Thorpdale v Toora Thorpdale are quickly becoming one of the "feel good" stories of 2023, with only a handful of wins in the handful of seasons prior, this year there were no real expectations on the Blues to produce anything more than what they had. However, after some close losses against quality sides in the competition followed by three successive wins in a row, the job of coach Jason Winderlich might well be to keep a lid on the building excitement. Jason Winderlich, Thorpdale coach “ Looking ahead to this week, we are still realistic as to where we sit amongst the league. Toora gave us a touch up last year so our focus now is for a big week of recovery and training to keep developing our cohesion as a group." In simple talk, they are going to be taking it one week at a time, and as prudent and expected as that is, a fourth win and even even a fifth win in a row would set up a most interesting clash with Newborough in a few weeks time But there I go again getting ahead of myself, rather than just looking to this week, against Toora.
Jack Weston, Toora coach “ Hopefully we can take our improved performance and put it together for four quarters against Thorpdale this weekend, the Blues are probably the in-form team of the competition.” Things don't always go as expected however and if anyone is looking for evidence of that, just take a peek at last weekend's AFL results.
Fish Creek v Boolarra
The room for error is slowly narrowing for Boolarra, the Demons have been on the wrong end of several close games, and with the competition so tight, their is the real chance that those results will come back to haunt them later in the season unless they are to make a move sooner rather than later.
Tony Giardina, Boolarra coach “ Again last week we gave a top side a start. Kept them goalless for two quarters, they turned the heat up in the last, and the game was over. We are matching it with the good sides but aren’t playing four quarters which is killing us.”
Where there is life there is hope, and Boolarra will be hoping to breathe life back into their season this week, but their stumbling block will be an in-form Fish Creek team.
Jarrod Walker, Fish Creek coach “ we had a very pleasing win last week, it was good to have even contributors across the ground., but we are expecting Boolarra to come out firing next week.It is always a tight contest so it will be a high pressure game. Pressure is what brings the best out in individuals and in teams, so we can expect to see quite possibly some of the best football this season played on the Kangaroos home deck in what is sure to be one of the most exciting and important games for these two teams this year.
Hill End v Foster Hill End are far from dead and buried, but they do need to breathe life into their season and there would be no better way to do that than on their home ground and against a quality opposition like the one they face this week in Foster. The Rovers have shown just glimpses of the sort of footy that had them as league leaders just a short few seasons ago, but there is no question they need to find more and once found produce it for longer. Mike Santo, Hill End coach, “ Against MDU last week we played well in patches again and it was good to see some of our players improving, but there is no doubt that an in form Foster this week will be another big challenge.” The Tigers dropped an unexpected one a fortnight ago against Morwell East, but they certainly bounced last week against Mirboo North and showed that their best is as good as any in the competition. Sam Davies, Foster coach “ Nice to get some real confidence back into the group. We’ve shown little glimpses all year andon the weekend we put four quarters together after tinkering with a few little things throughout the week. The group has so much ability but needed today to give them positive reinforcement, a trip up to Willow Grove to visit Mike and his boys is next and they defeated us up there last year so we are in for a battle.” It is hard to see the Tigers being beaten by Hill End, but you would hope that the players don't assume the result like this writer, or things might in fact get closer than they wish. MDU v Morwell East On the surface this might appear to be just another game, but in reality it is anything but. MDU have shown they have what it takes to be considered a finals contender and up until a fortnight ao, Morwell East had also done the same. Two weeks however can seem like an eternity if you;re not winning and the Hawks don't even want to consider a third week of losses after last week's clash with Thorpdale. Paul Henry, Morwell East coach “ It was important for us to bounce back after our loss to the benchmark of the competition two weeks ago. Last week we scored a goal in the first thirty seconds, and our ball movement against the wind in the first was excellent. The next three quarters Thorpy really stepped it up. Although we still kept cracking in and at moments I thought we were coming, but to Thorpy's credit, they just didn't allow the momentum to swing our way for a long period of time, and now this week we travel to MDU for a big, big game. The competition is so close and every win counts.` There is o doubt the importance of this game for both sides, for Morwell East to get back to the winners list and for the Demons the chance to string some wins together. Nathan Allen MDU coach “This week against Morwell East will be another great challenge and really important for us to back up with a good performance and also a chance to build some momentum as a group” With Boolarra and Hill End falling out of last year's top six at this stage the door is open for a couple of new faces to take the spots available, for this week however there is only room for one. Mirboo North v Tarwin If ever there were two sides that have failed to reach the heights that many expected and probably what two sides had wished for it would be Mirboo North and Tarwin. There is now doubting the talents of both teams, but talent without results leaves players, coaches and supporters feeling empty, only winning can fill back up the hopes that carried clubs through pre season and into season 2023. Peter Mongta, Mirboo North coach “It was the biggest loss of the season last weekend against a side9Foster) that did everything right, we struggled to make any impact in and around the contest with bigger bodies and good outside run that really hurt us. now this week we face Tarwin at home and our message was to move on very quickly. In many ways, that is the answer, get on with the job, do not worry about what you cannot change, but take control of what you can. Troy Hemming, Tarwin coach “ We are learning a lot with this group this year so the only thing we do is move onto next week against Mirboo North. We are still very positive that when we get our plan to click it will challenge teams for four quarters.” As good as these two sides are, or at least could be, unless their evidence of that on the scoreboard, players and coaches too will quickly become frustrated on not being able to execute what has been practised for, for so long. This is D day for these two teams. Newborough v Stony Creek Newborough have rebuilt the fortress at which they play their home games, not physically but certainly metaphorically , and any side that finds themselves there will have to be at their best and most focused and courageous to walk away with a win. It seems that only bad luck or unexpected injuries might slow the Bulldogs down. Craig Skinner, Newborough coach “ Like all clubs at the moment we are hoping our injury list is shortened by Saturday when we play Stony Creek at home. We are expecting a good, tough contest that Chris and his team will bring to the kennel." The Lions coach has a good idea on what to expect from Newborough, and whilst having last week off with a bye and viewing his former side Leongatha get beaten for the first time in nearly two years he will also realise that anything is possible. Chris Verboon, Stony Creek coach “ We did manage to play some clean footy in patches and use the open side of the ground.the week before the bye, we have rested up but now take on the ladder leaders Newbourgh." The Lions have already shown improvement on the season prior, but this week will give them a first hand look at what the benchmark of the MGFNL competition looks like.