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Boolarra FNC

Half way!

The MGFNL finishes the first half of the season with all clubs having the benefit of a weekend off courtesy of the King's Birthday holiday just seven days ago.

With so many opportunities still available, it's right now that clubs will need to take their chances or else see their season slowly and painfully slip away.

Mirboo North v Morwell East

Every winning streak starts with just the one victory and Mirboo North would be more than satisfied with their win over Hill End just a fortnight ago.

However the Tigers were sent crashing back to earth on the weekend after their meeting with premiership contender Morwell East.

Morwell East 14-12-96 to Mirboo North 3-6-24.

The win wasn't as easy as the scoreline might indicate but it was a small step in the club's longer journey of being a real force at the commencement of finals, but between then and now, more good football is to be played."

Paul Henry, Morwell East coach "It was a tough old day at Mirboo. They made us earn it, that's for sure. After pretty much three weeks off, it was good to be back playing footy, and great to get the four points.

The match was always going to be a celebration of one of the clubs favourite sons, no matter the result, but even given the loss there were indeed moments that pleased the Tiger's coach.

Damian Turner, Mirboo North coach "Big day for us. We celebrated Shane Peter's 250th game and life membership. Our young squad came and gave their absolute all against a strong hard running Morwell East outfit. I feel we made it hard for them in patches of the game, which was really pleasing as we were pretty undermanned this week. In the end, their polish and class was too much."

The "off ground" progress by the Tigers is slowly taking place and a bye that they can now enjoy, gives the developing side a chance to reset, refresh and aim to take a few more steps forward before seasons end.

Toora v Foster

As much improvement as Toora have made in the 2024 season, the scalp of a finals contender still remains out of their grasp, their weekend match on their homeground against a quality opposition in Foster provided yet another opportunity to be rewarded for all of their hard work, but it was one that the Tigers were never going to give away easily.

Foster 11-11-77 to Toora 5-3-33.

The Tigers just going about their weekly business and getting the job done in workmanlike fashion, as they have for most of the year. 

Sam Davies, Foster coach "I’d be asking for my admission fee back if I were a spectator, that wasn’t pretty at all but sometimes you just have to win ugly. There are a few positives to take out of the game but generally it’ll be a box ticked and quickly move on.”

Foster, despite winning ugly, appears as though they are on the right track, and there is also evidence that the Tigers can lift to a higher level when required, and it will be required in the weeks ahead.

Toora on the other hand showed signs at times but those times were far too short and also too few.

Jack Weston, Toora coach "It was Frustrating to again be in the game for periods and not get the reward for effort. Enough moments to suggest the next win is not too far away.”

Finals might be on the cards for Foster and not likely for Toora, but the Magpies can and most likely will enjoy some small wins along the way.

Thorpdale v Hill End

Prior to round nine, the Blues had found themselves in dangerous territory, one game outside of the League's top six and with very little room for error.

Playing the winless Hill End was possibly a godsend in some ways as the home side needed both premiership points and percentage to keep their dream of a finals rush alive.  

The Blues secured both, and in doing so putting their season back on track.

Thorpdale 22-14-146 to Hill End 5-5-35.

Ray Pickering, joint Thorpdale coach "it was nice to be back on the winners list after a tough last month, playing some of our best team football of the season so far ! Massive week for the club this week travelling to a firing Morwell East on their deck, hopefully our boys can continue to improve going into the second half of the season and put some pressure on some teams in the top six."

The Blues are sure to force their way into the top six, or at least die trying, but one thing last year's finalists may have already realised is that this year the competition is a lot hotter than last, and they will need to be at their best to achieve a favourable result.

Finals may not be on the Agenda for the Rovers, but that isn't to say that they can still salvage something out of the year, certainly those at the top are liking at least some of what they see.

Ambu Uliando, Hill End coach "On the weekend the second quarter let us down, other than that we played three competitive quarters. and now I look forward to playing at home next week."

Hill End host Tarwin, a team they will believe that they can beat to bring up their first win of the season, but believing it and achieving it can sometimes be worlds apart, the weekend will tell the story.

Newborough v Boolarra

It was Newborough's big chance to put an opposition side to the sword and derail another teams quest for finals as they welcomed an enthusiastic Boolarra side to the Kennel.

The Demons started the game only one victory behind the sixth place Bulldogs, knowing full well that a win against the odds would be the perfect platform from which to surge even further up the ladder, and although there was a time an upset may have appeared on the cards, it was the home side that achieved what they had set out to do. 

Newborough 13-9-87 to Boolarra 7-8–50.

Craig Skinner, Newborough coach "Boolarra was another good contest for us in a game where both sides had see-sawing control of the game. Was happy with how we were playing even though the scoreboard wasn’t ticking over to show that. Pat Charles and Brendan Mason said hello at the start of the game and shook hands at the end with 75 touches between them. Brendan being awarded the Rod Taylor medal.”

The Bulldogs, certainly are not breaking any records or causing any headlines as they did in the two previous seasons, cruising through the year only to fall short on the most important days two years in a row, but you can't help but be impressed with their resilience and ability to put themselves in the running for a third "shot at the stumps".

Brendan Mason, Boolarra coach "The weekend was another game where we were in, until three quarter time and then fell away. Newborough are well structured and well drilled and that showed as the game went on."

Boolarra are but one of a handful of teams, so very close to hitting that tipping point where they will start to win those "50/50" games and when they do there is no question the Demons will be causing more and more headaches for opposition sides. 

Tarwin v Yinnar

It was Tarwin's turn to step up to the plate in the hope of being able to knock off an in-form Yinnar side.

The Sharks, well rested, well coached and on their home deck were hopeful of inflicting a rare loss on the visiting Magpies.

What was witnessed however was a classy combination of Magpies that used the opportunity to fine tune what has already been an impressive first half of the year. 

Yinnar 8-5-53 to Tarwin 2-6-18.

The Magpies may well have their sights set on a change of scenery in 2025, but they also need to be careful of not taking their eye of what is required in a very hot competition in 2024.

Sam McCulloch, Yinnar coach "Very happy with the contribution from right across the board. We managed to get a handy buffer by half time. Tarwin got on top in the third quarter but didn’t capitalise on there inside 50’s. We were happy with the way we responded in the last and ran the game out well.”

The Magpies indeed have managed to do that far more times than opposition sides would like to concede, that is be threatened for periods within a game, but still have the maturity, even within a young group to compose themselves and go again.

Jason Kennedy, Tarwin coach "The boys battled hard all day in regards to effort. After losing Matt Williams in the warm up and having no rotations in the second half it was always going to be a tough game. We gave it a red hot crack in the 3rd quarter but couldn’t convert our chances and inside 50s. When playing against a top team you need to take the opportunities Yinnar was consistent all day and really run away with it in the last quarter.”

The Sharks are starting to lose touch with the positions on the ladder they have had  their eye on, but it only takes two or three weeks of success in such an even competition and a club's outlook and possibilities can quickly change.

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