MID GIPPSLAND FL
SATURDAY marks the start of the second half of the Mid Gippsland football fixture, with the pattern set for the final five after nine rounds.
The biggest mover has been Yallourn-Yallourn North, which after years of suffering has emerged as a genuine contender for a grand final berth, putting together eight successive wins.
The Bombers have sparked new interest in the league and by finishing on top for the first half have set a benchmark for the rest.
This weekend they face Yinnar, the only team to have beaten them this season, back in round one.
On form YYN appears poised to beat the Magpies for the first time in four years.
The Magpies were unbeaten until a fortnight ago when they took on last year’s premiers Mirboo North and went down by 19 points.
On Saturday they again lost, this time to Newborough by six points in a tense game.
It will be a big test for both sides and a good guide to the prospects of each club.
Last time: Yinnar 14.12 (96) d YYN 9.4 (58)
Newborough v Trafalgar
NEWBOROUGH returns home to face old foe Trafalgar in the 100th meeting between the two clubs.
Since their first meeting this year the Bulldogs have enjoyed a better run.
After losing to the Bloods, Newborough has gained fourth position with six wins, including a sublime victory over the high flying Yinnar last week.
Trafalgar has scratched around and is currently in seventh, a far cry from its halcyon days last season.
Newborough will be fancied to take this one out to give them bragging rights in the centenary match.
Historically Trafalgar holds the edge but only by a couple of games, and Newborough should edge closer to evening the all-time ledger.
Last Time: Trafalgar 12.15 (87) d Newborough 6.7 (43)
Matches played: 99
Trafalgar 51, Newborough 47, 1 drawn
1st game: 1969
50th game: 1997
100th game: 2015
Hill End v Mirboo North
THE odds of Hill End causing an upset win over last year’s premier Mirboo North this weekend are long.
The Hillmen are yet to break the ice this year and have struggled in most games.
The only holding fact is the match will be played at Willow Grove, where opposing teams struggle to play their best football.
Hill End has pushed Newborough and YYN to within a goal and with a bit more luck could have had points on the board.
Mirboo North is in third position and poised to pounce on the top two, with losses only to Newborough and YYN so far.
Last Time: Mirboo North 16.13 (109) d Hill End 9.4 (58)
Yarragon v Boolarra
SITTING eighth and ninth on the ladder respectively, the match between Boolarra and Yarragon is set to be a fierce battle.
Winless a fortnight ago, Yarragon has bounced back with two wins in as many weeks while Boolarra has scraped together three victories, a far cry from last season’s efforts.
Boolarra go into the match as favourite but should be wary of the Panthers who have some highly skilful players.
Neither team will be wooden-spooners but Boolarra must pick up form to have a chance of reaching fifth place.
Last Time: Boolarra 17.12 (114) d Yarragon 9.14 (68)
Thorpdale v Morwell East
IN a pivotal clash for ladder position fifth-placed Thorpdale faces the side it leapfrogged last week in Morwell East, which dropped to seventh.
The Blues are 4-4 on the win-loss ledger, plus a drawn match, and will be aiming to improve on that record in the second half to reach finals.
Morwell East has an upward climb and will need to string a few wins together to achieve their ambitions.
Last Time: Morwell East 12.14 (86) d Thorpdale 7.15 (56)
A FEW club reunions are set to take place in the coming months, starting this weekend at Thorpdale with the reunion of the 1985 premiership team.
On 27 June Trafalgar will get its 1975 and 1995 premiership teams together.
Morwell East has a big one set for 1 August when it will honour the 1979, 1980 and 2005 premierships along with the 2004 A grade netball and 2005 C grade netball teams.
Yinnar was unable to get members of its 1915 premiership team back for a centenary reunion but they have invited descendants of the players to enjoy a celebration.