HOW much and yet how little changes in North Gippsland football.

While Round 12 returned a few eyebrow-raising results, and one especially astonishing performance, by and large it was another concerning weekend featuring lopsided margins.

The top of the table clash between Woodside and Traralgon Tyers United all but reconfirmed what has already been generally accepted in most league circles, that it will take something drastic for either of those two sides not to make it to a second consecutive Grand Final.

Both teams are three games clear on top of the ladder, with the Wildcats holding prime position for now, despite losing at the weekend.

At the other end of the scale, concerns are surely heightened by the sight of the bottom three teams being the same bottom three teams from last year, and the year before that.


Woodside 10.7 (67) def by TTU 14.7 (91)

IS history about to repeat itself?

TTU moved to equal first on the ladder following victory over Woodside.

Just six points separated the teams, before the visitors kicked five goals to two in the final term to win 14.7 (91) to 10.7 (67).

Up until then, the match had everything one would expect from the two best teams in the competition, and spectators were treated to a contest reflecting this.

The result was the Bombers’ best result for the year, and puts them in prime position mentally and mathematically to complete the task of winning back-to-back flags.

Jye Neilson kicked four goals for the winners, and received good support from veteran Guy Sinclair, Zach Kilgower, Oscar Aliotta, Beau White and Hayden Willaton.

Best for Woodside was Jeremy Morgan, Adam Janssen, Cameron Whiteoak, Ben Johnson, Brody Stainer and Jon Fythe.

Both sides will likely take positives and mental notes out of the game, and look forward to a rematch in September.

The Wildcats were without gun midfielder Mark Collison, while TTU still has a few players to return, including key forward Caleb Michie.

Collison might be counting his lucky stars after his decision to leave the post of Warragul Industrials coach late last year, following some wild allegations involving the club’s finances came to hand recently.

While Collison’s football smarts are well credentialed, his foresight to get out when he did arguably places his intellect even higher.

Adding another layer to the story, the man who was parachuted in at the last minute to coach the Dusties, Michael Duncan, coached Woodside in the previous four years.

Granted football and politics never make a good mix, Duncan has perhaps suffered more injustices than most coaches ever will. He was let go by TTU despite taking the team to consecutive finals series, and fought off no shortage of debate surrounding player points and salary cap concessions during his time at Woodside.

Put the Dusties experience on top of it, and you have the makings of a decent movie.


Churchill 17.8 (110) def Yarram 10.13 (73)

YOU can’t buy experience. Especially more than 40 years of it.

Brendan Holt defied all issues related to ageism at the weekend, to lead Churchill to an incredible victory over Yarram.

The Cougars, who before last weekend looked on track to miss the finals for the first time in some 30 years, kept their season alive with a 17.8 (110) to 10.13 (73) win at Gaskin Park.

Taking centre stage was Holt. Now closer to 50 than he is to 40, the Cougars veteran kicked an astonishing 10 goals on his home deck.

Taking on opponents most of whom weren’t even born when he started playing senior football, the old timer showed he absolutely still has it.

Holt’s effort saw the Cougars jump to a five goal to one head start at quarter time. While Yarram reduced the margin to 17 points at the final change of ends, there was simply no stopping the man in the number 36 jumper wearing the blue and gold.

Holt was a clear best-on-ground, and was joined by his son Kurt among the most prominent.

Others to play well were Bailey Flanigan, Nathan McRae, Joey Whykes and coach Jordan Fenech.

By all reports, Fenech had planned for Holt to play in defence this season, but with key forwards Ben Kearns out, Blake Slater needed at both ends and Chris Wagman moving to Morwell East, the goal square needed to be occupied by someone.

Holt has taken to this role seamlessly, and appears to be getting even better with age, if that is even possible.

He has been named in the best more times this year (nine) than he has in the previous three combined.

Perhaps lost in the Holt Show was the fact Yarram’s Josh Swift kicked his 1000th career goal.

The moment came through what was some pretty sloppy defence, leaving Swift unmanned in the goal square after a high ball came in. The opportunistic Swift pounced, snapping through one of his two majors.

The 1000 total was made up of goals kicked by Swift for Yarram in both seniors and reserves, and a few from his stints at Yinnar and MDU, as well as Highett in the Southern Football League.

Boadie Motton, Kayleb Pearce, Liam Bentley, Tate Chisholm, Jacob Davis and Matt Clavarino were best for Yarram.

Remarkably, the Demons are still equal-third on the ladder, despite dropping games to Rosedale and now Churchill.


Rosedale 7.9 (51) def by Heyfield 15.10 (100)

WILL this be the start of Heyfield’s run?

The Kangaroos bounced back into the top five at the weekend, trading places with Rosedale after winning 15.10 (100) to 7.9 (51).

Making the trip to Rosedale presented an initial challenge for Heyfield, although by halftime they had the game under control for the most part.

A six goal to two third quarter extended the lead to 51 points at the final break, which was virtually the margin when fulltime was called.

Ironically, Victoria’s wintry weather carried benefits for Heyfield, as the Gippsland Power game against Tasmania was cancelled due to the Tasmanian team being unable to fly across Bass Strait, meaning Asher Eastham became available for his home club.

Eastham was among the best for the Kangaroos, along with Max Van Der Zwart, Kyle Graham, Kail Hole, Tyson Graham and Isaac Wheeler.

Luke Stuckey, Blake Safstrom, Declan Barnett, Caleb Moore, Max Lazzaro and Spencer Fox were best for Rosedale.

On the surface at least, there might not be much more room for improvement for the Blues, who were at 44 out of 45 player points (admittedly a few of those players were Rosedale juniors who automatically attract three points each).

Heyfield by contrast only used 26/40, with 21 out of the 22 one pointers.

The Kangaroos had four players kick three goals, and could still have playing coach Leigh Brown to come back and provide even more goal scoring power.

Heyfield is now fifth on the ladder with 24 points, equal with Rosedale, but could easily get to 10 wins in the next five weeks to claim the double chance.

The Kangaroos have a very easy run home, playing Glengarry, and Gormandale, as well as Yarram and Churchill, who could both be playing for their seasons by then.


Glengarry 18.23 (131) def Gormandale 7.5 (45)

GLENGARRY’S win was great for only one club.

The Magpies sang the song for just the second time this season, after beating Gormandale 18.23 (131) to 7.5 (47).

The home side put up seven goals in the first quarter, and were rarely challenged from there, although the Tigers did manage four goals of their own in the second.

One of Glengarry’s great servants and survivor of the 2013 premiership, Ben Truin, kicked seven goals in a best-on-ground performance.

Jack Burgess added four of his own, while Callum Mitchell, Cassidy Bartley, Tom Harris, Jordan Thomas and Mitch Harris were prominent.

Kodie Owen, Tristan Salerno, Tyler Kanara, Chris Potalej, Hayden Richards and Isaac Copeland battled hard for Gormandale.

While the Magpies had a deserved victory to celebrate, if there is to be any changes in local footy moving forward, the fact the second-last team is beating the last team by 84 points is surely a red flag.


Cowwatt 3.7 (25) def by Sale City 27.16 (178)

ANOTHER red flag might have presented itself in Cowwarr.

The Saints were completely wiped off the park by Sale City to the tune of 153 points, 27.16 (178) to 3.7 (25).

And Sale City are coming seventh.

The Bulldogs do admittedly have a host of key players who work offshore, and some of them were available at the weekend.

Kane Martin is one, and he was best-on-ground, kicking four goals. Fynn Read filled his boots with six, and Mitch Evans did similar with five.

Others to play well were Kaden McCulloch, Cooper Whitehill, Hudson Tollner, Jayden Allison and Brad McKay.

Allison and McKay were playing just their fifth and fourth game respectively for the year, and the Bulldogs will be hoping to have them available from here on in.

Sale City is only one game outside the top five, and is looking the side most likely to displace either Yarram or Heyfield when the final five is sorted.

For Cowwarr meanwhile, this was arguably their biggest step backwards this season.

The offseason recruiting drive that netted gun forward Keenan Hughes from Yallourn Yallourn North and midfielder Haydn Hector from Traralgon has provided some help, but with only two wins so far this season, delivery has perhaps not met expectation.

In total fairness to Hughes, he cannot do much more than what he has – 47 goals in 11 games, while Hector has only got on the park six times.

Hector battled hard at the weekend, as did Robbie Farnham, Sean Alexander, Matt Leicester, Brady Hood and Lee Bourke.


YALLOURN Yallourn North had the bye.