How far for Heyfield in 2023?

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THE odds would be terrible in North Gippy at the moment.

Another unfortunate round of lopsided games played out in Round 15 of the North Gippsland Football-Netball League.

With three weeks to go until finals, the top five is virtually determined, while the top two is absolutely determined.

Traralgon Tyers United and Woodside are at least two games clear from their closest challenger, leaving Churchill, Heyfield and Yallourn Yallourn North to fight it out for the last remaining shot at securing the double-chance.

Granted it looks like a matter of who finishes where for those three, there is still an outside chance sixth-placed Yarram could sneak in after Round 18.

The Demons would need a lot to go right however for that to happen, needing to not only make up a game, but rely on other results falling their way.


HOW good are Heyfield going to be in a few years.

If their performances since Round 10 are any indication, the answer is formidable.

A very youthful Kangaroos outfit added YYN to its list of scalps at the weekend, which has included Yarram and Churchill in recent weeks.

Not one Heyfield defender is over the age of 21.

The Kangaroos held off an inaccurate Jets, winning 15.7 (97) to 11.17 (83).

Honours were shared in the first half at Gordon Street Reserve, as the home side took a one-point advantage into the sheds.

YYN might have still been thinking about their premiership won at the venue last season, and only managed one goal in the third term, watching on as Heyfield kicked four.

With a 20-point lead at the final change of ends, it mattered little that both sides kicked three goals in the last quarter.

Keenan Hughes kept fuel in the Jets’ tank with five goals, and received good support from Mitch Luck, Anthony Young, Jai Massese, Dylan Bath and Blake Julin.

Best for the winners was Tyson Birss, Kail Hole, Robert McMillan, Mitch Bennett (four goals), Max Van Der Zwart and Brayden Woodland.

The takeout from the game would have undoubtedly given both coaches plenty to ponder.

In a game decided by 14 points, Jets leader Barrie Burnett will be optimistic after his side registered 28 scoring shots to 22, however, internally there could be some concerns for the reigning premier as the finals approach.

YYN are down a key ruckman, with Cambell Staff out for the rest of the season, which could turn Thursday night selection into the war room at George Bates Reserve.

As they say, big men are hard to find, and they don’t get smaller.

Speaking of big men, Heyfield coach Leigh Brown is still to come back into the Kangaroos’ line-up.

Brown looks to have Heyfield hitting their straps at the right time of year, and with Gippsland Power unlikely to play finals this season, the Kangaroos could be helped further with the availability of Asher Eastham come finals.

Eastham joins fellow Heyfield young guns Birrs and Liam Heasley with Gippsland Power experience, and along with highly-touted Hole, Heyfield is looming as a side you wouldn’t want to be playing in a final.

With strong Heyfield surnames such as Birss and Hole, the next generation looks to be continuing a proud tradition for a small town that has produced a litany of AFL players.

Among those included Brown, triple premiership winning Geelong defender David Wojcinski and Adelaide premiership player Mark Stevens.

Heyfield legend Graeme Anderson (father of comedian Wil), celebrated his 80th birthday recently, and will surely be grinning from ear-to-ear at how his beloved Kangaroos are travelling.

After a few tough months for the timber town following the state government’s decision to ban native logging by the end of the year, the positivity emanating from the footy club has perhaps exemplified the importance of community organisations.

While there will be finals to be won, Brown is also set to be facing a greater challenge once season 2023 finishes up.

You can already tell what’s going to happen come October.

“Hi Asher Eastham, this is Jake Best from Traralgon.”

“Hi Tyson Birss, this is Anthony Robbins from Maffra.”

“Hi Liam Heasley, this is Jack Johnstone from Sale.”


CHURCHILL needs a safe word.

If five players without numbers on PlayHQ wasn’t indication enough – the Cougars are injury-ravaged.

While Churchill won against lowly Glengarry at the weekend, the performance was quickly forgotten about as attention turned to the remaining weeks of the home-and-away season.

The Cougars had enough form and enough first-choice players to defeat the Magpies, and did so 14.16 (100) to 7.14 (56).

Travelling to Fred King Oval, the visitor’s kept the home side goalless in the third term, to lead by 43 point at three quarter time.

Churchill brought up the ton, helped in no small way by Chris Wangman, who kicked as many goals as Glengarry did themselves.

Cougars playing-coach Jordan Fenech was best-on-ground, followed by Jarrod Henderson, Bailey Flanigan, Ryan Lowrie and Billy Wright.

Beau Hutton put in a good shift for the Magpies, as did Jesse Lee, Michael Ryan, Jake Read, Colby Schmidt and Tom Harris.

The Cougars will very much welcome a bye this weekend, and hope to get at least some players back in time for finals.

How’s this for a list of outs: Chris Williams, Ben Kearns, Blake Slater, Chris Kyriacou, Tyson Leys, Brendan Holt, Nick Celima, Andrew Rooney and the Express’ own Tom Hayes, who has come down with a suspected case of tonsillitis.


TOOK them long enough.

TTU woke up in the last quarter against Rosedale.

The Bombers won as expected, but had to overcome a determined Blues outfit for the best part of three quarters.

Rosedale was only 20 points down in the last term, before the visiting TTU ran away with the game, kicking 10 goals to none.

The final scoreboard of 16.17 (113) to 4.5 (29) perhaps indicated just how destructive the Bombers are – they played one quarter and still won by 84 points.

Frazar Brouns kicked three goals against his old side and was among the best for the victor’s, who are still undefeated in season 2023.

Michael Jacobsen was also prominent, as was Kade Duncan, Quinn Sinclair, trucking magnate Hayden Willaton and expert consultant Liam Michie.

Better players for Rosedale were Luke Stuckey, Will Logan, Riley Atlee, Corey Buys, Corey Beaver and Hayden Bell.

While much has been made of TTU’s player points this season, the weekend presented a possible counterargument.

The Bombers were again at their full allotment of 39 points, however, Rosedale was at 38 themselves.

Given both clubs used virtually the same amount of points and are experiencing vastly different seasons, does it not say more about the quality of players recruited?

There isn’t much in terms of distance from the main talent pool both clubs would draw from. Traralgon to Rosedale is a trip of around 20 minutes, the same time it takes to get from Traralgon to Tyers these days without the bridge.


YARRAM won, but it could be too-little-too-late as far as their finals hopes are concerned.

The Demons were never troubled by Gormandale, and won by more than 100 points.

Josh Swift and Dan Vardy combined for 12 goals between them, doubling what the Tigers were able to manage for the whole game.

Gormandale did well to score as many goals in the final term as Yarram, and could use this as a springboard to next season.

The Tigers have made their intentions clear for next year, splashing the coaching advertisement seeking not only a senior coach but two assistants across various channels.

Isaac Copland, Will Flanagan, Jai Foulkes, Wynn Harvey, Ty Osbourne and Nick Millington played well at the weekend, and Gormandale will be hoping to keep them on board for 2024.

Swift’s seven goals saw him named best for Yarram, along with Kiefer Sutherland, Liam Bentley, Vardy, Demons senior games record holder Chris Bruns and Shem Rendell.

How costly is that loss to Rosedale going to be for Yarram?


SURELY something has to give.

Woodside showed no mercy for the second week in a row, crushing Cowwarr by 165 points.

The Wildcats put up a cricket score of 29.14 (188) to 3.5 (23).

While the effort fell short of the 41.20 (266) Woodside registered last week, it perhaps further emphasised just how lopsided the NGFNL has been this season.

Michael O’Sullivan helped himself to six goals, while Ryan Foat, Lee Stockdale, Hamish McLeod, Cameron Whiteoak and Tom Mann racked up touches.

Brayden Rioli, Rhys Luxford, Matt Leicester, Nick Twomey, Andrew McLean and Wayne Swan battled hard for the Saints.

Strategically at least, Woodside keeps its percentage above TTU, and the Wildcats could be banking on Heyfield rolling the Bombers this weekend in order take top spot.

Geographically at least, would clubs such as Cowwarr welcome a league restructure if it meant more opportunities to win?

Here we go again.


SALE CITY had the bye.