With 18 rounds of the home and away season before finals, this weekend marks more than a quarter of the way through the MGFNL fixture already, which also means teams must start to push their way into a position that gives them greater opportunities in August and September.
Foster v Yinnar
Foster bounced back in the manner of a good side last week when they took control in difficult conditions and did not give Newborough a look in at any stage.
The Tigers did as good sides do and that's lift to another level when the pressure is on.
This week they face a Yinnar side wanting to do just that, bounce back from disappointment of defeat and recapture the sort of desire and intensity that was in many of their early matches.
Daniel Taylor, Yinnar Coach "we just couldn't adapt to the conditions last week which was disappointing. We were undisciplined, lacked intensity, lost the midfield battle and had too many passengers on the day"
It is that sort of transparent and honest analysis by the Magpies leader that can quickly lead to turnaround within a week and that can also spell danger for Foster.
The Tigers were justifiably pleased with their performance just a week ago, a classic team effort with little if any passengers is what any coach wants to see, and coach Sam Davies would have slept a little easier last week with his teams first win on the board.
All that said, the challenge starts again, but at least it starts at home in front of a local crowd that will accept no less than what was given to them last week.
MDU v Hill End MDU will be looking to put another "w" alongside their name this week, but it is going to take an almighty effort, even at home against a Hill End side, that is slowly but surely improving in everything they do. The Demons have already shown they can match with the best, and with last week's single kick loss to Mirboo North still burning in their stomachs you can rightfully expect the first thirty minutes to indicate where the game may end. Peter Harris, MDU coach " It's hard playing catch up footy on days like last week but to the boys credit they cracked in and almost snatched it. To give Hill End a shake this week we need to make sure we apply the pressure we know we are capable of for the entire four quarters." If the lesson has been learned, the Demons can't make the same mistake again and expect to have any chance of running down a highly talented Rovers side. Hill End coach, Mike Santo "We were very good around the stoppages and had our way in the ruck. We are starting to play a sharper brand of footy every week." That is an ominous warning for MDU this week and its an ominous warning for the league, the 2021 minor premiers still burning to get a crack at a "real" premiership after two years of covid has derailed them while fielding a side that was ready willing and able to be prominent when it counts, that window can't stay open forever.
Mirboo North v Fish Creek Just when you were tricked into believing that Mirboo North's season might be dead and buried the Tigers perform a trick better than Houdini and secure a win, four premiership points and most importantly the confidence required to believe it is capable of even bigger and better things. Before we get a head of ourselves though, there is the little problem of Fish Creek this week!. The Kangaroos are very much a finals proposition and they are more than capable of taking right up to the Tigers on their home turf. Fish Creek coach, John Danckert "our depth is being stretched, simply, we just look to keep on improving" The Tigers will be looking to pounce early, grabbing a side away from home and coming off a loss, and putting the game away early, Mirboo can be dangerous with momentum and momentum is what they will have with another win on the board. Josh Taylor, Mirboo North coach "Fish creek this week - we know this will be a tough game especially after a couple of losses. We just have to worry about ourselves and believe in our game that this will prevail again." For the victor there will be a small window to dance around the ring with the arms in the air, but for the loser, it will be a tough task to get up off the canvas. Newborough v Boolarra Two of the big improvers of the league, when there may only be room for one later in the season, come together for one of their most important clashes in quite a few years. Boolarra, Unbeaten, Newborugh two from four but with everything to fight for this week. Craig Skinner, Newborough coach "I’ve never been involved in a competition so even. whoever blinks first will lose when we meet Boolarra at the kennel Saturday" It possibly could not have been described any better, whoever "blinks" first, loses and make mistake there will be plenty of reasons to blink, with the Bulldogs feeling fierce after successive losses and a home ground wanting to see more of what they saw in the opening rounds rather than what they have seen in the last fortnight. Boolarra, managed a draw against the Rovers at Hill End just a few weeks back so the thought of playing Newborough on the Bulldogs ground shouldn't really hold any fears, it shouldn't but it can and the home side will be hoping it will with a fierce attack on ball and body. Tony Giardina, Boolarra coach "It’s an interesting start to the season as it looks like anyone can win on their day" This will be a test for Newborough, but it will also be a test for the visitors as to whether or not they are the real deal right now, or whether there is still a little more work to be done. Stony Creek v Morwell East A clash between two sides in form, both having won their matches in recent weeks, but both precariously placed around the middle of the MGFNL ladder. A win will send the victor climbing up and the loser tumbling down, its yet another contest that has the potential of far greater ramifications than just this weekend, it has the potential to make or break a finals position, yes, even so early in the year! Devon Soutar, Morwell East coach " Very happy to bank the points in what’s shaping as an extremely tight season." was the Hawks coach's response to their win last week, but he will be even happier if he can do it again this week against a team also pretty happy with their efforts last week against Yinnar. Jai Acardo, Stony Creek coach " A good win in a game that was in the balance till the final siren. We now have another big challenge against Morwell East who are another well organised side." Stony Creek are only this win away from raising many eyebrows in the league, the Lions have shown they have the potential to mix with the better sides in the competition, but the question now remains as to whether they are able to do it on a consistent basis, this week will tell us all. Tarwin v Thorpdale
Tarwin remain as one of the few unbeaten sides in the competition, and many pundits will have them as likely to make it four from four this week, but that could actually be the Sharks biggest downfall, turning up to their home ground just thinking that will be enough to secure the points. Thorpdale have improved and continue to do so, even in their losses and will see this clash as very winnable, the key being putting themselves in the game early as they did last week against Boolarra. Ray Pickering, Thorpdale coach "our boys executed our game plan extremely well, in a great wet weather, tough contest our boys stood up to a strong Boolarra outfit out scoring them for the final three quarters but unfortunately just falling short ! Our boys should be very proud of their effort" Its that "exact" response you want from the Blues coach this week, because if that is what you get it is likely that Thorpdale have got what they want. Tarwin coach, Troy Hemming has his side humming at the moment with some strategic improvements starting from within the club and finishing with what you see on the park, some of those improvements are probably starting to show dividends a lot quicker than what was expected, and with a week off while the Blues were forced to work hard in wet and windy conditions, the Sharks might just be able to keep their spot on the top of the table for another week. Toora - Bye