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Boolarra FNC

MGFNL Round 11

As the cold of winter starts to settle in, the resilience of the players also starts to be tested, the excitement felt at the start of the year is sprinkled with niggling injuries, training sessions are often in dark and wet conditions and the week ahead seems no easier than the week before.

Welcome to round eleven!

Fish Creek v Foster

If ever a contest was to fire up players, coaches and supporters it was to be this clash between two of the better footballing clubs in regional Victoria and two of the very best in the MGFNL.

The Tigers arrived ready to rumble and show the progress that they had made in recent months was enough to knock over the top of the table Kangaroos.

Fish Creek have always been good, and they had to be every bit as they have been plus a little more to hold off the visitors.

Fish Creek 5-6-36, five point winners over Foster 4-7-31.

The margin doing justice to a fiercely fought contest, where either side could have won, a series of lead changes throughout the afternoon adding to a finals like excitement. 

Jarrod Walker, Fish Creek coach “It was an epic game and despite being low scoring it was a finals like atmosphere. Really proud of our group to grit the teeth and not give up after Foster got on top in the third quarter. The game came to life in the last quarter with a couple of late lead changes and it was great to be on the right side when the siren sounded. Another great story in the fishy vs foster rivalry."

Scores were locked away at the first break, it was Fish Creek by a point at half time, before the Tigers led by eight at the end of the third quarter, and as disappointing as the result might have been, at the very least Foster can walk away knowing they have what is needed to take it up to the premiership favourites right to the very end.   

Sam Davies, Foster coach “It was a really good battle all day, we gave ourselves chances to win the game and led at crucial parts of the game. However, we just really let ourselves down by giving free kicks away, not creating repeat stoppage and reward in front of goal. It was good to see how we measured up against one of the league's best, I’m happy with a lot of areas, just not the result."

Whilst the result is not ideal, that resulted in Foster dropping from third to fourth, there remains plenty more opportunities to write some wrongs before second chances might not be available.  


Thorpdale v Mirboo North

It was a win or it was nothing for Thorpdale on the weekend, the closeness of the competition coupled with some heartbreaking close losses, meant that the Blues had no room for error if they were to secure their pre season goal of a back to back finals berth, it wasn't so  obvious from the first bounce that the Blues meant business but they eventually opened up their opposition for a comfortable six goal win.

Thorpdale 8-11-59 to Mirboo North 3-5-23.

Damian Turner, Mirboo North coach “Wet cold day at Thorpdale. But a great crowd for Ray Pickering’s 250th and past players day. We started really well, adjusted to the conditions early. Really pleased with our first half. Thorpy gained some momentum in the 3rd, owned the ball and capitalised when it counted. They will be ones to watch as they get some players back from injury in the back half of the season.

Jason Winderlich, Thorpdale coach “Tough conditions for footy but was a great day had by all at the footy club. As expected, Mirboo came out hard to try and ruin the day but we were able to adjust and get the game on our terms. For sponsors day, past players day and Ray Pickerings 250th, a win ensured a great atmosphere in the rooms after the win. Really looking forward to the week off for the boys to freshen up.”


Newborough v Stony Creek

Newborough had been good, but understood they needed to be better, Stony Creek had been  

fair and were desperately trying to be good.

The Bulldogs started round 11 in fifth position, two wins clear of the ninth placed Lions, knowing that another victory might be enough to kill off the visitors' season, and that is what they eventually achieved, but it wasn't without some early match anxiety for the home team.

Newborough 10-6-66 to Stony Creek 7-8-50.

The win gives the Bulldogs the all important four premiership points and at this stage of the season that remains crucial but adapting to the different conditions week to week will also become more and more important through winter.

Craig Skinner, Newborough coach “Wet heavy conditions have not been our strengths, a 350 game milestone for Dylan Zuidema meant the only win on offer was four points. Jibba Ainsworth had his own footy today and made it look dry. With four points banked we travel to the Toora for 4 more before our bye."

Newborough acknowledge their player's milestone games very well and winning them is also important for the very proud Bulldogs,

Stony Creek had their chance to play the role as a party pooper when they got within a kick late in the game, but in the end it was another close one that got away from the Lions.

Chris Verboon, Stony Creek coach “It was the first wet weather game for the year. We started really well. Using the short kicks and spreading well despite the weather. The second quarter we stopped our spread and played down the line, which favoured Newborough. We got within five points in the last quarter but couldn’t get over the line. I was happy with how we moved the footy in the conditions. We just need to do it for four quarters. 

That may well be the Lions chances of finals gone for 2024, unless from nowhere they can not only string four quarters together but also do it for multiple weeks in a row.


Tarwin v Morwell East

Tarwin were under no illusions as to the size of the struggle when they welcomed the inform and fourth placed Morwell East to their home ground on the weekend.

The Sharks, just a game behind those inside the top six, had set themselves to win one against the odds and in doing so shift to another gear with so many possibilities still ahead, however, what the Sharks were left with, was one that got away, with the visiting Hawks too good when they needed to be.

Morwell East 12-7-79 to Tarwin 5-14-44.  

The Hawks have a nice spread of talent within a group of players that can be moulded around both the opposition and also the playing conditions.

Paul Henry, Morwell East coach “Our small forwards and hard working mids were key in wet conditions at Tarwin on the weekend. It was at ight game, hard to get a run and carry going, but we found ways at times. It was nice to be accurate on goal this week. Same scoring shots after half time, we just managed to kick straighter."  

That has been the story of the year, not only for Morwell East but for a few other clubs at the top of the table, making the most of opportunities when they present and being cool under pressure, because the pressure is seemingly relentless week to week..

 

Jason Kennedy, Tarwin coach “Having to play another top three team in four weeks, we knew we would have to be switched on. At the start of the game we set ourselves a goal to play four quarters with confidence and I feel we did that. Unfortunately we didn’t maximise our chances in the forward half and as top teams do, Morwell countered and made us pay. We have taken a lot of positives from the game and will continue to look for ways to improve."

The Sharks are starting to lose touch with the bottom few clubs of the League's top six, somehow they need to find a way to reach the finish line first, and they need to do it very quickly. 


MDU v Hill End

MDU were probably never going to lose this one against the winless visitors in Hill End on the weekend, but as the season moves closer to the real deal, how sides win becomes a little more important as coaches prepare their sides for much more fierce competition.

The Rovers gave that to the Demons much earlier than what was expected, pushing the home side all the way

MDU 7-14-56 to Hill End 6-2-38.  

The result expected, the scoreline camouflaging a much closer game than anyone would have thought, and an obvious indication that Hill End are moving in the right direction and that the Demons still have some work to do.

Nathan Allen, MDU coach “We got the four points in tough, slippery conditions. Hill end made it difficult for us all day. They were very strong at the contest and their pressure forced a few errors. Still a lot to work on from our end in converting our opportunities."

Given their position on the MGFNL ladder, the Demons still have a little room and time to improve, but only just a little of each, as the pressure from teams below is still very much alive. 

Hill End on the other hand have all teams before them, but that sense that a win is getting closer is also starting to get stronger.

Ambu Uliando, Hill End coach “We put up our first four quarter effort for the year. Will never celebrate a loss but the coaching staff and Hill End spectators were very proud of the effort the boys showed."

The Hillsmen are a very tight group and that is obvious in their efforts in one of their most trying seasons, that in itself is a huge win for a club still searching for their first victory.


Yinnar v Boolarra

Yinnar have been on an upward trajectory for much of the season, a five point loss to Newborough in round two has now been followed by eight straight victories and a cosy top three spot on the MGFNL ladder.

The Magpies prepared for their weekend clash like they have any other, like a visiting side was trying to steal something that was theirs, and that was never going to happen.

  

Yinnar 13-9-87 holding tight to their winning run in overcoming Boolarra 3-7-25.

The Magpies proved to be a far superior side as the game went on, the home side embracing the tricky conditions. 

Sam McCulloch, Yinnar coach “It was a great response from our group after a fired up Boolarra started well. With the opposition playing a good brand of footy in the first quarter, it took until the quarter time break for our coaching group to present the areas that we were clearly not performing in for our group to respond positively. Once the second quarter began the group responded well implementing our expected structures and tactics. Then the score board started to tick along which was pleasing. 

As much as the Demons started well, the Magpies just had too many winners all over the ground and too many options for the visitors to counter, the heights and ability of ruckman Cjhris Witchell a major problem.

Brendan Mason, Boolarra coach - A bad day for us, we just didn't turn up in the second half, they played well and they've got good depth with some really good young players, the ground wasn't ideal but their ruck was dominant and we didn't have any answers."

Boolarra find themselves amongst a handful of teams that have been on the wrong side of some close results and at the end of the day, those losses start to add up to the point you cannot determine your desired destiny.





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