YINNAR flew straight into the Mid Gippsland grand final with a late fightback victory over Yallourn-Yallourn North, while Newborough was eliminated by its finals nemesis, Mirboo North.
Yinnar v YYN (Second semi-final)
YINNAR is through to its first grand final since 2008 after an 18-point win over YYN on Saturday.
Coming full circle, the Bombers’ last defeat was at the hands of Yinnar in the opening round and they went 17 games without a loss before again crashing into the black and white army.
Conditions were wet and slippery due to recent rain and the game was marred by infrequent showers.
Yinnar deserved to win following a determined comeback in the final term after trailing all day.
The game started at a fast pace with both teams defensively minded.
YYN was not made to pay for two 50 metre penalties as Yinnar kicked out on the full both times.
Dale Murphy broke the shackles 11 minutes into the term to raise both flags for YYN while Yinnar was wasteful with a string of behinds.
It was tough for forwards but the little men shone out with Tyler Brown and James Dowling outstanding in the low scoring quarter.
When Tom Hutton goaled at 23 minutes both teams had four shots on target but YYN was the superior 2.2 (14) to 0.4 (4).
Aiden Quigley was dropped behind play and he goaled but a melee followed and teams had to be separated at the first break with YYN leading 2.2 (14) to Yinnar’s 1.4 (10).
There was a bit of feeling in the second term as umpires had to stop a few spotfires from erupting, but the back lines of both teams were strong.
Scoring became an optional objective as the game devolved into a rugby scrum and ugly packs developed.
YYN’s only goal came from a Tim Phillips free kick late in the term but it was enough to keep the lead by half time 3.3 (21) to 1.8 (14).
Yinnar improved after the break and put the pressure on YYN, which began to break up.
Brown to Hutton produced YYN’s fourth goal and the game was starting to get away from Yinnar but Kane Grinstead-Jones brought the crowd upright with two spectacular marks in rapid succession.
He goaled from the second grab to bring Yinnar within seven points and it was game on.
James Dowling then raised the flags for Yinnar deep into the third term to put the Pies within one point at three-quarter-time.
The last quarter was dominated by Yinnar but it took until 11 minutes into the term when the brilliant youngster Quigley goaled to give the Magpies a one-point lead.
Two quick majors to Phillips and Hutton gave the lead back to YYN, but at 21 minutes a Tim Aitken goal levelled scores.
Over the next three minutes Yinnar produced the magic that was threatening all day in the form of three goals, two to Dowling and one to Quigley.
The blitzkrieg gave the Magpies an 18-point win 8.11 (59) to 6.5 (41) and a leg up to the grand final berth.
MIRBOO North had to overcome a 21-point deficit at quarter-time but came home like the wind to defeat Newborough in the knock-out final.
Although Mirboo North scored the opening goal in under a minute the Bulldogs looked good in the first quarter.
In the replay of last year’s decider the Dogs chipped around and found space in good conditions.
Goals to James Todd, Josh Keyhoe, Josh Pearce and Anthony Rosato saw the Bulldogs go into the first break with a good lead and threatening to run away with the match.
The start of the second saw Rosato score his second, making it five unanswered for Newborough with Mirboo North looking a sorry bunch.
Tigers veteran Kris Berchtold turned the game on its head with a valuable display of football as continual possessions and three goals saw the game edge towards Mirboo North.
The reigning premier levelled the score at 20 minutes into the term and when Jack Robinson goaled the Tigers had put on four majors in seven minutes to go to a comfortable lead by half-time 7.4 (46) to 5.4 (34).
It had been a complete turn-over by the Tigers who had managed 6.3 (39) to 1.3 (9) in the comeback term.
The third quarter was as tense as pressure mounted and the scores were limited by excellent defensive work by both teams.
Mirboo North had the better but its kicking was astray and it only managed an untidy 2.5 (17) to a solitary goal by Newborough.
By three-quarter-time Mirboo North led by 22 points.
Chris Hancock brought the margin back to 16 points with a Newborough goal just after the start but the margin increased back to 22 when Ben Ah Mat equalised.
Play was hard and physical with Newborough fighting for survival but every time there was a Newborough possession two Mirboo North players would tackle.
Both teams traded goals but Mirboo North was able to keep a good distance ahead and by the finish had scored an impressive 13.14 (92) to 9.5 (49) victory.
The win gave the reigning premier another chance to go further, meeting YYN in the preliminary final at Trafalgar.
For Newborough it was another tale of finals woe at the hands of the Tigers.
Saturday’s Preliminary Final has been switched to Trafalgar instead of YYN due to ground conditions at YYN being unsatisfactory.
The MGFL junior vote count will now take place at the Morwell RSL on Wednesday 9 September at 6.30pm.
The Senior count will be Monday 7 September at the Morwell RSL.
Preliminary Final at Trafalgar
Seniors: YYN v Mirboo North
Reserves: YYN v Mirboo North
Thirds: Yinnar v Mirboo North
Fourths: Hill End v Trafalgar