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Boolarra FNC

MGFNL Round 2

Pressure can be very quick to build in this game, no matter the competition, it just so happens that the MGFNL competition has applied the screws very early, with close encounters again the order of the day this weekend.

Tarwin v MDU

The Demons could have looked at last week's one point loss to Thorpdale in one of two ways, it was a devastating defeat in which they did nothing significant wrong, they just happened to be behind when the final siren sounded or it was an opportunity to bounce back in a big way.

Their performance against the Sharks on Tarwin's home ground was always going to be a good indicator of just how they had responded in the seven days since.

The Demons doing what good sides do, this time winning a tight tussle.

MDU 7-20-62 to Tarwin 7-10-52

MDUs kicking for goals the most pressing issue in an otherwise impressive performance.

Nathan Allen MDU coach “Tarwin came out with the energy and intensity you would expect for their first game of the season. They played a tough brand of footy and made things hard for us. Our pressure and ability to turn the ball over in our front half gave us enough opportunities to eventually make it count on the scoreboard. There may be a bit of goal kicking practice over the next couple of weeks! We have the by next week so we get a chance to recover well and hit the next stretch of games with some fresh legs.

The clash was the first of the year for Tarwin, the opening round bye followed by facing a team like MDU on the rebound was always going to be a big challenge.

Jason Kennedy, Tarwin coach “I was a solid first hit-out away at MDU and we put in a solid effort but in the end was tough to hold on after being down to one on the bench in the 2nd quarter against a team who were keen to get their first win.”

The first look at Tarwin was an impressive one and there is no doubt many victories lie ahead for the Sharks.

Newborough v Yinnar

These two teams came off contrasting first round clashes, Newborough a narrow two point loser to reigning premiers Fish Creek, and Yinnar, comfortable fifty two winners over Toora.

That however was a week ago, and the Bulldogs on their home ground, wearing their Anzac Jumpers and in front of a healthy home crowd were always going to be a force to be reckoned with. 

Newborough 12-9 - 81 to Yinnar 11-10-76

Craig Skinner, Newborough coach “Sam had his boys frothing from the first bounce with 5 goals on the board before we could get our hands on the ball. Our middle 2 quarters were better but we kicked points and Yinnar kicked goals and were the better side for 3 quarters. A few changes and expectations in front of the top dog crowd at 3/4 time gave us belief and when you have that you become dangerous. Good to get the win to launch our season.”

The home side led by better than four goals at quarter time, however that lead was reduced to sixteen at the main break.

Yinnar looked as though they would be the victors after grabbing control again of the game in the third quarter when they led by thirty one.

Sam McCulloch, Yinnar coach "We have been pleased with our group’s commitment to our brand of footy that we are continually looking at improving. Newborough we see as a yard stick early on this season so we are taking the positives out of the game and learning from our mistakes throughout the final quarter.

The Bulldogs win was as gutsy as you will see and fitting of the Anzac Day Jumpers they were wearing, Newborough as good as they were are destined to be even better as they search for their best available squad.

Thorpdale v Boolarra

The wraps on Thorpdale prior to the season starting were huge, an already strong side, they had been bolstered by further talent in the off season, there has been stability both off and on field, but after they managed only to fall over the line in a one point thriller in the opening round, the jury was still out.

On the weekend, the verdict was delivered, the Blues are good!.

Thorpdale 9-10-64 to Boolarra 8-8-56.

Scores were locked away at the first quarter before the Demons went into the main break leading by eight points.

Jason Winderlich, Thorpdale coach “Good tough contested game against Boolarra all day. Was a good even spread of 21 contributors to get the job done. Foster on their home deck will be another step up this week after playing themselves into form against Mirboo. We are expecting them to have a few key inclusions this week also which makes the challenge even greater.

Thorpdale are tipped to be a major contender in the race for the 2024 premiership, which might mean that Boolarra are not far off the pace also, the Demons actually won two quarters, drew one, but it was the third term that let them down.

Brendan Mason, Boolarra coach “Really good game of footy with both sides looking to go 2-0. Unfortunately there had to be a loser with our boys falling on the wrong side. We had our chances to win the game but the Thorpdale guys took theirs and were too good in the end.”

Both Boolarra and Thorpdale should be commended on the spirit in which the game was played, fierce at the football, well organised, with game styles that are sure to make both tough in the weeks and months ahead.


Toora v Hill End

With most pundits predicting that these two teams might not be expected to play a part in finals, every opportunity that presented as a possible victory was no doubt going to be jumped on.

Toora on their home deck toughed out the first sixty minutes before breaking away for a comfortable 15-16-106 to Hill End 6-6-36 win.

The Magpies victory is an ideal platform from which to build some confidence in the weeks ahead.

Jack Weston, Toora coach “Another promising performance. It was an arm wrestle early, but our discipline to set the ground four quarters opened the game up for us in the 2nd half. We’ll continue to build connection, but I’m pleased with the synergy the group is building.”

That synergy is key for Toora in taking the steps needed to have more success, already well placed off field, it appears on field progression has started.

Prior to the season starting,, Hill End coach Ambu Uliando predicted that his team would be more than capable of staying with teams early but running games out might be an issue, that indeed was an area to be improved on from their weekend challenge.

Ambu Uliando, Rover’s coach “disappointing second half for us to let Toora kick away with it. Our movement and positioning was good but simple skill errors and execution let us down in the end. Preview - its going to be a real tough day for us on Saturday, no doubt about it. We suffered a few injuries in round 2 against Toora so this will really test our depth.

In fact for the first two rounds of the season, the Hillsmen have been well and truly in the match, only to fall away in the second half.

If they can actually put together four quarters, they can and will really trouble teams.

Mirboo North v Foster

Both of these two Tiger teams had their tail between their legs since round one, Foster comprehensively beaten by Morwell East, Mirboo North likewise by Boolarra.

The home team Tigers had always proven to be a difficult side to beat on their unique playing surface and they, like their visitors, were keen to regain their roar.

Playing under lights in front of a healthy crowd provided an opportunity for the visiting Tigers to rise to the occasion.

Foster 10-10-70 to Mirboo North 4-5-29

The win for Foster was just the result needed after a first round loss just seven days prior.

The visiting Tigers assumed control early in the night, leading by thirteen at the first quarter and building on that lead as the game unfolded. 

Sam Davies, Foster coach “Positive response from our group, never easy playing under lights so I’m happy we won all four quarters. Big game against Thorpdale next week - they’ve recruited heavily and Jas has them winning close games early. They’ll be in the top few later in the year so it’s a big test”

As good as Foster were, Mirboo North were also well pleased with the initiative of providing Saturday night football for their local community. 

Damian Turner, Mirboo North coach “A fantastic day for our club. The night game was a success with huge numbers through the gate. Thank you to Foster again for their support. We showed some really strong patches of football, and improved in some areas we identified! But , the small lapses from us coupled with Fosters experience got us in the end.”

There is no question that season 2024 is likely to be a rebuilding year for Mirboo North, but the early signs, with the right people in the right positions are that they will soon be doing what they have done for many seasons prior and that is to be mixing it with the very best in the MGFNL competition.

Stony Creek v Morwell East

As good as Stony Creek was in their opening encounter. There was little doubt they were going to need to be even better as they welcomed a Morwell East team that had flexed their considerable muscle by way of a ridiculously easy win against round one.

The only niggling doubt for the Hawks was how they were going to respond playing away from twice in a fortnight. 

Paul Henry, Morwell East coach “It was crucial to start well. We had a dominant first quarter, having 11 scoring shots to 4. The lead was set early and we increased that at every change. Stoney kept coming, but so did we.”

There was whispers from past players to expect rapid improvement at the Hawks nest in 2024, and the early signs are that this indeed the taste.

Chris VerBoob, Stony Creek coach “Morwell east started the game well putting us on the back foot from the start with 5 goals in the first quarter. They move the ball well on the open side of the ground and set up well defensively.”

The Hawks might have been on fire early, but to the Lions credit, the home side didn’t shy from the challenge, although coach Verboon did see some improvements that could be made.

“We went away from how we want to play, which happens when you are put under pressure. Bit of a reality check for us early will be a good thing. We will go over the game and learn from it.”

Stony Creek missed finals participation in 2023, and there is no surprise with all the work done by the Lions in the off season that being a player at the business end is certainly achievable in 24 with a little luck and some continued hard work.

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