ROUND 5 of the Mid Gippsland Football-Netball League appears to be much like those of the first four weeks, with a majority of the contests capable of going either way, but with victory also being absolutely crucial.

There was little doubt we were always going to be treated to some first class football at the weekend, and so it proved.


Morwell East 11.7 (73) def by Fish Creek 11.10 (76)

WITHOUT question the Match of the Round was between the only unbeaten side of 2024, Morwell East, playing host to 2023 premier Fish Creek.

The Hawks had gained an impressive pass mark just the week prior against Newborough, but were under no illusions as to the task at hand on the weekend just gone.

The reality is that Morwell East are where they want to be, even after falling agonisingly close an the weekend, defeated by Fish Creek, 11.7 (73) to 11.10 (77).

Fish Creek coach Jarrod Walker secured his second consecutive win at Ronald Reserve, following last yar’s Grand Final win.

“A really good win, one of the better home-and-away wins to be apart of,” he said.

“With two players in hospital before halftime, the odds were against us but everyone dug deep, cracked in and never gave up.

“Extremely pleased with how we slowed the game down late in the last quarter to take time off the clock.”

On the flipside, Morwell East coach Paul Henry was disappointed with the result, but certainly not the effort.

“We didn’t produce our best footy, but you have to put that down to Fish Creek not allowing us to,” he said.

“Our third quarter was our best quarter, it gave us a three goal lead heading into the last. A huge last quarter from Fish Creek saw the game slowly slip away. We had the opportunity to snatch it late, but we just couldn’t get it done.”

It was a rare miss for the Hawks, who suffered their first defeat of the year, but no doubt the home side would have walked away from the match with plenty of learnings.


Hill End 2.5 (17) def by Yinnar 18.18 (126)

HILL END’S introduction to the season had been as tough as you could get, going from Newborough to Fish Creek, and then on the weekend having to front up again to Yinnar.

The Rovers are under no illusions as to how tough it is to run with the very best, week in, week out.

Their match against the visiting Magpies went as most expected, the visitors comfortable victors 18.18 (126) to 2.5 (17).

Yinnar coach Sam McCulloch labelled it a fine performance.

“Happy to come away with a good win in tricky conditions. Pleased with the even contribution from the 21. Hill End was hard and physical all day, which we handled well,” he said.

As highlighted by the Magpies coach, the Rovers have the respect of their opponents each and every week despite being on the end of some pretty significant losses.

“Coming up against a young, fast and fit Yinnar side, we emphasised playing a tightly contested and physical contest. Despite the final margin the lads played with fire and aggression, hit the packs hard and tackled ferociously,” Hill End coach Ambu Uliando said.

“We have lots of sore bodies and are looking forward to the week off.”

Hill End can now look forward to a deserved weekend off, especially for the likes of Aaron Fawcett, Lachlan Wilson, Nic James, Liam Cumiskey, Rohan Marra and Harry Morre, all of whom performed so well.

The Rovers, however, will return after the bye to take on Morwell East, so there doesn’t seem to be much to look forward to.


Mirboo North 5.7 (37) def by Newborough 20.16 (136)

THE Tigers faced yet another of the toughest tests in the MGFNL on the weekend, having to host a talented Newborough side who themselves had come off a loss the week prior.

The Bulldogs were keen to bounce back quickly, and they did, in a very big way, winning 20.16 (136) to Mirboo North 5.7 (37).

Newborough senior coach, Craig Skinner was absent at the weekend, and handed the reins over to assistant coaches Jack Hudson and Pat Frendo.

The coach kept a close eye on proceedings knowing the side was left in capable hands.

“After a disappointing game against Morwell East it was good to get back on the winner’s list and retain the Ron Skinner Cup,” Skinner said.

“With assistant coaches Jack Hudson and Pat Frendo in charge for the day, doing a great job with an immediate response. Understanding Mirboo North’s position and injuries it was good to play four quarters of consistent footy and work on a few things.

“Nathan Whieldon got reward for persistent effort with seven (goals).

The Bulldogs may have won the game comfortably, but their opponents have taken some solace in the fact there were small wins within the game that coach Damien Turner has highlighted to his team.

“Sometimes it’s hard to find positives after a close to 100 point loss, but I was very proud today, at halftime the game could have gone two ways, credit to our boys we came out and nearly won the (third) quarter,” he said.

“We played the brand we have been showing in patches. It’s the little goals for us at the moment and I feel the scoreboard didn’t reflect our effort today. Craig has Newborough playing a great brand of footy. Credit to them – they were too good with dangerous players on every line.”

As good as the Bulldogs were and are likely to be, Turner’s acknowledgement of his team achieving the “little goals” highlights that his Tigers are on the right track.

It may not be obvious as we speak, but the small steps forward will take them on a far more enjoyable journey in the future.


Toora 6.9 (45) def by Thorpdale 13.13 (91)

IT was only Round 5 and already Toora had won as many matches this year as they did in the entire 2023 season.

All the Magpies needed now was an unlikely victory against a tough and talented Thorpdale side. However, it was the visiting Blues who flexed their muscles in a 46-point win, 13.13 (91) to 6.9 (45).

Thorpdale coach Ray Pickering said it was good to bank the four points.

“In dry but tough windy conditions we managed to get the game on our terms early and sustain it for most of the game against an improved Toora,” he said

“Big few weeks coming up for the club starting with the league yardstick Newborough next (this) week.”

By contrast, Toora coach Jack Weston felt his side let an opportunity slip.

“Disappointing result in a game we felt was a good chance to move to 3-2 (win-loss),” he said.

“In a game that was an arm wrestle until halftime we disappointingly fell away and Thorpdale kicked away. We need to get better for longer if we want to be in the fight against the strongest.”

There is no question Toora are a far better team in 2024, and are sure to take a few unlikely scalps along the way. But as coach Weston admits, the weekend clash is one that got away, and those are the ones that can make or break seasons.


Foster 9.16 (70) def MDU 8.5 (53)

AS players, coaches and supporters know, there are games that you have to win and there are games you just want to win.

This contest was for both reasons, as two talented teams with a lot of history matched up desperate for the premiership points and the resultant ladder position.

The Tigers had managed to win three from their first four games, and the Demons, two from the three they had played.

Victory meant plenty even at this early stage of the season, and it was Foster that got what they needed, victorious 9.16 (70) to Meeniyan Dumbalk United 8.5 (53).

Foster coach Sam Davies believed a strong opening set the tone for the day at the Foster Showgrounds.

“We set the game up in the first half with 17 scoring shots to three. It was really positive, but plenty of learnings to come out of it,” he said.

The win was an important one for the Tigers, who like a handful of others in the competition, have their hands up for one of the positions towards the top of the Mid Gippsland ladder.

MDU on the other hand, find themselves in the mid section of the competition, with some work still to be done.

“Foster were too good for us on the weekend, they beat us around the ball, spread harder than us and moved the ball better than us,” Demons coach, Nathan Allen conceded.

“We were able to fight back late in the second half to make the scoreboard respectable but our run was left too late.”


Stony Creek 4.16 (40) def by Tarwin 7.7 (49)

TWO local rivals, both of whom were wanting to climb their way up the competition ladder, and both therefore desperate for the premiership points, clashed in a match in which the victor would gain a significant advantage.

The Lions at home had their chances, but in the end fell short by just a couple of kicks, 7.7 (49) to Stony Creek 4.16 (40).

Sharks coach Jason Kennedy described it as a grinding win.

“A solid hard fought away win on the weekend against Stony Creek, I’m really happy with the way our boys bounced back after last weeks loss,” he said.

Stony Creek coach, Chris Verboon was, understandably, not as impressed.

“A really disappointing loss for us,” he said.

“Kicking 16 points clearly hurts you in a low scoring game. Very scrappy contest and one that we had every chance to win.”

Given that forecasting has indicated there will likely only be one position available in the final six for one of these two sides, if any, the Sharks have taken their chance, with the Lions left to rue their sloppy kicking for goal.

Stony Creek are from dead and buried though given they sit just one game outside the top six, however, there is currently another half-a-dozen teams in exactly the same position.


BOOLARRA had the bye.