WITH just a fortnight or so before the halfway mark of the Mid Gippsland Football-Netball League season, sides are still jostling for positions towards the top of the table.

To say it is tight at the top would be an understatement, as after seven rounds there is only four points separating first from sixth.


Thorpdale 14.4 (88) def by Fish Creek 14.18 (102)

A REPLAY of last year’s preliminary final showed these two teams again have a lot to offer in season 2024.

Fish Creek, as reigning premier, were well aware of the Blues desire to be a contender, but to do that they first had to show they were worthy against the very best.

Worthy they were, win they did not.

The final scoreboard read Fish Creek 14.18 (102) to Thorpdale 14.8 (92) in spud country.

Kangaroos coach Jarrod Walker said it was a good litmus test for his troops.

“A finals like intensity all day, with Thorpdale having all the answers for most of the day. We had to throw the magnets around a bit in the second half and could finally get some momentum going our way,” he said.

“Some huge efforts across the board, backs, midfielders and forwards standing up in some key moments in the last quarter.”

The cream rises to the top under pressure, and no one questions the quality of the Kangaroos, but you also get the feeling teams will continue to come for the reigning premier in the coming months.

Thorpdale coach Jason Winderlich was circumspect in his assessment.

“As Luke Beveridge said ‘it’s hard to feel like a winner when you don’t win on the scoreboard’, but I felt like we had a win against Fish Creek without getting the four points,” he said.

“Really proud of the playing groups effort for the first 90 minutes of football with nine senior players out. To give ourselves a chance against the reigning premier was great to watch.

“Fish Creek’s last 20 minutes of football was pure class though as we just ran out of legs.”

The match, one of the best of the season, was a great precursor to what might be expected later in the year.


Morwell East 25.19 (169) def Hill End 1.4 (10)

A FORTNIGHT of heartbreaking losses in winnable games had overshadowed Morwell East’s impressive start to the season.

In the blink of an eye, the Hawks had fallen from first to fifth, and were in no mood for further disappointment as they took on Hill End at Ronald Reserve.

Morwell East did what was expected, winning by north of 150 points, 25.19 (169) to 1.4 (10).

Hawks coach Paul Henry acknowledged a few factors in his summation.

“We faced an undermanned Hill End outfit,” he said.

“Solid effort from our boys. Nice to get back on the winners list. Two week off for us. Bit of a freshen up before a tough middle part of the season, starting with Mirboo North.”

For the Rovers on the other hand, a hard season gets harder every week, and when they say ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, Hill End knows more than most this is the case.

Coach Ambu Uliando again conceded a tough day at the office.

“It was another tough day for us. We had eight senior players injured or unavailable which tested our depth, but to the boys credit they kept pushing hard,” he said.

Hill End’s best chance of victory for the season might just be a week away, as they now prepare to get themselves up for the clash against Mirboo North.

How quickly the tide can turn – those two clubs were preparing to play in a Grand Final just three years ago.


Mirboo North 2.9 (21) def by Yinnar 17.12 (114)

AS the Tigers continue their rebuild both on and off the field, the necessity to insure the playing group remains positive moving forward is sure to be a priority.

Mirboo North was given little chance of success against a steamrolling Yinnar side, but the Tigers too, have been where the Magpies currently are, and know with patience, their time will come.

That said, a loss of this magnitude still hurts, especially at home, Yinnar winning 17.12 (114) to Mirboo North 2.9 (21).

The Magpies showed the sort of killer instinct that really good sides have, much to the delight of coach Sam McCulloch.

“In a match that started off with plenty of speed on the ball and big contests all over the field, it took us until the second half to kick clear,” he said.

“Mirboo North rolled players back into defensive 50 to make life hard for our forwards to really gain the upper hand. Once we controlled the footy, we started to find great avenues to goal. Good team performance against an opposition who wouldn’t lie down.”.

The Tigers continue to show moments of what is required, but as is the case when a rebuild is in place, there are always a few renovations to be made along the way.

“It was another tough day. Yinnar are a strong side, have a brilliant mix of youth and experience. We showed some good signs, but skill errors in crucial parts of the ground undid some hard work,” Mirboo North coach Damien Turner said.


Stony Creek 11.8 (74) def by Boolarra 12.8 (80)

IN many ways this clash loomed as something of a final given the victor would stay in the race for contention at season’s end.

For the loser, just staying in touch with the top six would be a challenge in itself given the quality of teams above.

Both teams had their chances in this game, but it was the visiting Demons that made the most of theirs, winning 12.8 (80) to 11.8 (74).

Boolarra coach Brendan Mason said it was a bruising encounter.

“It is good to be back on the winners list. It was a physical game and both teams had their moments so really glad we were able to come out on top,” he said.

The precious premiership points are invaluable to Boolarra, who despite still being two games from the top six, can genuinely see the chance of climbing the ladder in the weeks ahead.

For Stony Creek, the mountain has just gotten higher, and although not unclimbable, it is becoming very dangerous.

Lions coach Chris Verboon said it would be back to the drawing board looking for answers.

“Frustrating month for us with four games we could have won,” he lamented.

“Boolarra is another game that got away. Our midfield was on top most of the day but our structure around the ground fell away at times. We had our chances but we just can’t put teams away late in games.”


Newborough 11.12 (78) def Tarwin 10.3 (63)

AS each week passes, you get the feeling the pieces of the Newborough puzzle are starting to form a picture that will please coach Craig Skinner.

The Bulldogs welcomed an enthusiastic Tarwin side to the Kennel, knowing full well the Sharks arrived with a goal to cause a major upset.

An upset wasn’t to be, although Tarwin proved their worth, in a final scoreboard of Newborough 11.12 (78) to the Sharks 10.3 (63).

Bulldogs coach Craig Skinner happy to bank another four points.

“We played an undermanned Tarwin side who played a high risk, high pressure brand of footy and executed it well,” he said.

“It was an even contest all day and could have gone either way. Extremely proud of the 21 Newborough players that put on the jumper today.

“Was a great result and a great reward for effort for first gamers Zach Daley and Jack Edebohls.

“It will be our turn next week to bring that same style when we travel to Meeniyan to take another team head on before the bye.”

Tarwin proved on the weekend that they can match it with the contenders, and with some minor adjustments sprinkled with a little luck, their season could change very quickly.

“Coming into the game, we had six out from last week and three late withdrawals due to sickness,” coach Jason Kennedy said.

“It was a huge effort to continue to fight the game out, having no bench in the last quarter also gave us that extra challenge to navigate.

“Although we didn’t come away with the four points, I’m extremely proud of the boys and the perseverance they showed throughout.”


Toora 8.5 (53) def by MDU 16.10 (106)

THE visiting Demons arrived at the home of Toora under no illusions as to how dangerous this game was.

An improved Magpies outfit looking for another scalp, ideally that of MDU to add to their couple of early season victories, were keen to make a statement against a genuine finals contender.

MDU however proved superior, winning 16.10 (106) to 8.5 (53).

Demons coach Nathan Allen labelled it a competitive game.

“The weekend was a great contest with Toora in what were perfect conditions,” he said.

“We were able to really implement a few structural things we have been working on, so it was a successful day.”

Nothing is more pleasing than when the practice is executed as planned under match conditions. MDU continues to fly under the radar, currently sitting sixth but just one win from those teams on top.

The Magpies are improving every week, and there still remain periods in games that provide hope better times lay ahead.

“We learned on the weekend that when you allow sides to play the game on their terms, it will be a struggle,” Toora coach Jack Weston said.

“We must respond next week against Boolarra and play with some freedom.”


FOSTER had the bye.