MID GIPPSLAND FL
NEWBOROUGH returns to the fold for week two of the Mid Gippsland finals series this weekend to face Mirboo North at Thorpdale, while Boolarra and Yinnar will put their seasons on the line in the cut-throat first semi-final at Mirboo North on Sunday.
Newborough v Mirboo North (2nd semi-final)
WITH a week off and a good look at the opposition, Newborough is in prime position to qualify for another grand final, but must hurdle the team that edged it out for the flag last season – Mirboo North.
Newborough has enjoyed an outstanding season, finishing on top, winning 16 and losing just twice, to Yinnar and Boolarra.
The Dogs averaged 94.27 points per game, and its high of 24.18 (162) came in the opening match against Mirboo North, which it replicated against Thorpdale to round off the season.
While Newborough has won both matches against the Tigers, the second outing was much closer with some 14 regular players back in the line-up for the return leg.
After finishing third on the ladder, Mirboo North has built momentum in recent weeks, culminating in a come from behind win over Yinnar to begin the finals campaign.
However, this year’s premiership is a bone the Dogs will not relinquish easily.
Coach Glenn Michie, a former Bulldog went away, coached at Hastings and has come back with a title in sight.
It has been a tale of woe for the Doggies after being beaten in the last two grannies, with their last flag being in 2003 following a five-year period between 1999-2003 which yielded four flags.
With renewed focus and the wounds of the past two years still fresh, Newborough will look to Saturday’s game as a stepping stone to a 10th flag.
Mirboo North’s 14-4 ledger was a bit off but it still had a game average of 100.61 points, the highest in the league.
Both teams possess good play makers and both defences will be challenged by the respective leading goal kickers Tim Traill and Michie.
Both know how to kick goals but have to get the ball first, with delivery the key to victory.
Newborough has form on the board and should advance to an 18th grand final appearance.
Yinnar v Boolarra (1st semi-final)
TWO unlikely teams will contest the knockout final.
Yinnar was upset last week while Boolarra came from behind to beat Trafalgar to issue another challenge to its nearest neighbour.
Tradition between these two clubs goes back more than 100 years, but in Mid Gippsland competition 1935 was the first of many memorable games.
Yinnar finished the regular season in second position with a 99.66 average while Boolarra ended in fifth with 83.22.
Of their two meetings Yinnar won the first by 58 points but in the reverse Boolarra took the honours by 33 points to even the score.
Yinnar’s Tim Aitken has been a star this year with his goal-kicking but there are several good players feeding his hunger for majors.
Boolarra has had a couple of players making hay around the goals with Jesse Giardina and Sam Mazou scoring the bulk.
Chris Stasinowsky is likely to be available for the Demons after injury and work availability limited his minutes this year.
With everything to play for Yinnar should scrape through.
Seniors Newborough v Mirboo North
Reserves Newborough v Yinnar
Thirds Yinnar v Mirboo North
Fourths Yinnar v Newborough
Mirboo North (Sunday)
Seniors Yinnar v Boolarra
Reserves Boolarra v Trafalgar
Thirds Newborough v Yarragon
Fourths Mirboo North v Trafalgar