If you do your calculations, there are fifty six different possibilities as to who might be playing in this year's MGFNL grand final, and that's writing Mirboo North off as a finals consideration. In short, despite being so deep in the season, there remains very little clarity as to just which two teams may rise to the top. Hill End v Fish Creek
Hill End have found themselves falling from second to fifth spot on the ladder in the last month, the Hillsmen, just not putting it all together as they might, and their frustrations starting to boil over in recent weeks.
Mike Santo, Hill End coach "we gave away seven fifty metre penalties in costly positions last week, which was punishing."
This week the Rovers can ill afford to drop another game in a very tight competition, a slight lapse or lack of discipline this week could spell disaster for one of the leagues premiership contenders. Fish Creek's finals hopes are all but gone, but defeating Hill End against the odds this week would certainly be an occasion to celebrate for the Kangaroos.
John Danckert, Kangaroos coach "we are ticking a lot of boxes, just not the ones that count most, Hill End this week presents another challenge and another opportunity." All the pressure is on Hill End to win this one, a loss would be too disastrous for the Rovers to consider, there will be no excuses for the Hillsmen on their homeground, but one thing's for certain and that's that Fish Creek won't be making life easy for them.. Morwell Easter v Foster Morwell East did more than defeat Hill End last week, the Hawks also sent a message to the League that they are one of many sides capable of going all the way this year. Make no mistake, the Hawks have always had what it takes to mix it with the best, the biggest test, putting it altogether against quality opposition. as they did last week.
Devon Soutar, Morwell East coach"Our leaders were strong in their message all week and getting the points in an important game will only build more belief within, that we are on the right path." That path now sees Foster standing in the way and the Tigers desperately need to claw back a win against the odds to counter their loss last week to MDU.
Sam Davies, Foster coach, "Last week put us in a position that we don't want to be in, with a massive two games before our bye." The fact is there have been very few easy games at any stage of the season, so only those teams that are fully deserving of a finals spot will be rewarded with one, this clash will go a long way to determining just who of these two sides is good enough, skilful enough, desperate enough, want it enough to be that side. Stony Creek v Mirboo North These two sides may well be out of the Leagues top six, but make no mistake, this clash is as about as big as it gets in a season. The winner will almost certainly believe they have a chance to be a finals contender, the loser might not want to give the season up, but they should. The Lions have somehow manufactured wins when they were least expected to do so, just last week winning yet another close one over Fish Creek, a win that now starts to have them in finals discussions. Jay Acardi, Stony Creek coach "Last week our boys gave one hundred percent and that's what got us over the line. We now look forward to hosting Mirboo North in another must win encounter to keep our season alive." Mirboo North have not yet reached any impressive level, but mind you they are coming off a rare win. Josh Taylor, Mirboo North coach, "we're off to Stony Creek this week and hope that the boys can bring the same effort and get another win." The hurdle for the Lions is that the Tigers find themselves in almost exactly the same position, but unfortunately the pathway forward has only room for one team, it's the team that wins this clash. Tarwin v Toora Top versus bottom, should be enough to confidently predict the premiership points will be banked by Tarwin late this saturday afternoon, but Shark's coach, even at his very young age is too astute to believe that they already have the win. Troy Hemming, Tarwin coach " this week Toora at home, it starts to get too dangerous, games at this end of the season, Toora have challenged most teams so we need to be at our best." Toora believe they can win and that's a start, an important start for the winless Magpies, with coach Matt Ponton starting to like what he saw last week against Boolarra. 'Our boys played good structured, relentless footy all day but had a lapse in the second quarter which gave Boolarra a thirty point lead and it was hard to claw back, three quarters of breaking even with a finals team, shows we are nearing our first win." Despite the respect given to Toora by the Tarwin coach, and the Magpies improvement, they still won't be winning this game, they just couldn't, in a winless season. albeit with many commendable performances, at best they may be a pest for the Sharks. Tarwin to date, has answered almost all challenges in 2022. Thorpdale v Newborough Thorpdale, would be wondering what they have done wrong to constantly be confronted with very good teams, all of whom face the Blues with a "must win: '' attitude. This week it is the Bulldogs who travel to Thorpdale, with a very clear goal in mind, defeat the opposition, take the points and return home. Newborough, last week fell short to the top of the table Tarwin, and in doing so, also put in jeopardy their chances of a top two finish, you would not expect them to make that mistake this week. . Craig Skinner, Newborough coach "We will go back to basics and goal kicking this week as we prepare for Thorpdale on the hill, which is never an easy opponent." For the Blues, it's all about some fine tuning and ability to execute what they are capable of for longer periods of time, elements of the game that were lacking last week and in truth have been popping their head up for most of the year. Ray Pickering, Thorpdale coach "Our lack of polish on disposal and not taking our opportunities proved costly in the end, but the boys did put in an effort all game." Newborough will demand Thorpdale's best and the Blues are sure to give it, but whether their best is yet good enough is questionable. Yinnar v Boolarra A week's break for Yinnar, has not eased the pressure the Magpies will feel this week when they host Boolarra on their home ground on the weekend The Demons have taken almost all before them this year and currently sit in second spot, a position they will be unwilling to give up to a side that no doubt wants exactly what Boolarra have. Tony Giardina Boolarra coach "We played some good footy last week in the first half.... hopefully we can get some players back for another big game this week in Yinnar."
An in-form Boolarra, currently second on the MGFNL ladder with as many as four first choice players to come back into starting eighteen guarantees that Yinnar will need to be at their best to have another win on their home ground. The Magpies have some time to regroup after their week off and there will be no excuses if they cannot get the job done. Daniel Taylor, Yinnar coach "the bye came at a good time for us, we have some injury concerns like everybody else so we've freshened up, but with Boolarra this week and Newborough the next, it's like a mini finals series for us and it will decide our season."
The matter of fact assessment by Taylor is about as perfect as it gets, there will be nowhere to hide his week and the ferocity at ball and body will no doubt be a feature of this game. MDU:Bye