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Boolarra FNC

MGFNL Round 5

Round five in the MGFNL, appears to be much like those of the first four weeks, with a majority of the contests capable of going either way, but with victory also being absolutely crucial, there was little doubt we were always going to be treated to some first class football.

Morwell East v Fish Creek

Without question the match of the round, was between the only unbeaten side of 2024, Morwell East, playing host to the 2023 premiers Fish Creek.

The Hawks had gained an impressive pass mark just the week prior against Newborough, but were under no illusions as to the task at hand on the weekend.

The reality is that they are where they want to be, even if falling agonisingly close on the weekend, but defeated by Fish Creek, 11-7-73 to 11-10-77.

Jarrod Walker, Fish Creek coach “A really good win, one of the better home and away wins to be apart of. With 2 players in hospital before half time, the odds were against us but everyone dug deep, cracked in and never gave up. Extremely pleased with how we slowed the game down late in the last quarter to take time off the clock. 

The Kangaroos just find a way to win in the big games and there was no bigger game so far this season than this one, and that’s why a loss hurts more than most for the Hawks.

Paul Henry, Morwell East “We didn't produce our best footy, but you have to put that down to Fish Creek not allowing us to. Our third quarter was our best quarter, it gave us a three goal lead heading into the last. A huge last quarter from Fish Creek saw the game slowly slip away. We had the opportunity to snatch it late in the last, but we just couldn't get it done.

It was a rare miss for the Hawks who suffered their first defeat of the year, but no doubt the home side would have walked away with plenty of learnings even though it was without the premiership points.

Hill End v Yinnar

Hill End's introduction to the season had been as tough as you could get, going from Newborough to Fish Creek and on the weekend having to front up again to Yinnar has the Rovers under no illusions as to how tough it is to run with the very best, week in and week out.

Their round five match against the visiting Magpies went as most expected, the visitors comfortable victors 18-18-126 to 2-5-17.

Sam McCulloch, Yinnar coach “Happy to come away with a good win in tricky conditions. Pleased with the even contribution from the 21. Hill End was hard and physical all day, which we handled well.”

As highlighted by the Magpies coach, the Rovers have the respect of their opponents each and every week despite being on the end of some pretty significant losses, the next step for coach Uliando is for his team to start to apply some genuine pressure on the scoreboard to compliment their efforts on the field.

Ambu Uliando - Hill End "coming up against a young, fast and fit Yinnar side we emphasised playing a tightly contested and physical contest. Despite the final margin the lads played with fire and aggression, hit the packs hard and tackled ferociously. We have lots of sore bodies and are looking forward to the week off.

Hill End can now look forward to that deserved weekend off, especially for the likes of Aaron Fawcett, Lachlan Wilson, Nic James, Liam Cimiskey, Rohan Marra and Harry Morre, all of whom performed so well against the odds.

The Rovers however will return after a round six bye to take on Morwell East, so there doesn't seem to be much to look forward to.

MDU v Foster

As players, coaches and supporters know, there are games that you have to win and there are games you just want to win.

This contest was for both reasons as two talented teams with a lot of history matched up desperate for the premiership points and the resultant ladder position.

The Tigers had managed to win three from their first four and the Demons two from the three they had played, so a victory meant plenty even at this early stage of the season, but it was Foster that got what they needed, 9-16-70 to MDU 8-5-53.

Sam Davies, Foster coach “We set the game up in the first half with seventeen scoring shots to three. It was really positive, but plenty of learnings to come out of it.

The win was an important one for the Tigers, who like a handful of others in the competition have their hands up for one of the positions towards the top of the MGFNL ladder.

MDU on the other hand find themselves in the mid section of the competition, with some work still to be done.

Nathan Allen, MDU coach, “Foster were too good for us on the weekend, they beat us around the ball, spread harder than us and moved the ball better than us. We were able to fight back late in the second half to make the scoreboard respectable but our run was left too late."

The Demons run on the weekend may have been too late, the run towards the finals however is still alive, but it is sure to take a little more than what was shown on the weekend.

Stony Creek v Tarwin

Two local rivals, both of whom were wanting to climb their way up the competition ladder, and both therefore desperate  for the premiership points, clashed in a match in which the victor would gain a significant advantage as the league quickly surges towards the mid way mark of the season.

The Lions at home had their chances, but in the end the home team fell short by just a couple of kicks.

Tarwin 7-7-49 to Stony Creek 4-16-40.

Chris Verboon, Stony Creek “A really disappointing loss for us this week. Kicking 16 points clearly hurts you in a low scoring game. Very scrappy contest and one that we had every chance to win.

Given that forecasting has indicated that there would likely be only one position available in the final six for one of these two sides, if any, the Sharks have taken their chance , with the Lions left rueing their sloppy kicking for goals.

Jason Kennedy - Tarwin coach

" a solid hard fought away win, on the weekend against Stony Creek, I'm really happy with the way our boys bounced back after last weeks loss,"

Stony Creek are far from dead and buried given they sit just one game from the top six, but there are currently another half a dozen teams in exactly the same position, so as much as the Lions loss was disappointing in may in fact turn out to be devastating, and that is exactly why every moment in a game, let alone the game itself means so much. 

Mirboo North v Newborough

The Tigers faced yet another of the toughest tests in the MGFNL on the weekend, having to host a talented Newborough side who themselves had come off a loss the week prior.

The Bulldogs were keen to bounce back quickly and that they did, in a very big way. 

Newborough 20-16-136 to Mirboo North 5-7-37.

Craig Skinner, Newborough coach “

I was in Adelaide for the weekend so after  a disappointing game against Morwell East it was good to get back on the winners list and retain the Ron Skinner Cup with assistant coaches Jack Hudson and Patt Frendo in charge for the day, doing a great job with an immediate response. Understanding Mirboo Nth’s position and injuries it was good to play 4 quarters of consistent footy and work on a few things. Nathan Whieldon got reward for persistent effort with 7.

The Bulldogs may have won the game comfortably, but their opponents have taken some solace in the fact there were small wins within the game that Coach Turner has highlighted to his team.

Damian Turner, Mirboo North coach “Sometimes It’s hard to find positives after a close to a one hundred point loss, but I was very proud today, at half time the game could have gone two ways, credit to our boys we came out and nearly won the quarter. We played the brand we have been showing in patches. It’s the little goals for us at the moment and I feel the scoreboard didn’t reflect our effort today. Craig has Newborough playing a great brand of footy. Credit to them- they were too good with dangerous players on every line."

 As good as the Bulldogs were and are likely to be, Coach Turner's acknowledgement of his team achieving the "little goals" highlights that his Tigers are on the right track, it may not be obvious as we speak, but the small steps forward will take them on a far more enjoyable journey in the future.

Toora v Thorpdale

It was only round five and already Toora had won as many matches this year, as they did in the entire 2023 season. 

All the Magpies needed now was an unlikely victory against a tough and talented Thorpdale side and their hopes for might be, could quickly have changed.

However it was the visiting Blues flexing their muscle in a forty six point win 13-13-91 to Toora 6-9-45. 

Ray Pickering, Thorpdale co coach “in dry but tough windy conditions we managed to get the game on our terms early and sustain it for most of the game against an improved Toora !! Big few weeks coming up for the club starting with the league yardstick Newborough next week."

The Blues season has been hard to read, but coaches, Pickering and Jason Winderlich have from the start understood 2024 was always going to be a tough one to replicate their admirable efforts of 23, however there are signs that their best football is starting to bubble just below the surface. 

Jack Weston, Toora coach “Disappointing result in a game we felt was a good chance to move to 3-2. In a game that was an arm wrestle until half time we disappointingly fell away and Thorpdale kicked away. We need to get better for longer if we want to be in the fight against the strongest."

There is no question Toora are a far better team in 2024, and are sure to take a few unlikely scalps along the way, but as coach Weston admits, the weekend Blue's clash is one that got away and those are the ones that can make or break seasons. 

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