Yinnar v YYN (Second semi-final)
SATURDAY’S match at Newborough will be just the fifth time Yallourn Yallourn North and Yinnar have competed in a Mid Gippsland second semi-final.
The teams first met at this stage in 1954 which Yinnar won, before YYN exacted revenge in 1970 and 1971.
Yinnar has the most recent bragging rights though, following a big victory in 1995 to make it two wins each.
Despite YYN’s dominance this season, Yinnar has had the wood over the minor premier.
In the season opener, the Magpies dished out a 38-point win to the Bombers, who went on to be undefeated through the next 17 matches to finish on top of the ladder.
It was a remarkable turnaround from the previous two seasons in which they finished wooden-spooners.
The second home and away meeting caused controversy when YYN forward Tim Phillips kicked a goal after the siren to seemingly steal a win by one point, but a subsequent check with the goal umpires saw the match declared a draw.
After finishing second on the table, Yinnar turned in an impressive win against Mirboo North last Saturday, while YYN had the benefit of a week’s rest and should be at full strength.
Both sides have proved attacking monsters, with Yinnar topping the points tally on 1717 points at an average of 107.31 per game, while YYN has not been timid with 100.06 per game.
Established forwards at either end have been the catalyst with Tim Aitken (Yinnar) leading the golden boot race for most of the season only to be pipped by YYN’s Tim Phillips in the penultimate round.
It was Phillips’ second goal kicking award, the previous one came in 2008 (65), having capitalised on the groundwork of Tom Hutton and Barry Brooks driving the forward plays.
A big key this weekend will be getting the ball out of the centre where the two Tylers come into play, Hillier (Yinnar) and Brown (YYN), both exciting youngsters who can turn a game.
Hillier was missing from Yinnar’s win on Saturday due to Gippsland Power commitments but could be back pending selection for the TAC Cup side.
The ruck duel between Yinnar’s bean pole Jesse Bowe against his former team-mate Luke Norder will be among the best battles.
YYN coach Adam Bailey is a match-winner and will be the hardest player to control.
A grand final berth beckons for the victor while for the loser it will be a wasted opportunity and another game to play.
THESE two clubs are no strangers to finals football having contested the previous two MGFL grand finals.
The 2015 ledger stands at one apiece with Newborough home by 26 points in the first bout before the Tigers scraped in by one point in the return leg, the same margin as last year’s grand final.
Only one will have a chance to reach the decider again with Newborough out to avenge recent heartache with victory in the elimination final.
The Dogs played well against Trafalgar last Sunday to knock the Bloods out, but the margin was closer than expected.
Mirboo North suffered the horrors against Yinnar in the qualifying final and needs to regroup.
Both teams have been jockeying for third or fourth all year but Mirboo North just edged out Newborough in the final standings.
The reigning premier has scored slightly more per game than Newborough at 81.5 to 79.4.
The clearances out of the centre will determine who is the stronger team and with ruckmen such as Don Webb and Chris Hancock vying against each other it should be a good tussle.
Seniors: YYN v Yinnar
Reserves: YYN v Yinnar
Thirds: Mirboo North v Yarragon
Fourths: Newborough (undefeated) v Trafalgar
Seniors: Mirboo North v Newborough
Reserves: Mirboo North v Newborough
Thirds: Yinnar v Newborough
Fourths: Mirboo North v Hill End