MID Gippsland Football-Netball League clubs are set to commence the 2024 season.


The season opener this weekend carries with it a degree of intrigue as clubs take the first step to achieving premiership points.


The previous year’s Grand Finalists, Fish Creek and Newborough, are again expected to be among the teams to beat, while Thorpdale and Meeniyan Dumbalk United have been identified as likely challengers.


The Bulldogs had a good hit out at the weekend against North Gippsland Football-Netball League side Heyfield, a team also carrying high expectations in its respective league.


Newborough has added some experience and grunt to its line-up, securing the services of favourite son, Daniel Risol back for another stint.


Risol joins Darnell Grech as another returning Newborough local, along with Jack Hudson and Kyle Jennings.


There has been a slight change in leadership philosophy at The Kennel.


Alex Skinner has graciously stepped down as fulltime captain, giving a rein each to Josh Pearce and Wade Anderson as co-captains.


Somewhat bizarrely, there still seems to be mystery surrounding the ‘South Gippy Six’ clubs of Fish Creek, Foster, Toora, Tarwin, MDU and Stony Creek.


Despite being in the league coming up to four years now, news regarding those clubs has consistently failed to make its way over the hill and into the more traditional Mid Gippsland heartland – that is until they play games around the Latrobe Valley.


With this in mind, expect the South Gippsland influence to again ring true in 2024 – and equally, expect some teams to be completely different after clearances close.


Stony Creek has been identified as a side who perhaps underachieved last season, and with a few more Leongatha-based recruits, could have the makings of a team knocking on the finals door.


Tarwin could be in a similar boat, and having nabbed Wonthaggi players such as Kane McCarthy, Lachie Jones and Travis Krause, they will provide more than a handful.


The trio may have been Wonthaggi twos players, but they’ll be very good senior players in Mid Gippy.


Closer to home, a lot of eyes are on Thorpdale and just how far they will go this season.


The sentimental favourites of Mid Gippsland took fans all the way to the second-last game of the season last year, and have topped up with even more exceptional players, headlined by Anthony Rosato, who’s bullocking style sees him just about the perfect type suited to the usual mud-soaked grounds of the league.


With Dillon Leys from Churchill and Jordan Ceppi from Moe also on board, Thorpdale could well find themselves short-priced favourites to take out a long-awaited premiership.


While the Blues showed they could handle finals pressure last year, there is now pressure of a different kind – when you have a team this good, you really should be winning most weeks.


Elsewhere, traditional powerhouse Yinnar is again tipped to be in the finals frame, as are Morwell East.


Boolarra will carry high hopes under new coach Brendan Mason, although just how much events in recent weeks affect their preparation could be seen in coming rounds.


The Demons thought they had North Gippsland league best-and-fairest winner, Ricky Cochrane sign, sealed and delivered, only for him to bail at the last minute and join Warragul Industrials.


Another side coming in with less than ideal preparation is Mirboo North, who appointed club 300-gamer, Damien Turner as coach only two months ago.


To his credit, Turner has managed to recruit and entice a number of ex-players back in a short space of time, although it could be a case of too little too late as far as many wins are concerned.


Wins may not be counted in the points column for Hill End this season, as by all reports, just getting two teams on the park every week will be a moral victory in itself.


How quickly the premiership window can shut – Hill End and Mirboo North were poised to play in a Grand Final just three years ago.

Coaches weigh in on season 2024

MID Gippsland Football-Netball League Publicity Officer, Rob Popplestone asked all senior coaches for some words before the season starts this Saturday.

Here’s what they had to say.

Fish Creek (Round 1 opponent – Newborough)                                                          A REALLY exciting year for the club ahead with a number of local boys coming back to play their footy, bringing an injection of enthusiasm.
After a whirlwind of emotions since Grand Final day last year, we are all super-excited to get back on the field and court with the community down to support.
For Round 1 against Newborough, it’s going to be a really proud and emotional day to watch the flag unfurling and look forward to a full crowd of Fish Creek faithful.
Newborough are looking prime to be another strong force. It’ll be great to test ourselves early in the season to see where we sit. With a few out from our Grand Final team but then a number of inclusions it will be interesting to see how we all play together.”              Jarrod Walker


Newborough                                                                                                                  HAS been a late start to the preseason which finished with three practice matches.
Lost a few and gained a few and will be a slow build to the season for us.
We head to the Prom to take on the reigning premier, so expecting this game to give us a good guide on where we are at and a starting point for our season.                              Craig Skinner


MDU (vs Thorpdale)                                                                                                    WE come up against Thorpdale first up.
Last year, we had two really tight contests (against Thorpdale), both times they got us, including in the finals.
It will be a great game straight up to see where we are at as a side.
I’m really looking forward to getting out, putting in a good performance and aiming to build on what we achieved last season.
Nathan Allen


Thorpdale                                                                                                          HEADING down to South Gippsland to face MDU is always a tough gig.
We had two great contests against them last year and we expect this to be the same.
Like always, the team who has 21 contributors will get the job done.
Jason Winderlich


Yinnar (vs Toora)                                                                                                      THE club is really excited about our young group, our new recruits and the experienced players we have to guide them along the way.
We’re looking forward to seeing where we are at in comparison to other teams and feel the hard work we’ve put in over the offseason will hold us in good stead to compete all year.
The group has gelled very well to date and feel we will improve the more we play together and adjust to our game plan.
No doubt we will be in for a tough contest against Toora given the fact they have put together a strong list
Sam McCulloch


A NEW season always brings new hope.
With numerous new players, we appreciate it will take some time to gel offensively.
In the contest and defensively, I expect our players to bring effort regardless of the situation.
Early season games are always hard to get a read on. After a tough run with injuries last year, I expect Yinnar to bounce. So our Round 1 contest will be a good test to see where we sit against a club who traditionally don’t stay out of contention too often.
Jack Weston


Boolarra (vs Mirboo North)
WE have recruited some talent both from within and outside of the MGFNL, and although we have also lost a few, I feel we have done well.
We hope that stands us in good stead for our first up clash against a respected opponent.
Brendan Mason


Mirboo North
We have our rivals Boolarra in Round 1 – always a huge day!
Boolarra has recruited some good names, so all the best to Brendan and his club for 2024.
Our boys have had a huge final month of preseason and are ready to go.
It’s going to be exciting watching this list develop over season ’24 and beyond. They will bring great energy in offence and defence each week.
All the best to all the other clubs. Excited to get started.
Damien Turner


Hill End (vs Stony Creek)
HOPING to get our first W in over 12 months in front of our home crowd. We will front a young side that is eager to get after it.
Stony will be well drilled, with plenty of experienced senior players.
I’m keen to see how our young side will go!
Ambu Ulliando


Stony Creek
LOOKING forward to the first game of the year against Hill End away.
We hope to build on last year’s performance and early wins are crucial.
With a few new names added to our list this year we will have better depth.
We have just finished our third practice match and will go into Round 1 with good match fitness.
Good luck to all teams.
Chris Verboon


Foster (vs Morwell East)
ROUND 1 is always an interesting time for us with school holidays, weddings and so on affecting player availability.
I’m not sure what our team will look like just yet and there will be plenty of phone calls made over the week as well as blooding some kids out of the 18s.
I’ll be asking the boys to just be competitive and have a crack.
I watched East play their final last year and they should’ve won by five goals so I’m sure they’ll be primed after three practice matches and raring to go chasing some redemption.
Sam Davies


Morwell East
ROUND 1 this week and I’m nervous as ever before.
The unknown coming into Round 1, are we fit enough, have we done enough? These questions will be answered at the end of this Saturday when we take on Foster away.
We both played finals last year. I’m told they have recruited well, and so have we. We will be looking to bring exactly what we did last season, high pressure for four quarters.
I know Foster will bring the same on their home turf.
Would be great to start the season off the same way as last season.
Paul Henry

Tarwin has the bye