoria Country Championship match.
Coming up against a slightly undermanned opposition, the Gippslanders’ leg speed and fitness helped them to get on top of the northern Victorian representative side.
In a close first quarter the boys from Mid Gippsland did not make the most of their opportunities and went goalless, kicking five behinds, but kept Picola to just 1.2 (7).
The side started to hit its strides in the second quarter and settled in, making better use of the ball.
Mid Gippsland captain Chris Kyriacou kicked his team’s first goal before Shaun Barnes added a second to put it in front by two points.
Tim Lappin booted Mid Gippsland’s third, followed by a Josh Swift goal to swing the momentum in their favour going into the break 4.6 (33) to Picola 2.4 (16).
While Picola kicked the first goal of the term it was all Mid Gippsland in the third quarter.
Jake Nash managed a goal just after teammate and fellow Tiger Matt Holland, who had been pivotal, went off with injured ribs.
A number of scoring opportunities kept Mid Gippsland five goals ahead at the final break, despite then having kicked seven behinds, with the score at 8.13 (61) to 3.5 (23).
The last quarter was a mere matter of finishing off the game for the Mid Gippslanders, who continued to move the ball well and accumulate goals.
Mid Gippsland ran over the top of Picola in the end and was awarded the trophy in a presentation after the match.
Coach Christian Burgess said he was happy with the boys’ effort, teamwork and commitment to not only the match at hand, but throughout the training which preceded it.
“I think the boys stuck together well, because it was pretty tight early. They gave us a bit of a run for the start, we just wore them down,” Burgess said.
“I did think we were going to kick ourselves out of it for a while. I think overall Picola relied on too few, where we relied on everyone. Everyone had to stand up.”
Burgess said it was difficult to choose a best player, but selected Newborough’s Andrew Philip as the best on ground because he “stood up” when the game was there to be won.
“In the second quarter when we really needed him, when they were coming at us, he stood up at centre half-back and held things together,” Burgess said.