And just like that we're into the second half of the MGFNL home and away season this coming weekend, and how the leagues top six may look like in a couple of months time is still a long way from being clear, with eleven of the thirteen teams still believing they will be one of the half a dozen clubs that will have earned their spot.
Boolarra v Morwell East Boolarra, last week won one they could easily have lost, Morwell East last week lost one they could easily have won, both scenarios now setting up an intriguing clash this weekend between tenth placed Boolarra and Morwell East who sit in eighth. The Demons are starting to play like they believe, the Hawks need a win to believe, both coaches will be pushing all their chips in for round ten.. Tony Giardina, Boolarra coach “ We claimed the four points last week but it is another big game in Morwell East this week and that will sort out where we are" A win keeps the Demons in touch, a loss has them starting to drift from the coveted top six places, for the Hawks a win could have them rising as many as two or three spots on the ladder a loss has them dropping a position or even two. Paul Henry, Morwell East coach “Last week was a devastating loss for us and now we have Boolarra away this week, it is an absolute must win for us." Both teams have shown in their best football, that they are capable of winning this encounter, and therein lies the challenge for both, who is going to step to the plate and take charge of what is essentially a finals game in June? Fish Creek v Mirboo North They say a week is a long time in football, and that one week has meant the world to Mirboo North, the Tigers pulling off one of the shocks of the season when they knocked off the reigning premiers just seven days ago. That one result not only raised the eyebrows of most of the MGFNL coaches, it also has the Kangaroos unsure of what they might expect this weekend after coming off a bye. Jarrod Walker, Fish Creek coach “ It was a nice weekend to have a week off and freshen up. It will be a big game again this week against Mirboo north, coming off a good win. With the ladder being so close you just can’t afford to take any games lightly." The Tigers victory over the Magpies just a few days ago, will have them travelling to the home ground of the Kangaroos will a certain degree of confidence, and it will also be an opportunity to show last weeks win wasn't just a "flash in the pan" and that they are ready to rise to something like their best. Peter Mongta, Mirboo North coach “Last week the playing group bounced back after a great week on the training track, but this week we travel to Fish Creek FC who come off a bye so they will be fresh and ready to go." This writer hasn't done the statistics on how teams fare coming off a bye, but Fish Creek's form prior to the break was extremely good and puts them in a prime position to put a stop to the Tigers' run quickly. Newborough v MDU As good as the Bulldogs were in their defeat of an improving Thorpdale last week, you suspect that an even greater challenge may await the unbeaten Newborough when they host a most impressive MDU this weekend. The Demons are one of those teams that just go about their business doing what needs to be done, with little fuss or fanfare, but halfway into the season they sit second on the MGFNL ladder.....how did that happen? Nathan Allen, MDU coach “ We head to Newborough this week so we are really looking forward to seeing how we stack up against them!” There is no doubt the unbeaten Bulldogs are both the measuring stick of the competition, and the hunted, and being hunted doesn't faze coach Craig Skinner who sees the challenge as one that can bring the best out in his side. Craig Skinner, Newborough coach “ Looking forward to playing MDU Saturday, they are another big improver and I know it will be another close one and that’s the strength of the competition we are” Isn’t that the truth, the Bulldogs deservingly sit atop the MGFNL ladder but below them is a pack of more than five clubs all trying to take their scalp.
Stony Creek v Foster Football can be the cruelest of games and Stony Creek have felt that more than most over the past month, the Lions losing by margins of twenty one, a single point, and twenty four, all three of which were winnable games now have Chris Verboon's men under pressure and facing one of the leagues powerhouses all in the same week. Chris Verboon, Stony Creek coach “ Foster this week will be another big challenge at home. They are coming off a big win against Toora and no doubt they will be hard to beat." The Tigers have always been good, they are getting better and pleasingly for the coach, they are starting to share the load. Sam Davies, Foster coach "Last week we had eleven or twelve different goal kickers and were ruthless, it was something we haven't been for a long time." Foster who sit fourth on the MGFNL. might be a bridge too far for Stony Creek, but if the Kangaroos are going to start an unlikely charge up the ladder it will require an unlikely victory this weekend. Toora v Tarwin As tough as it has been for Toora, you would not expect this weekend to be any less challenging for the Magpies as they welcome a Tarwin side seemingly starting to gather some momentum into their season. The Sharks have found ways to win, despite some frustrations that will remain a "secret" at this stage, but it is fair to say that if "things" start to go the visitors way, you might also see the sort of football that was a signature of their 2022 season, and that prospect is sure to have those teams currently above them worried about being able to keep their spots. Troy Hemming, Tarwin coach “This week we have Toora at Toora, and it's never easy going down there and I personally also have huge respect for jack! but we need to keep our momentum!" That momentum is sure to cause some massive problems for the Magies, even on their home ground, as much as Toora can produce patches and even quarters of good football, it will take a full four for them to provide a scare to the visiting Sharks. Jack Weston, Toora coach “Tarwin this week will provide a difficult challenge, they are a side that’s great at the contest and well structured behind the ball.” Stranger things have happened in football than Toora claiming victory, but at the moment I just can't think of one...hang on Mirboo North beat Yinnar only last week!! Yinnar v Hill End You would think that Yinnar coach Daniel Taylor might still be scratching his head after his Magpies side suffered the most surprising of defeats at the hands of Mirboo North just seven days ago. Just how the reigning premiers respond to that loss, is sure to tell us a lot about what they offer in the second half of this season and beyond, and one suspects that Hill End will pay the biggest price for that question.. Daniel Taylor, Yinnar coach “Last week we got outplayed and outworked for much of the game which was disappointing, now it's Hill End this week and it's another challenge that we're looking forward to. They seem to be improving every week so we can't afford to take them lightly.” The Rovers could probably think of better things to be doing that travelling to Yinnar to take on the reigning premiers on the rebound from a shock loss just a week ago. Mike Santo, Hill End Coach "Last week we gave ourselves a chance to win at three quarter time but Boolarra’s best players really stood up when it counted and now we have a.big test this week against the reigning premiers I’m backing that a Rovers win is getting close, it is unlikely to be this week, but it will happen and will likely have a huge impact on the ladder when it does.