Draw headlines bumper round of Mid Gippsland

The Dogs’ with bite: Newborough made plenty of people sit up and take notice after defeating Mirboo North by 42 points in Round 2 of Mid Gippsland football. Josh Hecker (pictured) is one of several Newborough juniors that have returned home this season to help resurrect the Bulldogs fortunes. file photograph



OF all the things that you may have considered happening between these two teams, a draw wasn’t one of them.
But that is exactly what happened, and at full time scores were deadlocked Hill End 7.11 (53) to Boolarra 8.5 (53).
On the back of some commendable recruiting, Boolarra had set itself a number of goals, one of which was to threaten some of the best teams in the competition, and there would be no bigger challenge at this early stage of the year than Hill End on their home ground.
The Rovers had flexed their muscle in their comfortable Round 1 win over finals aspirant Mirboo North and were keen to assume control early in their clash with the visiting Demons, but it wasn’t to be.
Boolarra jumped out to a 16 point first quarter lead, which may have shocked the crowd, but it also gave the visitors the belief they could actually win.
By half-time, the home side had whittled that margin back to five points and at the last change the Rovers had managed to wrestle back the lead by two points, a lead many expected would be built on
Hill End coach Mike Santo said it was a game of missed opportunities in both camps.
“An entertaining game of football for the neutral observer, our inaccuracy probably cost us in the end, particularly in the second quarter,” he said.
“Boolarra are a much improved side who stuck to their structures well and played a good game of footy. They had their chances to win late, but I was really pleased with the way we held them out very late in the game, probably lucky to get the two points in the end”
Boolarra counterpart Tony Giardina had similar thoughts.
“It was a good game of high pressure footy against a good side. We started really well but couldn’t put on enough scoreboard pressure, our kicking needs to improve to match with the top sides,” he said.
Further improvement would mean great things are possible for a team and a club that have been at the bottom end of the Mid Gippsland Football-Netball League ladder in recent years, and although it was ‘just a draw’ and it was ‘just one game’ every long journey starts with a few steps, and maybe just maybe, Boolarra has taken them.

IT wasn’t entirely anything new for Mirboo North to have started the season slowly, given in the past handful of years the Tigers had done pretty much the same but still managed to climb their way up the MGFNL ladder and put themselves into finals and even premiership contention.
This year however there was expected to be a few bigger challenges that stood in their way, and one of those was an improved Newborough side eager to send a message to the league.
Send a message they did, in a comprehensive 15.12 (102) to 8.12 (60) win over Mirboo North.
Newborough coach Craig Skinner was proud of his side’s effort.
“Another perfect day for footy at the Kennel with a great crowd, we got off to a fast start against one of last year’s best teams, wearing our commemorative Anzac jumpers,” he said.
“It was a struggle to maintain the advantage but a solid preseason helped us late in the last quarter to give us our second win.
“We turn to Hill End quickly where we face another strong successful team which also holds the Fanning/Byrne Cup between our clubs.
“We are growing in self-belief and embracing the challenge of playing Hill End anytime, anywhere.”
Mirboo North coach Josh Taylor said Newborough was the better team on the day.
“Newborough were slick and played a good brand of footy and were also the fitter side of the two,” he said.
“It was another ripper day for footy, we got a couple of key players back into the side which added some height and we had some really good momentum swings go our way throughout the day but in the end it was partially our goal kicking that hurt us, one goal at quarter time and being down by five goals and from there we couldn’t peg it back.”
The Tigers are now zero from two, and although it’s too early to panic, hosting Yinnar this week in Round 3 takes on a whole new meaning.

THE Magpies side, like any club in the competition, hate to lose games on their home turf, and the very real possibility of losing two in a row to a well-credentialed Hawks side had Yinnar ready, willing and able to produce their very best.
Much had been made of the Morwell East team in the off season, given the high quality talent that was secured, but whether that was all ready to go for their first game of the year after a first round bye remained questionable, before it was answered quite clearly by the Magpies, who won 11.14 (80) to 8.6 (54).
Yinnar coach Daniel Taylor was beaming in the aftermath.
“Fantastic effort by the boys, we have a lot of talent on our list, but this game was won through hard work and hard work only, which makes the win even more satisfying,” he said.
“Our pressure was right up and all 21 guys cracked in and worked their backsides off which was great to see.
“We allowed 29 scoring shots against us in Round 1, but to then allow Morwell East, who I see as a real contender this year, only six scoring shots up to three quarter time in perfect conditions was an outstanding effort.”
Morwell East coach Devon Soutar did not mince words when asked to sum up the game.
“Train wreck performance against a side with an impressive work rate,” he said.
“We were outworked and outplayed from start to finish, messy would understate our touch and ball use, which in our first game can be somewhat excused, but what can’t be excused is an absent thirst for the contest and total lack of desire to get on the spread.”

THORPDALE scrapped through to win by a point at home against Meeniyan Dumbalk United 9.9 (63) to 9.8 (62).
The start of the senior match was delayed after MDU player Spencer Chadwick was injured in the reserves, resulting in an ambulance being called for.
Chadwick was then airlifted to the Alfred as the helicopter landed at quarter time of the senior match, meaning the senior game had to be played with no time on.
The Blues went into this second round match with confidence given their first hit out a fortnight ago had showed some reasonably promising signs from the clubs younger players and, coupled with an expectation of increased fitness, a win was seen as achievable.
MDU however found themselves in pretty much the same boat, with a first up loss
scattered with impressive passages of play only let down by the inability to apply
pressure on the scoreboard.
A fast start was seen as crucial by both clubs in winning the match, and the game turned into an arm-wrestle that saw no more than a goal or two separating them all afternoon.
Thorpdale coach Ray Pickering said it was always good to win close games.
“We came into the game confident if we could repeat last games first half for four quarters we could really shake MDU and that’s exactly what we managed to do,” he said.
“We got our structures together for longer periods resulting in us winning a lot of territory, our midfield were great all day and played a huge part in a great victory for the club on a big occasion.”
MDU coach Peter Harris had virtually opposite emotions.
“Tough day for the club, no one likes losing and especially by a point,” he said.
“When we should’ve taken our chances and sealed the game, the shortened game made the challenge even greater, Thorpy kept cracking in and had some great onballers who kept giving them opportunities.”

THERE was no more contrasting results in Round 1 than for these two teams, with Fish Creek manufacturing a gutsy come from behind win over rivals Foster, while Toora had confronted a devastating Newborough side when going down by more than 100 points.
A week may be a long time in football, but even a fortnight was not enough time for the Power to turn around their fortunes when they took on the Kangaroos on their home ground.
It wasn’t to be however, and Fish Creek won 18.19 (127) to 3.8 (26).
The Kangaroos were solid for all four quarters and proved to be far too strong for what is a young Power side.
Fish Creek coach John Danckert said it was a solid performance.
“Terrific to get the job done on the weekend for Trav Manne in his 300th senior game for the club,” he said.
“I thought our first half was outstanding, Toora came out after half time and threw down the challenge, and we responded well in the last quarter and managed to come away with a significant win.”
Toora coach Matthew Ponton said his side would take some lessons out of the performance.
“We played better than we did in Round 1, with a more competitive effort at the football, unfortunately with a very young side in our skills let us down in patches and there is no doubt that Fish Creek made the most of that,” he said.
Young talent takes time to develop and mature and Toora remains committed to improving on a weekly basis to be more competitive in what is looming as a very strong and even competition.

THE opportunity to start the season two and zero, rather than one and one, was incentive enough for both of these Round 1 winning sides to produce some of their best, even at this early stage of the season.
With 13 teams and only six spots for finals it would be matches like this that gave opportunity to much more attractive possibilities later in the season.
The Lions, on their new and improved home ground, were also keen to show they were deserving of the effort and work that had been done in the off season, but a devastating second half of football for the visitors shut down any celebrations for the home side as Tarwin won 12.1 (73) to 4.6 (30).
Stony Creek coach Jay Accardi lamented the fade out.
“After a really good first half of football where we managed to control a lot of the play but were unable to put any scoreboard pressure on Tarwin we pretty much stopped,” he said.
“The third quarter was one to forget from our point of view, Tarwin came out firing and we just fell back in to some bad habits.”
Tarwin coach Troy Hemming was happy with the response after the long break.
“Great team effort across the board from us, skill errors early cost us but credit to Stony on their pressure around the contest,” he said.
“Best news from the day is our A Grade netball team had their first win since 2017 – huge for the club!”
Great clubs are built on genuine excitement and pleasure in others success within the group, and it appears the Sharks are certainly doing the ‘little’ things right.

FOSTER had the bye.