THE Mid Gippsland Football-Netball League ladder may still be a little way from taking shape, but after a month of football, we are starting to get a better indication as to what clubs are, or might be capable of.

Four rounds have now been completed, with Morwell East emerging as arguably the biggest early season talking point.


Newborough 9.16 (7-0) def by Morwell East 16.10 (106) 

THE undoubted match of the round was the clash between two of last year’s finalists.

As good as the Hawks had been in their unbeaten start to the season, their weekend match against a side who had played in the last two Grand Finals, was always going to loom as their biggest test to date.

Newborough, at the Kennel, in front of an enthusiastic crowd can be a daunting experience, but it was one Morwell East coach Paul Henry was also able to get a good first-hand look at the ammunition he had at his disposal.

After the game, he surely has every indication his army is ready to go to war.

Morwell East recorded a tough, honest, impressive win over Newborough 16.10 (106) to 9.16 (70).

Henry described it as a monumental win.

“Massive test against Newborough. We produced exactly what we had produced the last three weeks, it was great to do it against the benchmark of the league. Huge effort by our players,” he said.

The win indeed has raised the eyebrows of most in the competition, with the Hawks quickly being discussed, even this early in the season, as a premiership contender.

Bulldogs coach Craig Skinner paid credit to the opposition.

“Morwell East were a class above today, we were beaten in most areas and again kicked points when goals were premium,” he said.

“We have a bit of work to do but getting high quality opposition each week gives us a good early guide to what’s required to finish in the top half of the draw.”


MDU 13.11 (89) def Boolarra 6.4 (40)

GIVEN the importance of victory, the battle of the Demons was always going to be about the premiership points rather than the ‘namesake’ between the two clubs.

MDU had confronted a tough fortnight of football prior to last week’s bye, and were now back on their home deck and keen to register their first home ground win against a visiting side that had indicated they would also be up for the challenge.

MDU proved too strong, winning 13.11 (89) to 6.4 (40).

Victorious coach Nathan Allen was happy with the result, although the scoreboard may have proven a false indication.

“Another great day for footy at our home deck. Boolarra really came to play and made us earn everything we got. The end score doesn’t show how tight of a game it was all day,” he said.

Winning tight games can often be the difference between a successful season and one that gets away. Boolarra has proven they have what it takes, but games have been lost, not through lack of effort, but short periods of concentration.

Boolarra coach Brendan Mason was willing to put the game in perspective.

“For three quarters we were right in the game. Played some pretty good footy and were able to stop MDU’s run and spread, but credit to Nathan and his team, they were just too strong in the end and ran over the top of us,” he said.

“Much needed rest this week with so many injuries, looking forward to getting some cavalry back after the bye and hopefully getting our season back on track.”


Fish Creek 26.20 (176) def Hill End 5.2 (32)

A CLASSIC tale of David and Goliath, except without the fairytale ending loomed large for Hill End, as they made one of their longest trips of the season to take on the reigning premier.

Fish Creek, coming of a loss, got back on the winner’s list with a result that was probably never in doubt, but the margin was to be of interest.

The margin in the end was 144 points, with the Kangaroos winning 26.20 (176) to 5.2 (32), showing the gulf between the top and bottom of the Mid Gippsland ladder.

Fish Creek coach Jarrod Walker was pleased with what transpired on and off the field.

“A good day on Saturday, very pleased with a four-quarter effort, had a few standout players but all-in-all played well as a team which was good to see,” he said.

“Hill End cracked in all day and supported us really well in the social rooms after the game which we appreciate.”

It’s those little things of paying your opponent respect even in loss, that indicates Rovers coach Ambu Uliando is teaching his men about the true essence of the game and earning respect.

“It was a rough day at Fish Creek for the Hillmen. Credit to the boys, they fought hard all day and didn’t give up, just hoping to have a few players back from injury next week against Yinnar,” he said.

The Rovers are a little way off where they need to be, but Uliando has patience and the ability to lead his team slowly but surely in the right direction.

The test for Hill End won’t be leadership, it will be the resilience of the playing group and the off field support that must also remain true.


Thorpdale 13.5 (83) def Stony Creek 12.5 (77).

THE Blues were only just getting their breath back after being knocked around by Foster a week prior, when a visiting Stony Creek side arrived planning to topple the home side.

The Lions were well aware that a win against their more favoured opponents would be a step closer to them achieving one of their most desired preseason goals – progression up the ladder.

However, the result also showed that as good as Stony Creek are, the game can also be cruel, after Thorpdale won 13.5 (83) to 12.5 (77).

The one-goal margin yet another indication of just how close this competition is and how the smallest improvements can make a big difference.

Thorpdale coach Jason Winderlich said while winning was good, there was much to improve on.

“Happy to come away with the four points. Lots to work on still but looked better in the second half. Another trip down South Gippsland to face the much improved Toora (he said),” he said.

The Blues have toughed out a couple of one kick victories now, and there is every possibility there will be more close encounters to come, not only for Thorpdale but for Stony Creek also.

“We went into the game knowing it was going to be a tight contest and that we would have to play at our best to stay with them,” Lions coach Chris Verboon said.

“We had a few key position players out and the boys that filled those spots did a great job. It is frustrating to lose another close game but we shouldn’t be unhappy with the effort.”

With continued effort, there is little doubt the Lions will be the recipient of some good fortune and being on the right side of upcoming close encounters this season.


Toora 11.11 (77) def Mirboo North 6.8 (44)

EVERY win, in fact any win, for either of these two teams is worth celebrating this season.

With work still to be done by both, grabbing opportunities for rare victories is absolutely crucial.

Toora, on their home deck, were never going to be an easy task for Mirboo North. The Magpies jumped out of the blocks, leading at every break and getting the four premiership points in an 11.11 (77) to 6.8 (44) finish.

Magpies coach Jack Weston was chuffed to be able to sing the song.

“Mirboo North controlled the game in patches and had repeat forward entries. It was really pleasing to see our defenders hold up to this pressure and not allow them to kick a winning score,” he said.

“Offensively we probably allowed conditions to stifle our ball movement somewhat. Some good passages and individual efforts put a winning score on the board.”

Although Mirboo North showed glimpses of good ball movement, finding their way to goal was a bridge too far more times than not.

Mirboo North coach Damien Turner conceded the better side won.

“Toora were too good for us today. Credit to Jack and his boys,” he said.

“We fought back hard coming into halftime, but a poor second half let Toora take control of the game.

“Consistency is still our key focus, and we will continue to work on this. Again our willingness to fight hard all day is really positive from a young group.”


Tarwin 2.8 (20) def by Foster 7.7 (49) 

FOUR rounds in and Tarwin finally got their chance to showcase the team in front of a hometown crowd.

The early signs for the Sharks had been good, their win just seven days prior over Boolarra seemingly a perfect platform from which to launch into rivals Foster.

The Tigers had been hit and hurt in their win against Thorpdale in Round 3, but whether they were going to be fragile as a result would be put to the test early by Tarwin.

Foster overcame any doubts, winning a grinding game 7.7 (49) to Tarwin 2.8 (20), reinforcing what most already knew, and that was – never underestimate a wounded Tiger.

Tigers coach Sam Davies was full of praise for his troops.

“Adversity creates opportunity, we made seven forced changes from the previous week and with more already out we were really up against it playing a fit, quick team,” he said.

“Really proud of the group and the way we are backing our system in. The win was a great way to celebrate milestones from first gamers to two hundreds.”

Those celebrations indicate the contrast of ability Foster has, from youngsters donning the yellow and black for the first time to those loyal to the club for a decade.

Tarwin caoch Jason Kennedy said it was a disappointing outcome.

“We knew that we needed to be at our best and we were just not switched on,” he said.