Round nine marks the halfway mark of the season and although not all sides have met at this stage, it does give us an indication of just where most teams sit, that said, things can change in the blink of an eye, so you will be well advised to keep both eyes open.
Thorpdale v Newborough.
Unquestionably the match of the round, and quite possibly the match of the season to date. Thorpdale are the story of the year to date, which is hard to say given that their opponent this week remains unbeaten, but the cellar dwellers of years gone by, have somehow managed to win five games in a row and in doing so set up a mouth watering clash with the Goliath of the competition, Newborough.
“Jason Winderlich, Thorpdale coach “ This week we have one of the toughest challenges in country football facing the undefeated Newborough. They will be fresh off the bye and keen to make a statement. In a true David versus Goliath battle, we will give it a crack and test ourselves against the best"
and it will take their best too, as good as the Blues have been, they will somehow have to find a way to be even better, harder, faster, more relentless than they have already showed they are.
Craig Skinner, Newborough coach ”We’ve won the last five, so has Thorpdale, we were where they are now , last year. it’s exciting for the players, coach and the town. Thorpy have the best forward, good mids and a backline with belief in themselves. I'm looking forward to seeing whose rooms roaming Popplestone ends up in after the game."
The writer "roaming Popplestone" will be happy to be in either room at game's end, the only wish is that the clash draws the communities of both Thorpdale and Newborough to support two teams deserving of a big crowd. Foster v Toora Toora may seemingly be a little way off being able to turn the tables on a side like Foster, but don't tell that to the Magpies, who believe they are capable of causing an upset to one of the leagues finals contenders. Jack Weston, Toora coach “ last week was another step in the right direction, our stoppage work was great and effort from the whole team was up. We now have Foster this week, off the bye, and it will be another good test of our improvement. If we keep chipping away a win won’t be far off.": As significant as an unlikely victory would be for Toora, a loss would be devastating for the Tigers as they currently sit with a handful of teams vying for limited positions inside the leagues top six. Sam Davies, Foster coach “ It was a bye week for us in round eight and now we have a home game against Toora this week coming, it’s always their grand final playing us so we are expecting a big contest especially with the best player in the comp coach Jack and his new sidekick Josh. Is it the Toner Cup? " There is some good light hearted banter between both teams, but make no mistake as the siren sounds and the ball is bounced (or thrown up) the focus will be the footy and winning. Hill End v Boolarra As we hit the halfway mark of the year, the winless Hill End might sit at the bottom of the ladder, but there is no doubt whatsoever that on their ground they will give themselves a chance of getting their first victory against Boolarra. Mike Santo, Hill End coach “I saw some encouraging signs last week, our midfield group is really starting to gel which is great and gave us a chance for our forwards to have one on ones. basic skill errors are really our worst enemy at the moment and ruining any momentum we build during play.” Their opponent, last week registered a much needed win, and for the finalists of 2022, stringing together some more "w"s is crucial, if the Demons are to start a late season push towards the top. Tony Giardina, Boolarra coach “It was good to get back on the winners list last week with three quarters of reasonable footy." The Demons are just short of a pass mark at the halfway mark, but another win this weekend, would have them in sight of those at the top of the class, and a couple of wrong moves from any one of those, would leave the door ajar for an unlikely opportunity to burst into class and cause a scene. MDU v Stony Creek As respectable as the performances have been by Stony Creek in the past fortnight, on both occasions the Lions have walked away with nothing to show, and in as tight a competition as this one is, that can and will prove to be costly Chris Verboon, Stony Creek coach “ Last week was another game that we let slip. Inaccuracy in front of goal killed us again. It was pleasing to see our boys back up a strong performance, I’m confident if we keep playing our brand of footy the wins will come. We head down the road to MDU next week to take on another in form team. Stony creek versus MDU is a big rivalry game that gives the winner the local bragging rights." MDU, have been workmanlike in their efforts this year, doing what needs to be done on more occasions than not, and commendable even in their losses, showing all the signs of an honest team, that is on the edge of creating something special, but all that said, this week and the month ahead will make it very clear just where the Demons sit. Nathan Allen, MDU coach “We host Stony Creek who have been very competitive and probably unlucky not to get a win over some of the in form teams in the comp. We will need to play our best footy to get over them next week. We have a tough patch coming up now with stony competing as well now., and we know there are not many easy games in this competition." A win for the Demons keeps those six or seven teams just below them at arm's length, a win for Lions gives them a chance to rip that arm off!! Mirboo North v Yinnar It is going to be an interesting clash of emotions at this weekends match between Mirboo North and Yinnar on the Tigers home ground. With "Taylors" on both sides, and a celebration that will certainly mean some mixed emotions. Peter Mongta, Mirboo North coach “ This week we come up against the reigning premiers in Yinnar, an occasion which will also see our 2013 premiership reunion team that Daniel Taylor was a part of and now coaching Yinnar FC so we look forward to a big day on our home deck against a quality top side." So the coach of the Magpies, is in the position where he might even be able to celebrate even in a loss ,past premiership team mates as happy to catch up with "Tac" Taylor as they will be, will no doubt be hoping it's on the back of a Tigers win. Daniel Taylor, Yinnar coach “iI was really happy to get the win in what was another full team performance last week, but Mirboo North this week up there is always a big game, they play the ground well so we will have to be at our best to get the result." The Magpies are possibly at their strongest at the moment so as tough as the Tigers can be on their home ground, they will need to produce something extra special in front of past premiership players on the sidelines to upset the visiting Yinnar, but what better day to do it than this saturday. Morwell East v Tarwin Morwell East started the season with a bang winning their first four, before three losses in succession had the Hawks needing last weeks bye as a way to regroup and gather themselves before another assault that will keep them in touch with the top half of the ladder through the second part of the home and away season. Currently seventh, but just one win from third, means another win at home can and will have a significant effect on their season, but it's a position that their opponents are also in. Troy Hemming, Tarwin coach “This week we go to Morwell East, we know it is a huge chance for us to catch up with the league leaders on the ladder!" Paul Henry, Morwell East coach “Before the bye we had a loss, but there was really good signs shown compared to the previous couple of weeks. the bye last week and now we have Tarwin at home." Both coaches, short and succinct about what lies ahead, but also both have been around long enough to know just how important getting the premiership points on saturday is. Coaches and players often reflect back on games during the season and wonder what if?, this is one of those defining games that will be reflected on by one team.