Mid Gippy officially underway

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Yinnar v Newborough

THE Magpies executed one of the most impressive and memorable finishes to a season, when after only finding their way into the final six in the very last round of the home and away season in 2022, they strung their best performances of the year at just the right time to also claim the premiership.

Their Round 1 opponents in 2023 however had been waiting for just this moment to send a message that went far beyond Round 1, but laid a foundation for bigger and better later in the year.

Newborough 13.13 (91) defeated Yinnar 11.5 (71).

Newborough coach Craig Skinner said, “That was a brutal start to the season. Tac Taylor had his boys bring unrelenting pressure and filled some player voids with ready made juniors.”

“I was proud Saturday of our teams fight to overcome some adversity and find a way to win, it’s the first time I’ve seen that from this group. Belief is a hard thing to create.”

An already strong Bulldogs side, that is starting to believe will make it a tough team to beat, as Yinnar coach Daniel Taylor witnessed first hand.

“Didn’t get the result we were after but I can’t question the boys’ effort,” Taylor said.

“We threw everything at them and in the end we were out on our feet. I thought our young blokes were fantastic and kept us in the game, in particular 16-year-old Luke Cheffers, he’s a tough little bugger with the class to go with it, I thought he was brilliant.

“Full credit to Newborough though, they moved the ball well and the better team on the day won.”

The Bulldogs were best served by the likes of Josh Hecker, Josh Pearce, Jake Bowden and Liam Flahavin, but the reality was that there were many other contributors, as they needed to be against a team the quality of Yinnar.

These two teams will be benchmark for where others in the MGFNL will need to be.

Morwell East v Hill End

MORWELL East, already up and going for season 2022, were looking to start the year with back to back victories, given their inspiring victory over the respected Foster just seven days earlier.

The Hawks, young as they might be, had shown coach Paul Henry that enthusiasm could match it with experience, the question however was could they do it consistently?

Morwell East 11.16 (82) defeated Hill End 8.3 (51).

Paul Henry, Morwell East coach said, “Our skill level in the first half was not where it should have been. Hill End’s skill level was excellent.”

“We had to fix that quickly if we were going to win, and we did. One thing didn’t change all day. That was our work rate, our effort and our belief. It was a different win to last week, but just as special.

“We wanted to go into our bye week with two wins under our belt and we did just that. Time to rest and get ourselves ready for our first away game at Toora.”

Certainly the Hawks have surprised a few, given the amount of experience they lost in the off-season, but Henry has managed to both harness the youthful enthusiasm he has and have them play with a freedom that can be exciting to watch.

No doubt they will hit hurdles along the way, but no one can question them as they sit two and zero to start 2023.

Hill End have seen some massive changes in their preparation for the season, namely eighteen new players to the club, that was always going to take some time to harness.

Mike Santo Hill End coach said, “Morwell East was good, Lucas Towns had a huge impact on the game.”

“Hopefully some scans go our way early next week otherwise our depth will be pushed further than it already is currently against Toora.”

As much as preparation is key to success, the fact is, luck can also play a major role, and the injury list for the Rovers at the moment, will make it a tough task.

Boolarra v Thorpdale

THE stage was set for an intriguing contest, with Boolarra wanting to start their season in 2023 as they did the year prior on their way to a finals appearance, up against a Thorpdale side that had worked so hard to attract the talent required to become a more formidable and respected opposition.

The clash turned out to be what was hoped for, a close encounter, with both sides walking away with some sort of satisfaction.

Boolarra 13.14 (92) scraped over the line to defeated Thorpdale 13.9 (87).

Tony Giardina, Boolarra coach said, “Good to get a first up win for the season. Thorpdale have recruited well and took the game right up to us. Plenty of room for improvement as our skill at times let us.”

Boolarra, like most in the league will take some time to find their, feet, and the fact is, you don’t want, or even need to be playing your best football from the very first round, but you do want to know that you are heading in the right direction, and they like their opponents on the weekend, both seem to be.

Blues coach Jason Winderlich said, “We showed some promising signs after quarter time by winning the last three quarters overall against a team we think will feature in finals again.”

It’s great to have Thorpdale a more competitive unit than in recent years, you do get the feeling that both Winderlich and co-coach Ray Pickering are confident in their plans to have the Blues as Finals contenders soon.

You can also bet on Thorpdale causing some headaches for opposition.

Toora v Mirboo North

A RESERVES premiership in 2022, had seemingly given the Toora club a taste and a reminder of just how good winning can be, and also the drive to find a way to have their senior side competing for the very same glory.

Their first up opponent in Mirboo North, coming off the disappointment of missing finals football for the first time two decades, was always going to be a tough first up assignment, and that is what it turned out to be, with the visitors far too strong winning 12.22 (94) to Toora 4.7 (31).

Peter Mongta, Mirboo North coach said, “Good result for Mirboo North against Toora on the weekend. We felt like we had control for most of the day and conditions didn’t favour any side.”

A new coach can always create a vibrancy and excitement around a club, coupled with that former coach, Josh Taylor, is also a willing participant in Mirboo’s quest for finals.

The Magpies probably showed more than the scoreboard suggests, but they will need to give more to really be a force they wish to be.

Jack Weston, Toora coach said, “After a very competitive half in which we were able to control the game in patches.”

“Injuries and a lack of match fitness saw the margin blow out in the second half against a well drilled Mirboo North team. Better players for us included Ben East, Chris Gardiner, Jake Dows and Peter Grant.”

Mirboo North have been traditional slow starters to the season, but that has inevitably left both them and others with their hearts in their mouth as the home and away season drew to a close. this season might be different.

Tarwin v MDU

TARWIN had slightly tinkered with their preparation in the off season after identifying some improvements needed to be made if they were to go a step or two further in 2023.

The Sharks first test of the year, against an anticipated stronger MDU side was probably the perfect first round test both for themselves and also for the Demons.

Tarwin, started with an impressive victory 9.11. (65) to MDU 8.8 (56).

The close loss obviously was not what the Demons wanted, but even in a loss, there were some significant signs of improvement.

Nathan Allen, MDU coach said. “We fought hard, but were unable to sustain the effort for a full four quarters. Tarwin were able to capitalise when they gained the momentum, and I guess that is what good sides do, jump on opportunities to turn a game, to expose even the smallest weakness, and in doing so turn the game.”

Troy Hemming, Tarwin coach said, “In a season, that is tipped to be even more competitive than the one past, every win, even this early in the year can be crucial, as there is nothing worse than looking back on a year and wondering, what if?” “Just as there is that same feeling as looking back on a close match and thinking the same.”

It appears every side is aware of the enormity of every contest every week.

Stony Creek v Fish Creek

BOTH Stony Creek and Fish Creek had made it clear that 2023 was about making their way back up the MGFNL ladder.

It was no secret therefore, that a victory in a clash like this was the first step.

In some ways the match didn’t deliver the fiercely contested contest that was expected, the difference in some ways, the effort by more of the the Kangaroos, and for a longer period of time, proving to be the difference.

Fish Creek 12.8 (80) defeated Stony Creek 7.7 (49).

Jarrod Walker, Fish Creek coach said, “Always great to start the season off with a win, really happy with the contribution of the whole team, everyone played their role with a few notable standouts. It was great to see us run out the game well to show our pre-season work is paying off. Still early days but a lot of positives to take out of the game.”

Chris Verboon, Stony Creek coach said, “Round 1 is done and dusted, and a clearer picture of who might be contenders and who might have some work to do, is yet to be seen, but rest assured there is not a team in the MGFNL competition that can be taken lightly on any given week.”


ANOTHER highly-anticipated week of Mid Gippsland football is upon us after Round 1 surprised a few.

Nonetheless, normality is expected to be restored for some teams eventually.

OFF the back of Round 1 wins, Fish Creek will host Newborough at Terrill Park.

Newborough got the better of their 2022 Grand Final opponents Yinnar in Round 1, showing that they haven’t missed the mark since last year.

They will once again be hard to beat in 2023.

Fish Creek defeated Stony Creek in impressive fashion, which will have caught the eye of the Bulldogs.

Newborough should find a way to get the job done here, as both teams look to keep their perfect records intact.

WE will get a second glimpse at Foster in 2023, when they travel to Tarwin to face 2022’s minor premier.

Tarwin only just got the job done against MDU after trailing for the opening three quarters.
The resilience on display showed they once again won’t be easy to beat.

Foster have a rejuvenated list and will be itching to get out on the grass after having the bye last week, following a close loss to Morwell East in the standalone game.

It could prove to be another tight contest, but Tarwin might be too hard to get the better of at home.

ON the flip side, in Round 2 we see two teams that are looking for their first points of the year.

Hill End will welcome Toora to Willow Grove Recreation Reserve.

Toora went down badly to Mirboo North last week, while Hill End was outdone by the resurging Morwell East.

Both have their positives and negatives and will hope to turn those wrongs into rights later down the track.

The competitive nature that the league has already presented so early on, could see this one go down to the wire.

MDU remained really competitive against last year’s minor premier, Tarwin, only going down by nine points last round.

They will hope to stay competitive against Boolarra in Round 2, who also had tough competition in Round 1.

Boolarra got over the line in their game however, dispatching what looks to be an improved Thorpdale by five points.

Both Demon sides will hope to get their season’s off to a good start. Boolarra has the chance to go 2-0, while MDU can register their first win.

Being on their home deck, don’t be surprising if MDU can cause an upset on last year’s finalists.

MIRBOO NORTH could be back to their best, coming off the back of a 10-goal win in Round 1.

Stony Creek will visit them in Round 2, coming off the back of a heated loss in Round 1.
The mixture of youth and experience at the Tigers proved to be far too strong for Hill End last weekend, and this could be the case once again.

Stony have a plethora of things to improve on already, but will be glad to get the bad results out the door early.

The Tigers look far too strong in this one and should get the job done and move to 2-0.
THE final match of the weekend is Thorpdale and Yinnar in Thorpy.

Yinnar were outdone by Newborough last week, but showed they will again be a benchmark team in 2023 nonetheless.

On the other side is Thorpdale, who have recruited well and looked competitive against Boolarra last week.

Yinnar on paper, should get the job done, yet when a team is rising like Thorpdale look to be, it can be hard to gauge where they truly sit.

Thorpdale could send the premiers to an 0-2 record, similarly to Yallourn Yallourn North in the North Gippsland Football-Netball League.

Yinnar would expect themselves to get back on that winner’s list and secure a finals spot earlier than they did in 2022.

Morwell East has the bye.