Five second difference

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AS we edge deeper into the Mid Gippsland Football-Netball League season, it becomes increasingly difficult for a side to hide as each week passes.

Some clubs are now starting to near the point where season 2023 is slipping away and even start to cast an eye as to what 2024 might look like.

For now however there is still life for most, and where there is life there is hope.


Boolarra v Mirboo North

THESE two clubs are more than capable of forcing themselves into consideration at the business end of the season, but the fact is that chances are starting to run out for both.

This clash was seen as a possible turning point for just one, and that turned out to be the home side, Boolarra winning 15.8 (98) to Mirboo North 9.10 (64).

Victorious coach Tony Giardina was pleased with the result.

“It was good to get back on the winners list with three quarters of reasonable footy,” he said.

“Mirboo are a very young side and put it right up to us in the third quarter, to the boys’ credit we lifted in the last quarter and had a good win for the club.

“Hopefully that gets us going.”

For Boolarra, the win was a long time coming, but very welcome, while for the Tigers there remains some work to do, as coach Peter Mongta acknowledged.

“We knew it was going to be a tough day when the umpires made a point to our captain that a player would be watched very closely and that’s what they did,” he said.

“To Boolarra’s credit, they worked harder for longer today, we clawed our way back to put ourselves within 10 points in the third quarter, but Boolarra kicked away late in the last and our boys couldn’t stop the momentum.

“Season ending injuries along with soft tissue and illness to quality players has really tested our depth and it showed in key moments of the weekend’s game.”


Stony Creek v Thorpdale

STONY Creek had signalled, even in defeat to the top-of-the-table Newborough last week, that when they put it all together, they could be far better than what their current position was on the MGFNL ladder.

However, their close loss that weekend faded in comparison to their heart-breaking loss last weekend, when they went down to Thorpdale in thrilling fashion by one point.

A scramble five seconds before the final siren saw Blues forward Matt Powell soccer the ball through for a behind, and that’s all that was needed. Final scores, Thorpdale 9.6 (60) to Stony Creek 8.11 (59).

Thorpdale coach Jason Winderlich said it was a frantic way to finish the game.

“In extremely blustery conditions, it was a good-old-fashioned game of contested country footy,” he said.

“Chris (Stony Creek coach Chris Verboon) has got his boys playing a good, tough brand around the contest and also a good system moving the ball out of their backline which we couldn’t defend at times.

“Both teams had momentum throughout the day and in all honesty the game probably deserved to be a draw. We were extremely lucky to get that last point with five seconds left to get the four points.”

Ecstasy for one team almost always means heartbreak for another.

“It was another game that we let slip,” Verboon said.

“Inaccuracy in front of goal killed us again. It was pleasing to see our boys back up a strong performance last week. I’m confident if we keep playing our brand of footy the wins will come.

“Thorpdale had nothing to lose in the last quarter and to their credit were able to come home strong. They have a strong side with some quality talent.

“As disappointing as it is, we will take a lot of positives from the game.”


Tarwin v Hill End

TARWIN was one of a handful of teams desperate to start to string some wins together.

The Sharks are one club that were thought to be a premiership contender in preseason, and to that end they could ill-afford to let this home game against the winless Hill End slip through their fingers.

Tarwin avoided that, winning by 37 points 14.8 (92) to 8.7 (58).

Sharks coach Troy Hemming conceded the match wasn’t much to ride home about.

“We got the four points. It wasn’t pretty. We had a senior debut for Royce Patterson and he bagged four goals. Was a super effort from him,” Hemming said.

“Hill End still has some quality players and they all played well together on the weekend.”

Tarwin are showing signs of some significant improvement, and will be looking to make further inroads as the year progresses.

Despite the loss, Hill End coach Mike Santo wasn’t too disheartened.

“We showed some encouraging signs on the weekend, our midfield group is really starting to gel which is great and gave us a chance for our forwards to have one-on-ones,” he said.

“Lachie Wilson was unstoppable at full forward but we just couldn’t give him enough chances to get over the line.

“Basic skill errors are really our worst enemy at the moment and ruining any momentum we build during play.”

Next week we hit the halfway mark of the season, and although the Hillmen have not yet registered a win, you can take it to the bank, they will upset a couple on the run home.


Yinnar v Fish Creek

TWO of the top performing sides of 2023 set up a mouth watering clash to headline Round 8.

The Magpies are tough to beat at the best of times, let alone when they are fielding one of their strongest teams of the season on their home ground.

It should be noted that Fish Creek had been fearless all season and was set on not letting Yinnar stand in their way.

The Lions were fierce but fell short by just seven points, as Yinnar won 9.7 (61) to 7.12 (54).

Magpies coach Daniel Taylor described it as a good game of footy.

“It was another hotly contested game of footy that we’re happy to walk away from with another four points,” he said.

“Throughout the day I thought we looked the better team but to Fish Creek’s credit they didn’t go away, we were 20-odd points up with not long to go but they finished strong and could have pinched it if they’d kicked straight.

“Really happy to get the win in what was another full team performance.”

Fish Creek coach Jarrod Walker echoed these thoughts.

“A really hard fought game, although not overly high-scoring, momentum swings throughout the day kept it interesting,” he said.

“Ended up with more scoring shots which showed we can mix it one of the better teams in the comp.

“A timely week off to refresh and build into the second half of the season.”


Toora v MDU

LOCAL rivalries can sometimes bring the best out of clubs, despite their respective ladder positions.

Before Round 8, home team Toora sat second from bottom, while Meeniyan Dumbalk United enjoyed some comfort inside the top four.

The Demons showed their strength, winning by 50 points, 12.16 (88) to 5.8 (38).

MDU coach Nathan Allen was happy with how things turned out.

“We were able to get out of Toora with the four points. It was tough and windy conditions and to their credit they fought really hard all day,” he said.

There were some Magpie’s faithful that thought an upset could be on the cards, and although that didn’t happen, there was some encouraging signs that point to some better luck in the future.

Toora coach Jack Weston kept things in perspective.

“Another step in the right direction, our stoppage work on the weekend was great and effort from the whole team was up,” he said.

“Credit to Meeniyan today who took advantage of turnovers and sliced us up on the turnover”.


NEWBOROUGH had the bye, while Morwell East and Foster played this fixture as a standalone match on April 15: Morwell East won 8.8 (56) to 7.8 (50).