Reigning premier humbled

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THORPDALE provided the big talking point after Round 15 of the Mid Gippsland Football-Netball League.

The Blues defeated reigning premier Yinnar by 65 points, to move into fourth spot on the league ladder.


Yinnar v Thorpdale

FOR most of this season, Yinnar has found themselves coughing and spluttering from one round to the next, still managing to win enough games to have themselves reasonably well-placed in third position prior to the weekend, but also still a little way from their best

What the Magpies faced on the weekend was a Thorpdale side really starting to hum, and with their sights set on a further climb up the ladder, the Blues not only won the match, but sent a message to the MGFNL competition.

Thorpdale won on the road 16.16 (112) to Yinnar 7.5 (47).

Blues coach Jason Winderlich was roundly pleased with the performance.

“Another good team effort across the board in the second half,” he said.

“Yinnar are very undermanned at the moment but they played some really good footy in the first half. Once we tidied up our defensive side of the game we looked better.”

Yinnar may be well short of their best, but somehow they have to find a way to win games, or their slide down the MGFNL ladder might be hard to stop.

Magpies coach Daniel Taylor kept things in perspective.

“Started like a house on fire with two quick goals, then fast forward two hours later and we’ve only managed another five for the game which has been the story of our season,” he said.

“The game was evenly poised at halftime but to Thorpy’s credit they come out and blew us away in the third. Their midfield got right on top and the floodgates opened.

“As disappointing as it was to lose the game you’ve gotta tip your hat to Thorpy and Jase for what they have been able to do so far this season, it’s good for Mid Gippy footy to see them charging towards a finals campaign.

“We’ve got the bye this week before our last two games against Foster and Fishy (Fish Creek), we need to win one to fall into the finals so it’s a big few weeks ahead.”

This season is in some contrast to what we saw from the Magpies late last year, when they proved unstoppable for their last month-and-a-half of the season.

This last month has tested Yinnar’s depth, and next month will be an even tougher examination.


Boolarra v MDU

IN the clash of the Demon’s, there was room for just one team to play the role of Devil, and that would be Meeniyan Dumbalk United, who, while winning yet another important match away from home, also killed off any chances Boolarra had of being a part of finals in season 2023.

MDU won a low-scoring encounter 9.13 (67) to 4.10 (34).

MDU coach Nathan Allen labelled it a strong result.

“On what was a perfect day for footy and a great deck at Boolarra, we got the job done.

“We got off to a great start and got an early lead, but to their credit they were strong at the contest and fought hard all game,” he said.

“Next week we host Mirboo North. They out-worked and out-played us early in the season, so we have an opportunity to get one back on them.”

MDU has set themselves to be a top-two side, and in such an even competition that double chance is worth its weight in gold.

For their weekend opponents, it was another one that got away, in a season that promised a bit early, but has delivered little of late.

Boolarra coach Tony Giardina has two games left at the helm, and will be looking to go out on a high.

“Again a slow start then the boys got themselves back in the game being competitive against a top side, scoreboard didn’t reflect the way we played in the last three quarters with an undermanned side,” he said.

Make no mistake, Boolarra could quite conceivably have been a player in the weeks ahead, but opportunities lost, cannot be found now, with just a few weeks to go.


Fish Creek v Stony Creek

STONY Creek may not have been in the position to make a run at finals, but they had already signalled they were capable of throwing opposition sides plans to do so into some disarray.

The Lions travelled to the home of Fish Creek, with every intention of taking the game right up to one of the league leaders.

It proved to be a bridge too far for Stony Creek, who went down 15.12 (102) to 5.2 (32).

Kangaroos coach Jarred Walker said he was happy with how his team played.

“A solid performance from us, a bit of an arm wrestle for the first half but then we were able to start playing the game on our terms in the second half,” he said.

“All the boys really starting to click together which is great to see.”

The Kangaroos have received little fanfare despite their impressive season that has them well-placed for a final assault.

Stony Creek coach Chris Verboon paid credit to the opposition.

“Fish Creek came out strong in the first quarter but missed early opportunities. They set up well behind the footy which made it hard to get forward entries,” he said.

“Our second quarter was our best for the game but couldn’t sustain it. With injuries during the game and blokes injured from previous weeks it was always going to be tough to stay with them.”

The Lions you feel are on the brink of bigger and better things, but we may have to wait until season 2024 to see what that brings.


Foster v Tarwin

A MONTH ago you would not have entertained that either one of these two sides would be under pressure to be a part of finals action, but sitting sixth and seventh respectively on the MGFNL ladder prior to the weekend game, both the Tigers and the Sharks were acutely aware of the value of victory.

The game lived up to the hype, the result a mixture of ecstasy and agony as Foster snuck home in the dying seconds to win 9.7 (61) to 9.6 (60).

Foster coach Sam Davies breathed a sigh of relief at the final siren.

“Really important win for us, showed so much grit to get back the lead with a minute or so left,” he said.

“The character of the group can never be questioned in a really high intensity, quality game of footy.

“Tarwin brought everything in a must-win game for them, and to stand up makes me immensely proud of the group.

“We wouldn’t mind not losing players through injury in the first few minutes of games for the rest of the year though.”

A one-point margin might as well have been 10 goals, such is the pressure towards the top of the MGFNL ladder. Premiership points are proving even more vital, and the Sharks were after four more to have them placed within striking distance to do some real damage towards the end of August, something that appears to be slipping away from them now.

Sharks coach Troy Hemming believed luck played some part.

“Foster just hit the front at the right time. We should have won the game,” he said.

“We have the bye now, (then) Boolara at Boolara for their last game of the year the next week, will be tough!”

Unusually short and to the point, coach Hemming understands how much one point means in the scheme of the Sharks season, as finals hopes are now slim-to-none, and that is always a bitter pill to swallow when seasons are defined by the smallest of margins.


Toora v Hill End

IT really was all or nothing game for this bottom of the ladder clash between Toora and Hill End.

The Magpies, second to bottom with just the one win, hosting the winless Rovers in a match that would surely determine the wooden spoon for 2023.

The Hillmen had primed themselves for this contest, desperate to do whatever it took to walk away with a win, but the Magpies were more than prepared for what was coming, and walked away with a comfortable 68-point win 15.12 (102) to 4.10 (34).

Toora coach Jack Weston was understandably ecstatic.

” I could really get used to the winning feeling!” he said.

“Fantastic that the boys were able to get the reward for effort today. Felt we were able to really control the game with our work from the stoppages and our pressure around the ball allowed us to turn the ball over in our half and kick a winning score.”

The satisfaction felt by Toora was reflected in frustration by their opponents. The Rovers had readied themselves for a first-time victory, only to come up significantly short.

“Toora wanted it more than us, credit to Jack and the boys, they deserved the four points,” Hill End coach Mike Santo said.

“Unfortunately we aren’t working hard enough for each other, a very disappointing result for us.”

Just a few years ago, Hill End was odds-on to claim a premiership before COVID hit – now a wooden spoon is inevitable.

It’s a cruel game sometimes.


NEWBOROUGH, Morwell East and Mirboo North had the bye.