Inverloch-Kongwak 6.11.47
Warragul Industrials 9.7.61

Coming into their first-ever final since joining the West Gippsland Football Netball competition, some may have forgiven the Warragul Industrials had they rested on their laurels.

The side finished sixth, claiming the last available position in the finals series, and were going into an elimination final against one of the competition’s very best teams in Inverloch-Kongwak. The same Inverloch-Kongwak, it must be said, that had dispatched of the Dusties to the tune of 35 points just two weeks prior.

So the script had this game being a relatively straightforward win for the Sea Eagles, who would have had bigger prizes on their mind.

As it turns out though, if that was how the match was supposed to go, somebody forgot to tell the Warragul Industrials.

The Dusties instead put on one of their best performances for the entire year, weathering an early storm from the Sea Eagles before putting their foot down and taking over the game, before prevailing 9.7 (61) to 6.11 (47) to knock their opponents out and progress to the semi-finals next week.

In a tight and defensively tight tussle, Anthony Bruhn and Adrian De Sando were both able to hit the scoreboard for the Dusties, kicking two goals each. Matthew Herbert and Kyle Beveridge were able to effectively play their roles at opposite ends of the ground, while Will Gibson put on one of his strongest performances of the year on the ball.

The signs appeared ominous early though for the Dusties, as despite having a breeze working their way in the first term, they were forced into defending grimly for most of the quarter.

The ball seemed to live in Inverloch-Kongwak’s forward half, with the Sea Eagles able to generate repeated entries thanks to some excellent pressure forcing the Dusties into some errant mistakes. But for as much as the Sea Eagles were able to generate inside 50s, it was the Warragul defence that held up remarkably well.

Inverloch-Kongwak are a powerful side at their very best, able to take the game away from an opposition at a moment’s notice with a strong forward line capable of challenging some of the league’s best sides. There’s a good reason they finished third on the table, only below the likes of Tooradin-Dalmore and Phillip Island.

The Dusties defenders, however, were relentless in their own efforts, and where earlier this year the side was guilty of some defensive lapses in their game bringing them undone, they weren’t to be found here. It meant that despite having much less opportunity to score, the Dusties were even with their opponents goalwise at the first break.

From there, the second quarter saw Warragul take the lead, which they would not give up at any stage. In general, the Dusties were just much more effective going forward, as their front six worked as a unit to better effect than their opponents.

That being said, the Sea Eagles would be left to rue some of their own missed opportunities, particularly in the third term where they could have taken control of the game but were instead left to settle for kicking 3.4.

The final term had the Dusties just four points up to begin, but in another brilliant display of defensive prowess, they were able to restrict Inverloch-Kongwak to just the two behinds while kicking two more goals themselves to seal a famous victory.

Warragul Industrials coach Harmit Singh lauded his team’s efforts, saying it was a “pleasing result.”

“Coming from sixth position to knock off a quality team, I think it shows how much growth we’ve had over the last two-and-a-half years,” he said.

Given the Dusties’ last full season in the competition had them finish last with just two wins, Singh certainly wasn’t wrong.

Match review via Warragul Drouin Gazette, written by Nicholas Duck.

Nar Nar Goon 7.13.55
Cora Lynn 11.6.72
A gold nugget has been added to Cora Lynn’s magnificent war-chest of finals victories after the Cobras knocked Nar Nar Goon out of this year’s premiership race with a typically brave 17-point victory in Sunday’s elimination final at Garfield.

The expected Sunday-shootout between West Gippsland’s two-leading goalkickers Cora Lynn’s Nathan Gardiner and Nar Nar Goon’s Dermott Yawney – developed into a stunning one-man show with Gardiner kicking eight goals to lead the Cobras to a memorable 11.6.72 to 7.13.55 victory.

Yawney was held goalless, with Cobras cocaptain Tim Payne doing a magnificent blanketing job in his 42nd senior final with the club.

Cora Lynn jumped the Goon early, with Cory Machaya snapping the game’s first, inside 60 seconds, before Gardiner kicked two in three minutes to give the Cobras a three-goal lead.

Yawney then took a spectacular grab, rising high above a pack at centre half-forward, and the expected shootout looked on.

Cooper Pursell kicked the Goon’s only goal for the quarter, with the Cobras taking an eight-point lead to the first break.

Both teams kicked 2.2 in the second term, with Gardiner converting two free kicks, while Pursell and Anthony Young slotted a goal apiece for the Goon.

Machaya once again fired an early shot to start the third quarter, but when Trent Armour kicked a blinder from outside 50 – and Young converted another from long range – the Goon had closed to a solitary point and appeared to have all the momentum.

Heath Briggs showed a calm nerve, kicking truly from a set shot, to give the Cobras a fivepoint lead at the final change.

Cora Lynn had a plethora of football at the start of the final term, but wasted opportunities to bury the Goon properly.

The Goon then went forward, against the run of play, with Brendan Hermann kicking a ripper from the boundary to close the gap to two points after six minutes of play.

Gardiner then kicked his sixth and seventh, inside a minute, and the Cobras looked home with a 14-point lead.

Kyle O’Sullivan then answered, but when Gardiner kicked the last two goals of the match – his third and fourth for the quarter – the Cobras were home-and hosed and celebrating a famous victory.

Cora Lynn coach Shaun Sparks was lost for words after the match, praising his group for a typical Cora Lynn finals performance, built on spirit and unwavering belief.

“Very, very proud, just outstanding, with everything we’ve gone through this season, to show that fight today, I just can’t speak highly enough about the boy’s efforts,” Sparks said from outside a buzzing changerooms.

“We just get up for big games, that’s the culture of the group and something Cora Lynn has prided itself on over the years.

“Obviously to jump them in the first quarter was huge for us, and we have jumped a lot of teams in our wins this season.

“As for the belief, I can’t explain it. Before my time David Main was a big driver of that belief card, and the results just speak for themselves.

“It’s just belief, we play the Cobras-style in finals and that’s usually good enough to at least keep us in the game.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the way the boys carried that spirit through today.”

Gardiner was the outstanding footballer on the park, with eight goals just reward for his efforts, while ruckman Billy Thomas, and speedmachine Jaxon Briggs, were both at their punishing best.

The Goon leaves in disappointing circumstances, having finished fourth on the ladder and looking set for a lengthy finals campaign.

Armour and Hermann tried their best to lift their club across the line, while Sam Blackwood was creative and damaging in the final term when the Goon needed it most.

Match review via Pakenham Gazette, written by David Nagel

Lang Lang 4.13.37
Trafalgar 8.6.54

Its spot in the qualifying final was never under threat but Trafalgar did just enough to hold off Lang Lang who finished the season in 6th place but two wins short of a spot in the play-offs.

The Bloods, like some of the others that will contest finals, were taking few risks with possible injuries resting several of their key players for the clash at Caldermeade.

Lang Lang had more scoring shots on the day but at the finish it was Trafalgar coming off winners 8-6 to 4-13.

The flag contenders put in a very lack-lustre first half, particularly in the first quarter when favoured by a strong southerly breeze on the exposed Caldermeade oval managed only two behinds.

Lang Lang had the better of the play but also couldn’t find the goals ending the term with five behinds.

At half time it was level pegging in a very low scoring contest – Lang Land 1-8, Trafalgar 2-2.

Trafalgar’s coach Tom Hallinan wouldn’t have been happy with his team’s effort when he addressed them before heading back onto the ground.

His players did lift, got well on top and slammed through four unanswered goals in the third quarter to give them a 6-6 to 1-9 lead heading into the final term.

Lang Lang wasn’t done but again failed to make the most of their chances with the wind.

They added 3-4 for the term although never really looked like hauling in the deficit while two steadying goals from the Bloods was enough to maintain a 17-point buffer at the siren.

Trafalgar’s best were Hayden Brock, Hardy Kenny, Mitch Virtue, Dylan Farrell, Tyson Leys and Sam Wyatt with Virtue kicking two goals and singles scored by Blake Slater, Darcy Brock, Klay Butler, Matt Devon, Sam Wyatt and Connor Dastey.

Better players for Lang Lang were Lachie Barwick, Jackson Ventura, Liam O’Connor, Luke Clark, Sean Dywer and Aaron Rose.

Its goal scorers were Barwick, Brad Harding, Brody Leitch and Tyler Guan.

Match review via Warragul Drouin Gazette, written by Keith Anderson.

Neerim South 18.16.134
Ellinbank 8.9.57

It was Chris Urie’s day at Neerim South on Saturday.

The Cats’ star led the team onto the ground and through a banner and guard of honour recognising his 200th game with the club, kicked the first goal of the match to start the side’s domination of fellow finalist Ellinbank and came from the ground after the final siren with five goals to his name and best on ground honours.

Urie looked a class above anybody else on the oval in Neerim South’s 18-16 to 8-9 win that completed an undefeated home and away season.

Despite what the scoreboard might have said few EDFL followers will be writing off Ellinbank as a premiership contender just yet although it won’t be an easy task starting from an elimination final.

The Eagles were well down on full strength; some recovering from injuries or rested ahead of the finals series and a couple of others given a chance to show their abilities at senior level.

A Neerim South win was well and truly on the cards after the first quarter and beyond doubt by half time.

Ellinbank, although kicking with the benefit of a slight breeze in the first term and opening the scoring with a behind, fell well off the pace against a slicker and quicker South.

The Eagles didn’t score again until the 25-minute mark when Daniel Pratt goaled, helped considerably by a 50-metre penalty, and when the quarter-time siren sounded it was Neerim South well in command – 5-7 to 1-1.

By half time the margin was out to a commanding 48 points, 9-10 to 2-2.

“Jack Ginnivan lookalike” Luke Kinder slotted two of South’s four goals for the term and would finish with three for the match.

Ellinbank had tightened its play and held its own at the contests but fell down up forward again a tight Cats’ defence.

The match-up of Daniel Pratt on South captain Kody Wilson was one of the highlights of the game, both having solid games.

The Eagles didn’t throw in the towel.

Their pressure was high from the start of the third term, rewarded with two goals in the opening five minutes as well as a couple of behinds.

It was nine minutes before Neerim South was able to mount its first attack for the quarter when Ashley Lockett sold a good dummy around two opponents and delivered a well weighted pass to the leading Urie who made no mistake with the shot at goal.

By the last change Ellinbank had pegged the margin back to 27 points, 11-11 to 7-8, only the eighth time across 72 quarters for the season that South had been outscored.

Both teams had squandered use of the ball with some poor disposal and decision-making but perhaps could blame the pressure of the contests for some of that.

The final quarter was largely academic. Neerim South took full control to add another seven goals to one as the Eagles defence cracked after battling hard all day.

Ellinbank’s cause was not helped with coach Ben Wragg and fellow defender Jake Harper two of its best for much of the game – off the ground for a large part of the second half nursing minor injuries.

The Eagles would draw some consolation from the fact it was able to pressure the premiership favourites with forwards Adam Cook and Shaun Phelan, the latter who played in the reserves on Saturday, ruckman Kyah Karavasills, Michael Urie, Tim Mashado, Daniel Risol and Ben Drew all possible inclusions next week.

While last Saturday was Chris Urie’s day he had plenty of strong assistants led by Matthew Edwards, Ashley Lockett, Cooper Clancy, Tyssen Morrow and Nathan Bayne.

In addition to Urie’s five goals, Kinder and Lachlan Bambridge each booted three with Wilson two and ruckman Alex Johnston, Ashley Lockett, Nicholas Caddy, Josh White and under 18 player Matt Roberts kicking one each.

Ellinbank named its best as Daniel Pratt, Tony Wright, Gaige White, Jacob Walker, Jake Harper and Liam Anderson.

Jake Dean, with two, was its only multiple goal scorer.

Match review via Warragul Drouin Gazette, written by Keith Anderson.

Nilma Darnum 6.8.44
Longwarry 21.15.141

The curtains were drawn on the seasons of both Nilma-Darnum and Longwarry senior teams after their clash at Darnum on Saturday.

It had been another tough year for Nilma-Darnum that was unable to conjure a win and a disappointment for Longwarry despite eight wins but well out of finals contention.

The Crows were much too good for Nilma-Darnum on Saturday strolling to a 21-15 to 6-8 win.

The final term was the most productive for both sides.

The Bombers kicked three goals for the term to double its tally for the term while Longwarry slammed through seven.

Braydon McHugh finished his season on a high for the Crows with a seven-goal haul with Jedd Serong (three), Jake Serong, Jake Newnham and Ryan Wouters bagging two each and Cole Cook, Jonah Serong, Ben Cuckson, Angus Adamiak and Brad Martin kicking single goals.

The side’s best players were Cook, Bailey Stephens, Jackson Caddy, Jake Stewart, Cuckson and McHugh.

Despite its long and winless year Nilma-Darnum

still played with plenty of spirit and pride in the jumper.

Nathan Campbell, Nick Carrigy, Harry Moore, Zachary Scanlon, Mal Hunter and Dylan Alberni typified that to be named in the best.

The Bombers goals were all singles, from Moore, Harley Lacunes, Campbell, Scanlon, Chris Cameron and Gary Hallam.

Match review via Warragul Drouin Gazette, written by Keith Anderson.

Nyora 3.3.21
Poowong 18.11.119

Poowong did some fine tuning ahead of its elimination final next Sunday in a big win over neighbours Nyora at the weekend.

The Magpies took charge from the start with six-goal first and third quarters highlighting its 18-11 to 3-3 victory.

It was always going to be a big ask for Nyora that, although ending its season with six wins, did not have the manpower across the ground to match Poowong.

Forwards Jayden Sullivan and Alex Henshall got a good feel for the ball kicking six and three goals respectively.

Jack Hazendonk also chipped in with two goals and single goals came from Zac Gray, Cody Loughridge, Will Robertson, Andrew Logan and Jed Benham.

Nyora took until the second half to post its first goal with two of the three for the game kicked in the final quarter.

Scott Pugh got two of them and coach Dylan Heylen the other.

Poowong was happy post-game with the workout with key players showing some good touch and the team overall playing controlled football.

Best named on the day were Mitchell Vanthof, Benham, Cody Loughridge, Robertson, Gray and TJ Loughridge.

Best for Nyora were Ryan Hill, Jack Rosenow, Angus McGillivray, Aidan Simmons and Rhys Cupid.

Match review via Warragul Drouin Gazette, written by Keith Anderson.

Yarragon 12.15.87
Catani 9.10.64

Yarragon held off a gallant Catani seeking a second win to end the season.

The 12-15 to 9-10 victory by Yarragon on its home ground was its seventh for the season but short by four wins of a place in the “five”.

The second and third quarters were the key to the result after a see-sawing opening term.

The Blues could manage only 1-4 during those two quarters while Yarragon added 5-11 to open a 29-point lead by the final change.

It was enough to hold off a determined Catani that rallied to boot five goals in the last quarter.

However, Yarragon came back with four of its own to always held the edge and get home by 23 points at the siren.

Its 12 goals were spread among among eight players with Tom Dovaston and Mitch Jolly leading the way with three each.

Single goals were kicked by Taylor Rainey, Zak Hogton, Jay Marcon, Sam van der Zalm, James Harvey and Nick Denholm.

Catani’s effort was spearheaded by Brett Williams, Riley McDonald, Jack Hobson, Dylan

Williams, Mick Ralph and Mitchell Smith.

Tom Kelly, Tanny Rodda and Brett Williams kicked two goals apiece with singles from James Williams, Lachlan Pratt and Coby Podd.

Match review via Warragul Drouin Gazette, written by Keith Anderson.

Leongatha 24.16.160
Drouin 3.6.24
Leongatha players were congratulated on winning every home and away game of the season, also being reminded of the opportunity ahead, after sweeping Drouin aside in round 18.
“What we’ve done so far should be celebrated; it doesn’t happen often,” coach Trent McMicking said.
While the Parrots have a few days to bask in that accomplishment, training intensity will escalate from Thursday as McMicking ensures the squad maintains its sharpness despite not featuring in the first week of the finals.
He described the team’s performance against Drouin as “another huge tick”, noting that “the structures held up well”.
The Hawks threatened to mount a challenge in the early minutes, quickly moving into attack when the game got under way and holding their own for a while.
However, it was Leongatha that did all the damage on the scoreboard.
As the term progressed, the Parrots’ dominance increased,
with the side charging to a 53-point quarter time advantage against a goalless Drouin.
The only meaningful resistance the Hawks mustered thereafter was a three-goal burst either side of halftime, that commenced with a major on the run in the dying moments of the second term.
Such was the organisation of Leongatha’s defence and the side’s command around the ground, that trio of Drouin goals was the beaten side’s only majors for the day.
In contrast, the ever-menacing Aaron Hillberg delivered five goals for the triumphant Parrots, with Justin Pellicano chipping in with four. Pellicano also shouldered much of the day’s ruckwork, with fellow ruckman Ben Willis also helping the rampant Parrots onballers get plenty of the Sherrin. Skipper Tom Marriott was one of those to capitalise, with his ball winning ability and assured use of the footy earning him best on ground status.
Luke Bowman was also highly productive for the winning side.
Young Gippsland Power talent Wil Dawson played his second senior game for Leongatha.
After spending much time in the ruck during his debut, he was stationed up forward throughout Saturday’s contest, finishing with three goals, as did Mason McGannon.
Luther Juric kicked just one major, but his ferocious attack on the footy and opponents created opportunities for teammates and saw him named in Leongatha’s best.
While it wasn’t the most challenging of days for the Parrots backline, coach McMicking was delighted with the ball movement his defenders generated when Drouin got the footy forward.
For the Hawks defence, it was a tough day, with the regularity and high quality of Leongatha’s attacking entries ensuring a profitable day for Parrots forwards.
However, Drouin’s backmen stuck at the task, with Jordan Kingi often clearing the ball from defence. His hard work was acknowledged, being listed as Drouin’s best for the day.
Jarrod Marshall booted two of the Hawks three majors, with Aiden Quirk accounting for the other goal.
Kye Quirk was busy around the ball for the beaten team and only behind Kingi in its best.
Match review via South Gippsland Sentinel Times.

Wonthaggi 21.12.138
Moe 7.4.46
Wonthaggi skipper Aiden Lindsay inspired his team to a narrow quarter time lead and was a major factor throughout the day as Power took complete control after the first break.
The 92-point win ensured Power secured second spot on the ladder and will enter its qualifying final against Sale full of confidence.
Lindsay booted three goals and was well supported by other prodigious ball winners, with Mitch Hayes contributing all over the ground and capping off his excellent performance with a couple of majors.
Andrew Murray was a livewire up forward for the victorious Power nailing four goals, including an entertaining third quarter effort in which he weaved his way past Moe’s defensive attempt. Darcy Brosnan provided sparkat times, whether driving Wonthaggi forward from defence or  contributing onball.
Jack Hutchinson booted three goals, with a couple of those coming in a burst late in the second quarter, one a set shot from out wide and the other an impressive recovery after going to ground, bouncing up, evading an opponent and goaling on the run.
Noah Anderson and Jakeb Thomas also notched three goals apiece for Power.
Although already well beaten by the final change, Moe started the last term brightly with a couple of quick majors, but Wonthaggi was then able to assert its superiority to ensure it won every stanza.
Like Lindsay, Lions captain Jacob Wood showed tenacity for his side, willing to work hard whether in possession or applying pressure to opponents.
He ensured an onball presence for the outgunned Moe and finished with a goal, with Harrison Sim also doing some positive work for the beaten team.
Ben Morrow was named best for the Lions, recognising his toil in the ruck. Harrison Pepper was Moe’s only multiple goalscorer, managing a couple of majors.
Match review via South Gippsland Sentinel Times.

Warragul 13.15.93
Bairnsdale 7.9.51

Warragul finished off their season in style over the weekend as they defeated Bairnsdale to claim one last bit of joy before the end of the season.

The seeming dominance of the final margin did no favours to Bairnsdale, who as previously mentioned looked like they were well and truly on for their third win of the season in the first half, kicking four goals to one in the first quarter. Even when the Gulls began to fight back in the second, the Redlegs still maintained a two-goal advantage at the half.

From there though, the game was absolutely won in the midfield, as where Bairnsdale had enjoyed a strong advantage in the contested ball numbers early, Warragul managed to put their heads down and get to work at the coalface.

Through the work of ruckman Sam Whibley, in combination with the usual suspects in the middle like Nick Mulqueen and Tom Stern, the Gulls took control of the clearance game, while Sean Masterson shored up the backline. Where they had earlier been deprived of forward half opportunities, suddenly they were coming thick and fast, and the forwards were more than happy to capitalise.

In fact, the second half turned into a one-way show for the home fans, who were able to enjoy seeing their side kick 9.10 to just 1.2 to not only wrest control of the game away from Bairnsdale, but totally dominate them in the process.

Superstar goalkicker Jed Lamb finished his year with a bang, kicking five goals, while Brayden Fowler booted three, an equal season-best for him.

Warragul coach Dean Alger paid tribute to his mids, who he said were the main factor in turning the game around.

“We just weren’t winning the contested ball early, but our boys got to work and after that we took control,” he said.

“We wanted to finish off the year well, finish on a good note, so it was really pleasing to get the win.”

Bairnsdale, meanwhile, were simply overwhelmed past the halfway mark of the match. The signs had been there in the second term that their fast start may not have been enough, but the manner in which they capitulated would have been disappointing regardless.

As the midfield battle slipped away from them, as did the will and want of many of their players, who have endured a long and at times torrid season. The Redlegs finished their season with nine straight losses, as their previous match with the Gulls turned out to be their final win of the year. Players like Byron Vickery, Daniel Eastman and Randall Stewart were still giving it their all, but were simply swept aside as Warragul mounted their charge.

It will be back to the drawing board for the club, who have only just barely managed to avoid the wooden spoon.

Warragul, meanwhile, may not have claimed as many wins this year as they would have liked, but considering they won just the one game in the shortened 2021 season their four-and-ahalf wins is cause for optimism.

Dean Alger said the side’s best was capable, but said they had to work on solving “lapses” within games.

“We’re definitely generating momentum in the right direction.” he said.

Match review via Warragul Drouin Gazette, written by Nicholas Duck.

Traralgon 14.9.93
Maffra 5.13.43
Traralgon brought about the end to the second-longest reign in Gippsland League history. The Maroons defeated Maffra 14.9 (93) to 5.13 (43), the fallout of which meant the Eagles missed finals for the first time since 2000. Taking to Terry Hunter Oval, the home side was rarely challenged, and after kicking nine goals to one in the first quarter, set about running the match out with one eye turned to the next week. Brett Eddy kicked five goals for the victors, and received good support from Tye Hourigan, Matt Northe, Hugh Dunbar, Tom Schneider and Tate Marsh. For the Eagles, it was a disappointing way to bow out, especially after appearing to have a finals position all but secured for a large part of the regular season. Jack Challands ended his 2022 with a best afield performance. Others to play well for Maffra were James Read, Alex Carr, James Huts, Tom Thatcher and Andrew Petrou.
Match review via Latrobe Valley Express/Gippsland Times, written by Liam Durkin.

Morwell 9.9.63
Sale 9.1.55
Morwell will remember Saturday, August 20 2022 for a few years to come. To the Tiger faithful, that will forever be known as the day Morwell snaffled the last available spot in the Gippsland League finals series with a thrilling 9.9 (63) to 9.1 (55) win over Sale. Heading into the last round of the season, Morwell needed to win and rely on Traralgon defeating Maffra in order to make the finals. The Tigers rose to the occasion, handing the Magpies their first loss since Round 11, while the Maroons held up their end of the bargain. On what was an emotional day for all connected to the yellow and black, the Stan Morgan Pavilion was officially unveiled before the senior match started. It almost seemed destined then that Morwell players would find the extra motivation needed to win given what was at stake. Mr Morgan was surely looking down proudly after the final siren. With the double-chance locked away, Sale went into the match without key players Shannen Lange, Kane Martin and Ryan Pendlebury. Very little separated the combatants in the first half, and scores were locked at 30 apiece come the main break, although Morwell had registered 4.6 (30) to five straight goals by that stage. The Magpies continued to kick with precision in the third, and took a six-point lead heading into the final term. With their season on the line, the Tigers were faced with 30 minutes of football to determine if it would be the last 30 they played in 2022. News from Traralgon’s game with Maffra came to the Tigers huddle, and with the Maroons having that match sewn-up, Morwell knew then and there the equation was win and play finals. Ina pulsating last quarter, scores were level before Morwell got out to a nine point lead. Sale pegged one back, only for the ball to land in the arms of Tigers captain Boyd Bailey on the final siren. In a perfect script, Bailey went back and slotted the goal, securing victory by eight points and finals by four. Bailey was instrumental for the winners, as was best-on-ground Tyler Brown. Brandon McDonald kicked four goals, while Burkeley Macfarlane, Aidan Quigley and Dan Musil did a great job. Best for Sale was Will Leslie, Jayden Allison, Cooper Whitehill, Jack Leslie, Jack McLaren and Pat Tainsh.
Match review via Latrobe Valley Express/Gippsland Times, written by Liam Durkin.

Foster 6.7.43
Yinnar 7.8.50

It has been somewhat contrasting seasons for these two clubs.

Yinnar started and stopped throughout much of the season; one week showing all the signs of a top of the table side, followed by another where winnable games were lost.

They lined up against a Foster side that, for various reasons, had struggled with player availability early before some strong recruiting and a stable 18 meant the Tigers had finished the season strong.

All of that said, it all came down to three hours on Saturday afternoon to determine which club’s season would end and which would step closer to a grand final berth.

Both clubs were deserving. But, with only room for one, the stakes were high and the close result was one that finally fell the way of the Magpies, 7.8-50 to Foster’s 6.7-43.

Yinnar coach Daniel Taylor was proud of his team’s efforts, believing they were the better team for the majority of the day and should have been further in front early in proceedings.

“What a game, finals footy at its best,” Taylor said. “Two contested ball teams going at it all day, with no easy possession to be had.”

“To Foster’s credit, they threw everything at us.

“When they hit the front in the last, I thought we were in trouble. To my boys’ credit, they managed to wrestle back the momentum and to kick the last two goals of the game was a massive effort.”

“I’m just really proud of the boys,” Taylor added. “We’ve lost six games this year by under 12 points, so to fight our way back late in an elimination final was absolutely huge. It’s character building and has given the group a lot of belief.”

Taylor said all 21 players contributed but thought two players were particularly outstanding.

“There’s been a lot of talk about the Foster forwards, but I thought Brendan Chapman in his 200th senior game for our club did an outstanding job on (Michael) Cooke and, for me, was the best player on the ground,” Taylor said. “Jack Deen also played his usual selfless role and did an outstanding job down back on (Tom) Bartholomew, which went along way to securing the win.”

It was, without question, the type of performance that will give the Magpies belief they are both capable and deserving of the next challenge.

Foster coach Sam Davies said Yinnar was the only team he didn’t want to play, “and today showed why”.

“We were just beaten in a few key areas over the day,” Davies said. “We made errors at critical times, and didn’t utilise the opportunities we had going forward.”

After stealing a spot in the league’s top six, Yinnar are now down to the last four with momentum starting to build at just the right time.

Match review via multiple publications, written by Rob Popplestone.

Boolarra 8.6.54
Hill End 5.6.36

For the neutral supporter, it was hard not to feel torn as to which team to throw your support behind on Sunday.

This was especially true given the paths that led each club to this fork in the road. Boolarra, after many seasons towards the bottom of the table, were looking for their first premiership in more than a decade.

They were competing against a team whose last premiership was more than four decades ago and who had their latest chance just last season cut short by the cruel curse of COVID.

In finals, there is little room for empathy. Rewards often favour the brave, the disciplined, the desperate and, in some cases, the lucky.

In this case, it was bravery by the Demons who fought from behind to win by three goals, 8.6-54 to Hill End’s 5.636.

Boolarra coach Tony Giardina said it was a great win for the club and the boys after a slow start.

“Hill End were playing all over us,” Giardina said. “After half-time, the boys lifted their game and came home really strong, especially being a few players down and losing a few more during the game.”

The win showcased all the elements of a side desperate not to waste the opportunity. The Demons, against quality opposition, found a way to win. In doing so, they denied a long-held dream for the Rovers and coach Mike Santo.

“We were in control of the game at half-time,” Santo reflected. “To Boolara’s credit, they stuck to their game plan and simply wanted it more than we did.”

“Credit to Tony and Boolara on a great win, I wish them all the best next week. Their players handled themselves with class after the game, which didn’t go unnoticed.”

“Unfortunately a few of their spectators and supporters weren’t as gracious with the victory, which was disappointing, but that’s country footy,” Santo added.

Looking ahead, Santo said “we will look to grow from this and bolster our squad and improve on some deficiencies, both playing and coaching wise.”

Match review via multiple publications, written by Rob Popplestone.

All match reviews written by Scott Berechree.

Churchill 6.8.44
Traralgon Tyers United 10.12.72

Traralgon Tyers United won their way through to the North Gippsland Football-Netball League second semi-final after getting over the top of a stoic Churchill at Stephenson Park on Saturday. In a game befitting of second-versus-third, the Bombers overcame a sluggish start to win by 28 points, 10.12 (72) to 6.8 (44). In doing so, they have given themselves a chance to win straight through to the Grand Final if they can overcome Yallourn Yallourn North this Saturday at Rosedale. Churchill on the other hand was consigned to needing to win their way through to the big dance off Broadway; and face elimination at each turn from here on in. And that starts on Sunday when they take on Woodside, who took care of Yarram at Gaskin Park. The late withdrawal of the league’s leading goal kicker Ben Kearns before Saturday’s game left many wondering how the Cougars might boot a winning score. And with the Bombers holding them to a season low 6.8 (44) for the day, those fears were clearly realised at the final siren. Things looked vastly different early though, with Churchill slotting three of the first four gaols and looking like scoring every time they ventured forward. Firstly it was Joey Whykes snapping truly, and then the evergreen Brendan Holt, who picked up a drive-by handball off Tom Sevenson and slotted a major from outside the arc. When Chris Wangman nailed his first for the day the Cougars had kicked three in 10 minutes and things looked grim for TTU. Enter Brad Kelleher. Two strong marks in front of goal saw him kick the Bombers’ second and third, and with his second coming just as the siren marked quarter time, the Bombers jogged to their huddle down by only two points, after been mostly outplayed for the first term. With Chris Williams and Michael Diaz in every-thing for Churchill early, TTU coach Jamie Aitken swung the changes with full effect and the second quarter was all red and black. The Bombers had 11 of the 12 scoring shots for the quarter. With Rowan Hore and Tom Fleming marking freely up the ground, it was left to Liam Willaton and Stuart Goddard to put the finishing touches on for the Bombers as they went forward. After a series of misses it was Willaton who snagged back-to-back goals, and at the seven and 11 minute mark of the second terra, the Bombers’ dominance was finally starting to show on the scoreboard. In fact a series of missed opportunities from Jye Neilson and Jayden Cutts was all that stood between TTU and an unassailable lead at the main break. If not fora Cain Iorangi snap around the corner midway through the term for Churchill, it might well have been a bridge too far as the sides made haste for the sheds at the long interval. With Churchill losing Ryan Lowrie and Angus Mitchell to injury in the second term, it was going to take something special for the Cougars to get back in the game after the change. The Cougar brain trust moved the magnets around over the long break and put Kurt Holt into the nick and moved Dillon Leys forward. Wangman was sent into defence to curb Kelleher’s influence and Riley Flanigan was asked to run with TrU’s most dominant onballer to that point in time Michael Jacobsen. Leys had dominated the ruck early but with Jacobsen, Mitch Mustoe and Willaton getting their hands on everything in the middle for the Bombers, his dominance was not reflected on the scoreboard. With both sides knowing what was at stake, a 15-minute arm wrestle opened the second half before that man again, Kelleher, marked and goaled for the Bombers. If the large lady wasn’t yet ready to sing she had at the very least started to loosen up the vocal cords. At the 15-minute mark Whykes won a free kick and 50-metre penalty to see Churchill get one back, but the term finished with Hore kicking truly, also from a free kick, leaving the Bombers 22 points up and on the cusp of victory at the last change. Quinn Sinclair and Jack Brown were intercept-ing everything for TTU, and with Trent Hourigan finding targets by foot from defence, it was all but impossible to see how Churchill could claw back into the game. The last quarter started with TTU opting to run with their third ruck option to start the quarter, which provided them the chance to shore up their defensive unit. With Hore and Fleming swapping as loose players across half-back between them and Jack Brown, Churchill simply could not hit the scoreboard. When Sevenson hit the deck after a courageous attempt to win the footy resulting in play being stopped while has was helped from the ground,
Churchill had fired their best shot and come up short. There is still plenty of footy left in the season for both sides. Churchill will be keen to get Jake Roe-Duggan and Ben Skinner back on the park, along with Kearns when they next take the park. While for ‘ITU, they will be looking forward to taking on YYN for a spot in the grand final this weekend. The Bombers looked to be at almost full strength on Saturday, however the long sleeves and left foot of Kade Duncan were noticeable absentees on a wing.

Yarram 5.15.45
Woodside 11.16.82

In the Sunday clash, Woodside chalked up win number one over their fiercest rival Yarram for season 2022 when it mattered most. Going into the game zero and two for the year and having won three fewer games than the Demons during the season, it was widely expected the Wildcats were up against it in the elimination final. After a first quarter where both sides managed only one goal each, it was an inaccurate Yarram who led by four points. The tone was set for an arm wrestle and the huge crowd were anticipating a slug-fest that would go right down to the wire. Fast forward three quarters and the underdog managed a further 10 majors while restricting Yarram to just four more. The final scoreboard read 11.16 (82) to 5.15 (45). Inaccuracy plagued the Yarram side all day, but at the last change the Demons were still well in the contest, trailing by just 10 points. The last quarter however was all one-way traffic, with Woodside slamming on five majors to one to see local bragging rights and at least one more week of finals for the Wildcats. It was the Wildcats first finals win since forming as Woodside and District in 2008.

Wy Yung 12.8.80
Stratford 12.9.81

The Swans won through to the East Gippsland football grand final in the most dramatic circumstances.
As the first quarter unfolded however, things appeared to be going as most neutral supporters expected. A four goal wind saw Wy Yung take an advantage well beyond that by sending through eight majors in the first quarter. It was an auspicious start given every time the Tigers went inside 50 they scored – they had 10 inside 50s for a return of 8.2 (50). The Swans however did not panic, and came out after quarter time and went ‘now it’s our turn’. Stratford kicked seven goals in a row during the second, and entered the half-time break ahead by one point.
By the third term the wind had died down, and with Wy Yung throwing an extra behind the ball, scoring became less frequent. The Swans added two straight goals to hold a four-point lead heading into the last. Stratford playing-coach Jarryd Clohesy implored his troops for one last effort, and the men in red and white duly delivered – by the barest of margins. Defence was at full capacity for both sides, who simply refused to yield. Wy Yung could only manage 1.1 (8), while the Swans only mustered up four measly behinds. Those behinds were worth this weight in gold.
Haydn Erfurth was a clear best-on-ground, booting six goals, while Regan Tait, Nick French, Clohesy, Jack Bacon and William Webb also played well. Best for Wy Yung were Jock Overend, Norman Betts, Dylan Somerville, Nick Ward, Brad Daniel
and Daniel Perrin.
For Clohesy, he has now achieved the very rare feat of making a grand final in his first year of coaching, while the players have achieved a week’s rest in the lead-up to the decider. “To knock them off and know you are going through to the grand final, it was definitely high elation,” Clohesy said. “I brought all the boys in and said ‘how good does that feel? Let’s now concentrate on two weeks’ time – it feels good now but how good would the feeling be in two weeks’ time’.”
While the match didn’t start on a hugely positive note, Closhey said he was proud of the response.
“At the start of the game we just didn’t give them enough respect,” he said. “They are a very good side that spread quite well with a very young, fast side. After quarter time we spoke about that and quelled that and used the wind to our advantage to get back into the game, from there we just had to stop their outside run.
“I just told them to stick to the structures and explain that it is just a very minor detail as to why they were beating us, you take the four-goal wind out of it and suddenly it is a two goal-game.”
As for the nail-biting last quarter, Clohesy said his three quarter time message revolved around nothing more than effort.
“(Just to) not leave anything in the tank. Do everything you can in the next 25 minutes and you’ll get a week break,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I felt we had it won but I felt the boys were in good shape for the whole last quarter. I thought we were in a good head space, when they were coming back there was no dropping of the heads.”

Match review via Gippsland Times, written by Liam Durkin

Lindenow 10.10.70
Lucknow 10.8.68
A brave Lindenow held on to beat a gallant Lucknow by two points in a thrilling Last Gippsland Football Netball League elimination semi final at Stratford last Sunday. The victorious Cats can now focus on a preliminary final date with Wy Yung this weekend, an opportunity to build on the record of winning three of the last four EGFNL grand finals that have been played, culminating with their pre-COVID success in 2019. The Magpies were left to me missed chances that came with dominating the last quarter, only being able to register one goal and five behinds to the Cats’ 1.2. In game that was an arm wrestle for most of day, on several occasions Lindenow threatened to blow it wide open. However a relentless Lucknow wouldn’t lie down.
Lindenow led at quarter time after totally dominating, the Magpies struggling to get the ball out of defence on many occasions – the ball was cleared only to be marked and sent back from where it came. A late goal from Lucknow’s Ash Smith narrowed the margin to eight points which flattered the Magpies as both sides sucked in the big breaths at the break, the match played at a frantic pace in ideal conditions. In an even second quarter, Lindenow was inaccurate and missed chances it would normally convert, while at the other end the Magpies were efficient and made their most of the opportunities. Lucknow’s Darren Allen and Lindenow’s Lachlan Dumaresq were lively in the respective forward lines, both kicking two goals for the quarter. Dion Grace and Kevin Bongers were having a great tussle in the ruck, some of the exquisite tap outs distributed by Bongers seeing him come out on top.
Lindenow coach Luke Dyer gathered 10 possessions in a busy second term and his side went inside 50 more times than the Pies but Luke Belfrage, Stevie Bertino and company did a great job repelling the attacks – they were the main reason their side led at the long break. The third quarter saw the Cats finally get some scoreboard reward for their efforts, kicking five goals to three to turn for home with 25 minutes to play and a handy five-point buffer. Allen put the Pies in front early, before Ben Jones answered quickly to have the Cats back in front. Grace put Lucknow back in front at the 11-minute mark and when a Dyer free kick was reversed and the dangerous Tommy Southern kicked his second. Lucknow was seven points in front and looking good. But the Cats weren’t going to lie down, kicking three goals in five minutes with Dumaresq nailing his third, a downfield free kick seeing Will Blackley get his third and when Kane Ashwood got on the board the match had changed quickly and the Cats were 11 points in front deep in time on. Allen kicked his fourth with the siren in sight to keep his side’s dream alive.
It all came down to one quarter and it certainly wasn’t the prettiest either side has played, both sides only kicking a solitary goal each. Lindenow scaled at the three-minute mark when Ashwood kicked his second after finding himself in the goal square with no one within 20 metres. Jackson Smith narrowed the margin to three points at the 10-minute mark, before the sides slogged it out for a long 15-minute period. Lucknow had a couple of chances in time on to win. Belfrage and Tyron Turner both kicking behinds from right on their range, the latter’s point going through on the siren, much to the delight of Lindenow players and spectators. Best players for Lindenow were Stephen Henshaw, swingman Travis Lawson, Dyer, Dumaresq, Blackley, Blandford and Bongers.
Joel McNamara was again outstanding for the Magpies. ably supported by Southern. Jesse Glassborrow. Bertino. Belfrage and the lively Allen.
Match review via the Bairnsdale Advertiser.

Swifts Creek 10.6.66
Swan Reach 8.13.61
Swifts Creek is through to the 2022 Omeo and District Football Netball League grand final after scoring a dramatic extra time victory over Swan Reach at Lindenow South on Saturday.
When the siren sounded to end the fourth quarter, Swifts Creek and Swan Reach were locked together at 54 apiece, with two halves of five minutes required to try and break the deadlock. It was the third time in an ODFNL match had gone into overtime in this millennium. Confusion reigned as goal umpires checked the score cards, while league officials patrolled the boundary line, the rules stating that coaching staff aren’t allowed to enter the field of play to address their playing groups. Play resumed, stakes high, with the winner gaining the right to play Lindenow South at the Omeo Recreation Reserve this Saturday in the big dance. Swifts Creek kicked the first goal of extra time at the two-minute mark when Beau Hack (31 possessions) found his brother Jesse (19 possessions) in some space 15 metres from goal. He made no mistake. Beau Hack, who had been soundly beaten by Jesse Guarnaccia (18 possessions) in the first half, was outstanding in the second half. Will Addison was moved onto him in the third quarter but Hack was unstoppable accumulating more than 20 possessions in the second half and extra time.
Swan Reach quickly replied, coach Joel Waters (20 possessions) kicking truly to level the scores once again. The Swans went forward again after a peat build up only for the ball to be rushed through on the line by a Demons defender. Waters had a chance after the siren to increase his side’s advantage but his kick fell short. The second stanza of extra time saw the mercurial Che Davies, the defender-turned-forward, kick his fourth and most important goal. With Swifts Creek leading by five points, Swan Reach went forward several times with conviction, only to be thwarted close to goal by a closing fist by Demons captain Tom King or an act of Swifts Creek desperation. One act saw courageous Demons ruck/rover, Jesse Hack, carried from the field after putting his body on the line as he went back with the flight of the ball with Swans forwards Charles Solomon and Lucky Whelan closing late with purpose. The game looked to be over when Swifts Creek’s Harold Hood marked twice within the last 45 seconds within 20 metres of goal. Heart and pulse rates increased dramatically as he opted not to have a shot, the Demons playing a game of keepings off, which nearly came unstuck several times. The ball was backward of centre when the final siren sounded, ending an epic battle which could have quite easily gone either.
Swifts Creek continued their outstanding preliminary final record, now having won 14 of 19 outings since 1978. In contrast the Swan Reach hoodoo continued, having only been victorious in one preliminary final from nine attempts. Swifts Creek coach, David Westland, was delighted with his side’s performance.
“We had no passengers, our players gave it our all and we have given ourselves a chance at a flag,” Westland said.
A proud and passionate Westland was almost brought to tears as he addressed his gallant troops post match.
“I’m so proud of every single one of our players. we had blokes out there injured still giving their all for the side and each other.” Westland said.
Although reluctant to single out players for their efforts, Westland was full of praise for Davies, Cam Johnson and Robbie Crellin.
“Davies lifted and stood up as a forward today. Johnson gets better every week and Robbie (Cronin) has been a project and I’ve been at him the last few weeks and he delivered today.” Westland said.
Earlier the game was all tied up at quarter time and Swan Reach had a two-point advantage at halftime before making their moving in the third quarter. They kicked three goals to one to lead by 17 points at three quarter time. They included goals to Tyler Hood, Whelan and Guarnaccia. Whelan kicked five of the eight Swans goals for the day, an outstanding effort given his obvious restriction with a hamstring strain. He rarely roamed further than five or 10 metres from the goal square. Hood and Darcy Sumner were instrumental in the Swan Reach resurgence with their run and carry ability.
At the other end Dylan Hack was playing after having finger tendon surgery on the previous Monday. Usually a key backman, he was a target up forward. The last quarter belonged to Swifts Creek who had dominated the inside 50 count but were finally rewarded with scoreboard pressure, kicking four goals to one to level the match at the end of the fourth quarter. Crellin goaled early after moving forward from his role in the ruck, marking strongly 15 metres out. Enter Davies, with two incredible snaps. that brought the crowd in the change rooms pocket to their feet, the second putting his side in front. When Solomon missed from 45 shortly soon after, it was all tied up again with the end in sight. As the game ticked into time on Waters was cleaned up in the centre square, Whelan happily slotting the resulting downfield free kick to give the Swans the advantage with a couple of minutes to play. The Demons went forward where Arthur Wright. who had been creative and handy throughout the match, received a free kick deep in the pocket against the boundary. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to take his kick, hobbling to the boundary, while Davies slotted another from the impossible to tie the match and ensure it went to extra time. Best players for Swifts Creek were Davies, Crellin, Johnson, Mark Cooper, Matt Stoddard and Beau Hack. Swan Reach were well served by Whelan, Waters, Guarnaccia, Sumner, Will Cantrill and Addison.
Match review via Bairnsdale Advertiser.

Warragul Industrials 5.5.35
Coburg Seconds 1.2.8
BEST: Matilda Van Berkel, Jess Szalek, Carlee Maher, Nicole Sheridan, Chloe Bailey, Samara Beaton
GOALS: Samara Beaton Carlee Maher Shanara Notman Jess Szalek Matilda Van Berkel 1.

Bass Coast Breakers 7.1.43
Karingal 6.5.41
BEST: Imogen Bradford, Tayla Tatterson, Stacey Poke, Jenna Russo, Sophie McCracken-Evans, Sunday Brisbane
GOALS: Imogen Bradford 3, Ella Cargill Kelly O’Neill Tayla Tatterson Jenna Russo 1.
THE Breakers travelled to Seaford for their first final against Karingal.
Kicking with the light wind, the
Breakers got off to a great start with Ella Cargill kicking their first goal.
The Breakers defence was strong
with Stacey Poke cutting everything off at half back.
A long set shot goal from Immy Brad
ford had the Breakers up and about, with Kelly O’Neill adding another set shot goal late in the quarter.
The Breakers three goal to nil first
quarter lead quickly evaporated, with Karingal coming out firing in the second quarter, rattling off three quick goals.
However, Karingal kicked two more
quick goals to take the lead. Another set shot conversion to Immy Bradford
brought the score back to the closest
of margins just before half time.
The third quarter was another
tight tussle.
The Breakers were able to add two
goals to their tally with Immy Bradford adding her third and a brilliant running goal from Tayla Tatterson, giving the team a slight buffer going into the last.
Karingal got an early goal – however,
the Breakers were then able to lock it in their forward line.
A 25m penalty by the Breakers could
have been costly – putting the ball in Karingal’s forward line.
The Breakers flooded Karingal’s for
ward line and worked hard to shut the ball down creating stoppage after stoppage to chew up the remaining time.

Lang Lang 5.3.33
Cerberus 5.5.35
BEST: Chloe Lenders, Emily Lesjak, Ebony Whitworth, Sam Cobb, Cait van Dord, Kelly Cerra
GOALS: Ebony Whitworth 3, Hayley Dyer Jessica Fowler 1.

Warragul Industrials Development Team 2.3.15
Mornington Reserves 5.7.37
BEST: Tayla Lochki, Bonnie Mahoney, Sarah Lorkin, Britt Kilner, Amanda Hines, Laura Hender
GOALS: Lisa Creely, Rachael Pendlebury 1.

Moe-Newborough 6.5.41
Lindenow South 2.2.14
Moe-Newborough – Not available
Lindenow South – Not available
Moe-Newborough – Not available
Lindenow South – Brodi Harris, Kathy Whittingham 1.


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