Mirboo North v Hill End
It may have only been round one, but Hill End achieved something pretty special when they had their first win at Mirboo North since 1999.
The top two sides of the 2021 season, both felt as though there was some unfinished business after the abandonment of finals gave neither a chance for a run at a premiership.
2022 is without question seen as an opportunity for both clubs to once again put themselves in a position to achieve the ultimate in the MGFNL The Tigers at home were always going to be a tough outfit to beat, as they are, on their unique home ground, but also given the visiting Rovers team was still a little off full strength. The Rovers claimed every inch they could, a five point quarter time margin extending to an impressive nineteen point lead at half time with the likes of Aaron Fawcett and Ambu Uliando leading the way. That "edge" the visitors had was built on each quarter with the result being a comfortable but impressive thirty four point victory.
Hill End coach, Mike Santo "well it wasn't a tortuous thrashing like we've received since 1999 but it was a hard fought contest, we have a heap of respect for coach Josh Taylor and Mirboo North so we are really pleased to come away with the win .We were able to break them open with quality ball use and we won the contest in the middle, and start to also dominate clearances and lock the ball in our end, We look forward to continued improvement and getting some guys back in the next couple of weeks." Josh Taylor, Mirboo North coach, "it was a tough, hot game, both sides had some key players out and we went in very short (height wise) we had some real momentum at times and held for a period, but Hill End controlled it for longer periods, I was really impressed with our kids they had a red hot crack, our senior leaders are just a touch under done and it hurt us in the last, but it's onward and upwards from here and we're looking forward to Newborough, who got off to a flyer - already its a huge game for our season" The League promised a quality competitive season and every early indication is that is exactly what we are going to get. Foster v Fish Creek Although there have already been some new rivalries created since the merging of the Alberton league into the MGFNL, the "old" rivalries are still very much alive and they don't get any more intense than between these two great clubs. It appeared that Foster were going to kick their season off with a win at three quarter time when the Tigers led by some seventeen points, but Fish Creek staged a sensational surge in the final thirty minutes to steal a win by less than a kick in a terrific start to their season. There hadn't been a lot of news coming out of Foster in the off season, whereas Fish Creek have in fact managed to bring back a couple of homegrown footballers complimenting quite a number of juniors who were introduced to a "finals like" atmosphere to start their senior careers. Sam Davies, Foster coach, "Tough loss after leading all day. Just a lack of depth after a couple more late outs probably caught us in the end." Kicking for goal was probably the difference, with both sides having opportunities in the first half, but Fish Creek wasting many of those and trailing at the major break by fifteen points despite both teams hitting the scoreboard on eight occasions. In the third quarter, the visitors added another one goal and four behinds while the home side's accuracy of two goals from two attempts extended their lead to a healthy but not a match winning lead. Fish Creeks' ability to snatch a victory from what seemed defeat, is enough to suggest that the Kangaroos are the real deal once again in 2022. Boolarra v MDU
In the "Battle of the Demons" it was the home side that made the most of their opportunities and ground their way to a satisfying fifteen point victory. Boolarra certainly had some tongues wagging prior to the season starting, on the back of some impressive recruiting that included AFL premiership player Brent Guerra and NGFNL best and fairest Ricky Cochrance just to name a couple of almost a dozen new faces. MDU on the other hand decided to keep their focus on local juniors with the hope that some could be fast tracked into having a senior impact. The visiting Demons' younger players certainly would have learned a lot from the experience, wasted opportunities, probably the most obvious area of improvement. MDU coach Peter Harris "the boys battled well for most of the day, with our young kids showing the way, we controlled the footy in the first half but failed to apply scoreboard pressure, and Boolarra were able to to take some chances in the third and fourth being too strong in the end." Boolarra Coach, Tony Giardina "it was a tough game, MDU played all over us in the first half but their bad kicking for goal kept us in it, after half time the boys lifted and fought hard for the win" Both of these teams would have their sights set in climbing their way up into finals contention, and every win therefore is absolutely crucial, for Boolarra they will know exactly where they stand when they meet a quality Hill End outfit in the week after Easter, and for MDU, they will get their chance when they clash with Thorpdale. Newborough v Toora A statement was wanted to be made and indeed a statement was made by an impressive Newborough side, the Bulldogs cruising to a better than one hundred point victory, and in doing so, raising the eyebrows of many clubs in the MGFNL competition. New Coach Craig Skinner had been working on this week from as far back as July 2021, carefully selecting the players he wanted to be part of a culture at Newborough, a culture he knew had been successful previously at the Bulldogs. The visiting Toora team under new coach Matt Ponton, were hopeful they might be able to catch the home side off guard in round one and kick start a winning culture, but unfortunately for the Power it wasn't to be. Newborough coach, Craig Skinner "it was tight early in the perfect conditions and was going to come down to who could last the longest and have the least injuries, thankfully in the second half it was us. Experience of Webber down back and Jibba Ainsworth forward were good for us. Happy for a week off before taking on Mirboo Nth which will be compounded by them coming off a loss, not many sides are going to experience Mirboo North on the rebound so we will spend two weeks getting ready for that." It was a consistent, workmanlike performance by Newborough , who extended their lead at every break kicking four, six, five and five goals respectively in each quarter slowly pressing their opposition into submission. Toora coach, Matt Ponton " we played really good football in spurts, but unfortunately for not long enough, Newborough proved to be the fitter side and ran all over us in the second half, we have lots to work on but all the cobwebs and the realisation has set in for players that we must play for the full one hundred and twenty minutes...we will improve and be more competitive" Improvement is what we can expect, probably from both sides, which all points toa most enjoyable and competitive season. Thorpdale v Stony Creek Stony Creek kicked off their season with an emphatic thirty eight point win, a victory that was as good as it gets for the Lions. Winning has been like gold for these two teams in recent years so the chance to open the account in the 2022 season with four premiership points was seen as crucial by both. The Blues at home had been happy with their pre-season and appreciative of the numbers that had made the effort in the weeks and months leading up to this day. Equally, the Lions with some new faces, both junior and those more experienced had given the visitors the belief a win first up was most certainly possible. Stony Creek coach, Jai Acardi "it was a great start to our season for our boys at Thorpdale against some good opposition, after a really even first half we were able to pull away, egen though to their credit they pushed us to the end, the plasing for both our sides (seniors and reserves) is that it was our first real hit out of the season as two individual teams and although we took a while to gel once we got going we had some really good passages of play." Ray Pickering, Thorpdale coach,: "a very good, tight first half of footy but we cost ourselves a 2-3 goal lead at half time with some undisciplined acts. Second half we couldn’t sustain our structures & fitness allowing stony to get on top and run over us in the end ! Stony have recruited very well and are much improved from 2021 and will scare some good teams this year ! We have some positives to take out of the first half going into round two v MDU There is a long season that awaits both of these teams, but there's no question that they will be a headache for many opposition teams in 2022. Yinnar v Tarwin It was a terrific start to the season for Tarwin, managing to manufacture an eight point win away from home against a Yinnar side that prides itself on being hard to beat at any time let alone the first game of the year The Magpies like most, have set their sights on finals football once again in 2022, but also realise that the expected improvement by many teams in the competition will mean that playing at the pointy end of the season cannot be taken for granted. Yinnar coach, Daniel Taylor " our intensity was off early which put us on the back foot for most of the day, to be fair I thought we were lucky to be still in the game at three quarter time as Tarwin was clearly the better side, we rolled the dice in the dice and fought it out but came up short unfortunately, I was proud of the fight back but disappointed with how we started and now we have a big game in a fortnight against Morwell East" Tarwin, with new coach Troy Hemming at the helm had enjoying footy as a first priority with winning a very close second. " It was a great start by our full squad, very impressed with our new players coming into our club and our local veterans turning back the clock we showed great fight for four quarters, we trained our game plan all pre season and the boys stuck to it, Yinnar were a good outfit and kept coming all day and we wish them all the best for the season, but it was a team effort for Tarwin"
Tarwin will now meet fellow first round victors, Stony Creek wth both clubs wanting to make it two from two.