Nothing is set in stone yet

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ROUND 11 of the Mid Gippsland Football-Netball League featured all three possible results from a game of football.

While one team remains undefeated, they do now have a draw next to their name. Elsewhere, a number of other sides are starting to make a move.


Foster v Newborough

THERE was an early ‘shot over the bow’ from Newborough coach, Craig Skinner when he warned Foster prior to the game that “We are looking forward to the challenge and hope their young players are ready for some contested footy”, alluding to the fact that the weekend would be no place for the faint hearted, setting the tone for a physical clash.

In the end, it was a clash to be remembered, as the Bulldogs drew with Foster 9.6 (60) to 8.12 (60).

The Tigers were brave at home, and more than proved their worth against the ladder-leaders.

“An interesting day for us, a real fight all day with different momentum swings for both teams,” Foster coach Sam Davies said.

“Probably a fitting result, we missed a lot of chances that were gettable and we made some uncharacteristic errors but that’s what high pressure games produce. We’ll take a lot of positives out of it.”

Positives were taken and lessons also learned about the opposition, valuable intel if the two should meet again.

Likewise, Skinner said there was much to gain from the encounter.

“When you look to next week and you’ve got to go to Foster, it’s their midfield and two forwards that registers first,” he said.

“Our midfield of Pat Charles, Liam Flahavin and Liam ‘Chucky’ Cordiner were our best and our key backs Tyler Mander and Alex Skinner left their goal machine (Tom Bartholomew) with a donut. Wade Anderson was outstanding and Joel Mitchell is back terrorising backlines.

“The five men that came into the side were fantastic. The scoreboard said a draw but today we evolved as a team and that was a win for our club.”

It may also be a win for a number of other clubs as well, on two fronts, one because they managed to sneak up on both clubs by two premiership points and two, because it showed that the Bulldogs do in fact have some vulnerabilities.


Hill End v Fish Creek

HILL End at home had been a tough place to secure premiership points in recent years, but in season 2023, clubs have come and gone with victories being taken far easier than what Rover’s coach Mike Santo would have liked.

The weekend was no different, with Fish Creek claiming a comfortable win 14.11 (95) to 2.4 (16).

Conditions may have been testing for any silky football to be shown, but the Kangaroos had the Rovers’ measure despite the home side’s best efforts.

Fish Creek coach Jarrod Walker said he was happy to secure the four points.

“It was a positive result for us,” he said.

“A tough day conditions wise for us to get our game going in full flight but the guys stuck at it and showed when we can get the game on our terms we can look pretty good.

“Hill End forced us into some bad habits at times and when given time and space could move the ball smoothly.”

The Rovers are still searching for their first win of the season.

Santo hoped that maiden victory wasn’t too far away.

“They were sloppy conditions but we were outclassed by a well organised Fish Creek side,” he said.

“Our effort was good but I’m getting sick of saying that! We need to be better with our execution of game plans and basic skills.

“We believe we have winnable game next week at Mirboo, we will prepare accordingly and hopefully we will show up ready to play.”


MDU v Thorpdale

THIS was always going to be much more than a match for premiership points, it was a fight for finals positioning, with both Meeniyan Dumbalk United and Thorpdale part of a group of six, maybe even eight, fighting for anticipated limited spots come finals time.

The Blues eventually clawed their way to a 12.11 (83) to 11.6 (72) win on the road.

Thorpdale coach Jason Winderlich labelled it a good result.

“Good effort by the boys to come away with the win in extremely heavy conditions,” he said.

“We had a very dominant first half which set the game up. MDU then dominated the next 45 minutes to take the lead. We were able to start winning the ball around the contest late and kick the final three goals which was pleasing.”

Demon’s coach Nathan Allen believed the better side won.

“Thorpdale outmuscled us early, we were able to fight the game out as we always do, but we left ourselves too much to do,” he said.

“Next week we have the bye. Good chance to refresh, recover and hit the ground running heading into the final part of the regular season.”

Thorpdale has now won six of its last seven games.


Morwell East v Yinnar

MORWELL East prepared for their weekend clash with Yinnar like it was their last chance to make a surge towards the top half of the ladder.

Too many times in recent weeks, the Hawks had come close only to fall short, but they reversed the trend at the weekend, winning 7.11 (53) to 6.10 (46) at home.

The celebration of Morwell East’s 50 years as a club will soon be celebrated, and wins like this one make it all worthwhile.

“Was such a good win in trying conditions,” Hawks coach Paul Henry said.

“We produced a four-quarter effort and got rewarded for it. Yinnar were fast and moved the ball really well, but we kept the pressure on them all day. We were hungrier to win and it was nice to be on the winning side of a close one.”

Yinnar coach Daniel Taylor was magnanimous in defeat.

“Morwell East were the better team and deserved the win,” he said.

“We got outworked early and found ourselves down three goals to zip whilst having the breeze.

“Showed a bit to get back in the game but overall it was a disappointing day. If you don’t show up, are second to the ball all day, give away sloppy free kicks and are undisciplined then you’re not going to win any games of football, it’s as simple as that.”


Tarwin v Stony Creek

AFTER a slow start, Tarwin had picked themselves up and strung together enough ‘w’s’ to have themselves well-placed as they started to dig their teeth into the second half of the season.

All they had to do was kill off their weekend opponent Stony Creek to start to sure-up their top of the ladder position, and that’s exactly what the home side did, Tarwin winning 18.7 (115) to 5.5 (35).

Sharks coach Troy Hemming said it was great to string five wins together.

“We keep building momentum and cleaning up our game plan. Very happy with our group!” he said.

“Both grades are buying in and supporting each other and I love seeing the genuine care for each other! I’m seeing growth in every player and it’s getting more exciting every week!

“Stony tried to play a good brand but I think turnovers hurt them a bit today! Credit to Chris (coach Chris Vernoon) and Browny (captain Matt Brown) for pushing them to keep putting in effort and play a good brand.”

It was a disappointing day for the Lions, who in recent weeks and even months had put up much better performances than what they did on the weekend.

“We have gone away from playing that confident game style that was able to match it with the best sides,” Verboon said.

“Skill errors and poor decisions let us down and made it easy for Tarwin to score on the turnover.

“The challenge is to keep the group believing that if we take risks and take the game on, we can play it on our terms. Confidence and mindset go a long way in how we play and at the moment we are searching for it.

“We will take on Boolara at home next week. Another game that will be a good test for us and hopefully we can get back to playing the footy I know we can play.”


Toora v Boolarra

AS rare as wins have been for Toora in season 2023, there is no question that the Magpies would have given themselves a chance at home of knocking off their more fancied opponents in Boolarra.

The Demons needed to win for their season, Toora for respect and reward for effort in a lean year.

In the end, it was the visitor’s that got the win with a six goal victory 10.7 (67) to 4.7 (31).

Boolarra coach Tony Giardina said the game never reached any great heights.

“Good start to the game in pretty trying conditions,” he said.

“They kept going all game with Toora never throwing in the towel, good to get another win under our belt and hopefully we can get a few players back in the next few weeks for some big games coming up”

It was a crucial win for the Demons, and kept them in touch with the peloton of clubs at the top of the ladder but still in their sights.

For Toora, it was the first 60 minutes in which the game slipped away.

“Hard slog today. Credit to Boolarra who adjusted to the conditions earlier and made the most of their advantage to kick away in the first half. Once we adjusted the game was an arm wrestle after halftime,” Magpies coach Jack Weston said.


MIRBOO North had the bye.