One less match in round 14, but it didn't mean the results were any less important, in fact far from it, given so much continues to ride on the back of a win or loss for so many.
With just a handful of matches to go in the home and away season, some coaches will now start to build towards being the very best they can be before the finals, while others will be trying to take a brag worthy scalp before their season ends.
Boolarra v Thorpdale
Boolarra, had exceeded most experts expectations for season 2022 already, the Demons sat third on the MGFNL prior to the weekend, with a win providing at least an opportunity to climb a spot to second and in doing so also have them in prime position for a short cut through to the Grand Final in just over a months time.
All that stood in their way was Thorpdale, but not for long, as the Demons cruised through to a comfortable 15-17-107 to 6-3-39 victory.
Tony Giardina, Boolarra coach " It was good to get another four points. It was a consistent four quarters from the boys. The only thing keeping us from having a big win was our bad kicking for goal. To Thorpy's credit they kept going all day. We have a rest next week then Mirboo north away will be interesting.``
The Demons are answering every challenge presented, the prospect of them further improving will be daunting for those teams they lay ahead.
For Thorpdale, improvement is also needed, but it will need to be complemented by patience.
Ray Pickering, Thorpdale coach, "The first quarter was a good response to our woeful effort last week, really taking it to a strong Boolara side but unfortunately as is the same most weeks we couldn’t sustain it and by half time the game was essentially over. We fought the second half out well but Boolara were just too strong all over the park .
This was a tale of two sides at very different stages of their development, what the Blues might be happy to hear, is that like Boolarra, their fortunes can change very quickly.
Hill End v MDU The pressure had been starting to build on Hill End for more than a month and if anything it only intensified on the weekend. The Rovers sat precariously in fifth position going into round fourteen and faced the very proposition of falling out of the top six given they were also being hotly pursued by two teams within a game. The Demons made the journey hoping to Willow Grove hoping to cause a headache for the home team, but the fact is the visitors never really got warm, Hill End 12-10-82 to MDU 3-6-24. Peter Davies, MDU coach "Hill End structured up really well behind the footy and comfortably won the clearances which made it difficult for us all day. Our tackle pressure was the lowest it has been all year."
Mike Santo "We really jumped out of the blocks and controlled the play for most of the match. Our tackle pressure and accountability is right we’re it needed to be and needs to stay over the next few weeks. " Mike Santo has his boys going as well as he can in what has been a season of frustrations caused by covid, injury and the ire of all coaches, player availability. However if the Rovers can manage to get everything to click at the most crucial time in just a few weeks, there is no question they will be a force to be reckoned with. Hill End have faced some adversity this year and one can be sure there will be more to come, but what they have done is managed to maintain ladder position, and will be ready to strike if the opportunity arises. Tarwin v Newborough The unusual layout of the 2022 MGFNL fixture meant that these two teams were to face each other for the second time inside a month, with Tarwin grabbing the points omj the first occasion, but with Newborough super motivated to make sure it was there turn this time around, it was never going to be anything but a massive challenge for the home team and thats what they got with the visitors making one win a piece for 2022. Newborough 15-16-106 to Tarwin 11-9-75. Craig Skinner, Newborough coach "We got our first look at Shark park and are thankful to Troy and Tarwin for the opportunity to participate in a mental health awareness game run by mindful AUS. With a draw that gave us a second crack at Tarwin, we had more to play for, regarding ladder positions and the first quarter showed that. We hunted the ball as well as we have all year, the second quarter was all Tarwin as they denied us the ball and controlled the quarter. Josh Hecker and Mitchell Stanlake got their hands dirty in the third which gave our forwards more chances and Joel Mitchell converted those chances to goals.,Wade Anderson’s game is going to a new level down back and would be one of the competitions best attacking defenders. Troy Hemming, Tarwin coach, "Newborough played a good brand of footy! Credit to skins for rallying his boys for a good solid effort! They used the ball really well, on the back of us not pressuring like usual. Very proud of the boys that came in and played their role! Harrison Cummings and maxy Burton came in and gave us 100% effort! It was Max Burton’s first senior game also" We have a hard earned rest this week! Regroup and then we play Stony creek who will have a full side in and will be playing to make finals so it’s a huge game for us and our last home game for the year!" At this stage these two sides are in prime position to meet again in a final that will provide the winner direct route to the 2022 MGFNL grand final, but with four weeks of football remaining, there is still a lot of work to be done. Toora v Fish Creek Confidence is a key to performance, and although not as tangible as some of the must haves within a good side, for players and a club to actually believe they are capable can sometimes provide momentum that is very hard to stop. Toora had reluctantly waited to round thirteen before scoring their first win of the season, but with that performance under their belt and at home to an undermanned Fish Creek, the Magpies were given a very real chance to make it two in a row, but this week although fighting to the end week they fell short, Toora 7-3-45 to Fish Creek 9-15-69. John Danckert, Fish Creek coach "We always have a battle facing Toora on their home ground. We felt like we held them off for most of the day, they challenged us in the last quarter and we responded. We have enormous motivation heading into this week against MDU." Matthew Ponton Toora coach, "it was a hard fought game all day both teams played with aggression which excited the fans, our running and attack on the ball got the Toora fans excited as well, Jack Weston broke the lines 4-5 times and really turned the game in our favour, we brought it right to Fish Creek and had our chances unfortunately a few late goals sealed our fate." Best players for Toora includedJack Weston, Jordy Coulthard and Harley Hoppner in a team that continually gave their best. Four weeks of home and away football remain, and another win for the Magpies is not out of the question. Yinnar v Mirboo North Yinnar have come close to, but fallen short of, winning games on nearly a handful of occasions during the course of the 2022 season, and would have no one to blame but themselves if they were to not secure a spot in the final six. A loss to Mirboo North would have the Magpies facing that unwanted reality, however a win would still have them fighting for a position as high as second, given the unusually even nature of this year's competition. What occurred was an unwanted case of deja vu, as the Magpies once again fell short by less than a kick 6-9-45 to 7-7-49. This loss more than any other has sent Yinnar's season into freefall. Daniel Taylor, Yinnar coach, I know the result reads as a real upset but knowing the two sides very well like I do this was a real fifty fifty game on paper due to our very long list of injuries. Put the injuries aside, if you can't follow simple instructions, can't hit a target and refuse to man up then you won't win many games of footy. Credit to mirboo, they did enough to win the game. The Tigers have been on the ropes for most of the season, but a win such as this is just reward for refusing to throw in the towel on the season, when many others might have, Josh Taylor, Mirboo North coach " Obviously our season playing finals was over but we still have plenty to improve on. 250 games which is life membership at our club for Dom Pinneri yesterday and we pride ourselves on making sure we get up for milestone games. Such a young group and they dug deep for four quarters - I believe we controlled the game for most of the day which was pleasing - Yinnar pushed hard in the last and nearly took it from us but glad we got the win for the group. The win underlies what the Tigers stand for, and what lies ahead, 2023 might be when we see them bounce back into contention again. .
BYE: Foster, Morwell East, Stony Creek