Odd start to MGFNL season

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IN bizarre fashion, the Mid Gippsland Football-Netball League will open with a Round 8 fixture, as Morwell East host Foster at Ronald Reserve.

With the other two leagues within our readership underway, clubs in the MGFNL are only just completing their preseasons.

But the real deal begins this weekend.

Due to the fixture change, Morwell East and Foster will now share a bye with Newborough in Round 8, scheduled for June 10.

A disappointing finals exit in 2022 for Foster will no doubt see the Tigers wanting to start their year with a win at the home of Morwell East.

The Hawks will celebrate its 50th year this season, under the guidance of new and respected senior coach Paul Henry. Morwell East has competed in the MGFNL that whole time.

The task for the home side will be far from easy, however Henry has declared, “we have quite a few retirees this year, too many to mention, but we will at some stage see the new faces of Hamish Towns, Michael Diaz, Ben Lewis and Adam Chawner.”

The first round of the season is always full of rust and cobwebs, and with so many changes in the Hawks’ line-up, this might only be exacerbated.

But every journey starts with its first few baby steps, and Morwell East will begin their climb back to final this Saturday.

Foster, like Morwell East, have also lost some talent, in the shape of Josh Toner to Toora, Billy Flavelle to Aspendale and the retirement of Alex Kane, which will be somewhat softened by the recruitment of Will McDonald from MDU.

It is expected that the Tigers’ juniors will also play a more significant role this season, after training with senior players throughout the preseason, helping to continue the clubs strong culture with a view to again being a finals contender.

Both teams have practice games under their belt on the back of a testing off season, but no matter the work done, every footballer knows that the first 30 minutes of the real stuff will have every player on the field gasping for air and wondering why they once again decided to put the boots on. That all disappears as the game unfolds, with a win making it all worthwhile.

Foster, on paper at least, appears to be the side likely to be securing the first premiership points for 2023, but the game isn’t played on paper and the Hawks will have set themselves to take a scalp early on at their home ground.

Round 1 starts the following week, which funnily enough will see Morwell East feature for the second time of the year already.

They will once again host, but this time will welcome Hill End to Ronald Reserve.

Tarwin will go to battle with MDU, while bragging rights for the better Creek is on offer between Stony Creek and Fish Creek.

Mirboo North hit the road to face Toora, hoping to grab four points from last year’s wooden spooners.

Boolarra host Thorpdale at Boolarra Recreation Reserve, looking to do the same as Mirboo North and poach points from the lesser sides of 2022.

Finally, a greatly anticipated Round 1 fixture will take place at Yinnar Recreation Reserve, in the form of a Grand Final rematch.

Newborough will want to get back at the Magpies after they won the flag from sixth on the ladder, using momentum through finals that Newborough famously didn’t have the chance to do.

It’s not too long until the whole competition is in full swing, footballers would be itching to get onto the grass and hear that opening siren.

Foster has the bye in Round 1.