It's been said before and there is little doubt it will be said several times more before the end of the season, but the evenness of the MGFNL competition at the moment is drawing more interest, and is attracting bigger crowds, all while making every single game crucial for clubs.
Foster v Yinnar
Leading into round five, sitting ninth and seventh on the ladder these two teams are a perfect example of two sides that could finish anywhere from top three to bottom three depending on a series of fortuitous wins or conversely a number of unfortunate losses.
On the weekend it was a confident Tigers at home coming off a win over Newborough confronted by a Magpies side desperate to bounce back into the winners circle after a most disappointing loss at the hands of Stony Creek.
The home side with their radar in place almost perfect in front of goals, which proved to be the difference.
Foster too good, winning 10-1-61 to Yinnar 7-7-49
Sam Davies, Foster coach "it was a tough win against good opposition, who really challenged us and were on top for half the game, a really important win in such an even competition".
It's a win that now puts Yinnar on the back foot and with some work to do before they can gather some momentum moving forward.
Daniel Taylor, Yinnar coach "it was a tough day, to Foster's credit they had the game on their terms, we got to work throughout the second and third quarters and felt like we were the better side, but to Fosters credit we were still unable to play our brand, and one undisciplined act late in the third quarter changed the momentum for the est of the game, we're just not good enough for long enough at the moment which is disappointing
and this is the thing, it takes only one act, one bad decision and not only can a club lose a match it can affect a season, and that's MGFNL 2022.
MDU v Hill End MDU had been keen to return to their home ground and show a healthy home crowd what they were capable of against one of the better sides in the competition. Just seven days earlier the Demons had given a start to Mirboo North and fallen just points short after chasing hard for most of the day, this week the plan was to put the pressure on the visitors from the first bounce and try to keep them at arms length for the afternoon and that is exactly what happened, with MDU 6-7-43 edging out Hill End 5-12-42, the win by just a point, maybe season defining for the Demons,
Peter Harris, MDU coach "it was a cracking contested game of football from both sides, our boys stuck to our game plan and were then able to execute it in the last half, it was nice to finally be on the right side of a close one.' Pre season premiership favourites, Hill End realise that this season is as tough as it gets, and playing your best football sometimes isn't enough, somewhere, somehow, clubs are going to have to find more than they currently have. Mike Santo, Hill End coach, "we played some superb footy early. and then believed we were better than we were currently, credit to Peter and his side they had a game plan and beat us the next three quarters, they spread well from stoppages and took away our strengths and they deserved the win, our inaccuracy and lack of discipline is becoming a real issue for us, hopefully it's a wake up call," There won't be the opportunity for too many "second chances" for Hill End, or for any side for that matter. Mirboo North v Fish Creek. A slip up, even at this early stage of the year, starts to extend the gap between those in the five and those out by that little bit more and there then comes a stage where the gap is just too far to bridge. With that in mind, Mirboo North after a slow start to the season were committed to stay in touch by claiming their second victory of the year in just as many weeks, their visitors already stretched with selection options, The home side don't appear to like doing anything easy winning their second game in a row by less than a kick,The Tigers 10-3-63 to The Lions 9-6-60 Josh Taylor, Mirboo North coach, "another tough game, character building for the group, Fish Creek both times we have played them over the past two year have been hard at it and very tough, good to get through the game with a win" John Danckert, Fish Creek coach "Thought we were really competitive again around the footy, we are getting plenty of opportunities to score, kick straighter are we four wins and one loss?..Maybe ...Injuries again are an issue, but we're not on our own there, effort and application is there we just simply need a win," Even after two close losses in a row, Fish Creek still sit above the Tigers on the table by percentage, but now must prepare for a clash with the top of the ladder and unbeaten Tarwin side, a match from which a win can put the Kangaroos season back on track. The Tigers might still find themselves third from the bottom of the MGFNL ladder, but they are showing all the signs of a side that is destined to climb their way much higher in the weeks ahead. Newborough v Boolarra This mouth watering clash was not for the faint hearted, two of the big improvers of the 2022 competition would not, did not and could not take a short step at any stage if it was truly say they gave all they had in their quest to not only take the points on the weekend gone but to also start to emerge as a genuine contender. Both clubs are not yet firing at full firepower but they are showing that no side in the league is safe from what they are capable of doing. On this occasion it was the Bulldogs 9-12-66 to the Demons 7-8-50, a result that for a lot of the afternoon appeared to be going the opposite way. Craig Skinner, Newborough coach "we saw both sides control the game for long periods of time, with some clean fast flowing contested football making goals hard to come by, both sides have changed for the better over the summer and will keep improving over winter, great to see our yong group come from behind and bounce back after two tough weeks away. " The Bulldogs, Patty Charles received the Rod Taylor medal for best on ground voted on by both coaches. Tony Giardina, Boolarra coach "our start was good until halftime, missed opportunities could have made the scoreboard look a lot better, but in the third quarter we lost our way and Newborough lifted and made us look silly and just like that the game is taken away from us" In some matches you can get away with lapses of concentration, with "flat spots" if you like, but in games like this one you need to be on your game for four full quarters. Stony Creek v Morwell East The Lions returned to their home ground just seven days after taking the scalp of a finals contender in Yinnar on the Magpies home ground. Their weekend clash against a bird of another kind in the Hawks was going to be every bit as tough as any they had played this year. Morwell East after an early season stumble had already shown improvement was on its way, but at various times their coach had been frustrated with what he saw his side do and what he knew his side was capable of doing. The Hawks 5-10-40 to Stony Creek 4-9-33, was a result that was satisfying but still a way off where they wanted to be. Devon Soutar, Morwell East coach "it was a real grind in the first half with an inability to complete the play going forward and our turnovers fuelling opposition opportunities, we were able to break away in the third and that breathing room allowed us to control the game and speed in the closing stages"' For Stony Creek, after some very clear improvement this season, the loss put a stop to real momentum the Lions had been starting to build. Jai Acardi, Stony Creek coach "we were pretty much outplayed, outworked and out coached by Morwell East, at times we worked our butts off to get the ball and then we handed it straight back to them with either poor disposal or poor decision making, there is plenty to work on with a week off before we take on an in form Foster" The week off might be a blessing for a team that has a lot to offer and as coach Acardi has pointed out, also gives them every opportunity to bounce back in a fortnight's time against Foster.
Tarwin v Thorpdale
Unbeaten, on top of the ladder and at home, the Sharks strolled into the weekend confident another win was on its way.
Tarwin is just one of a handful of clubs slowly making the improvements necessary to have success both on and off the field, and it was also keen on not letting Thorpdale stand in the way of what they want to achieve especially at Shark Park.
Tarwin comfortable winners 26-12-168 to the Blues 6-9-45.
The Sharks actually trailed at quarter time before they really turned on the afterburners kicking ten goals in the second quarter, eight in the third and finishing the game off with six more goals in the last, in a truly dominating performance.
Troy Hemming, Tarwin coach "it was a great team effort from the boys everyone played their role and they all had a smile on their faces"
The Sharks should be pleased with themselves too, unbeaten in their first four matches of the season and sitting on top of the MGFNL ladder, it's been a dream start for the new coach and the Tarwin club.
Thorpdale, it seems still have some work to do, they have been gallant even in defeat and would have gone into this match believing they were a chance.
Ray Pickering, Thorpdale coach "it was a solid start to win he first quarter, but Tarwin's fitness and bigger bodies around the bal then took control of the contest for the remainder of the game"
Sometimes you can tell a coach is hurting what he doesn't say rather than what he does, and there is no doubt that coach Pickering was hurting from this performance.