Tooradin Dalmore 13.10.88
Phillip Island 6.6.42

A 25-year drought has finally come to end for the Tooradin-Dalmore Football Netball Club after the Seagulls became the champions of West Gippsland football with a 46-point grand final victory over Phillip Island. Five goals to Julian Suarez, and a best-on-ground performance from ruckman Piva Wright, propelled the Seagulls to one of the greatest days in the club’s history at the Garfield Recreation Reserve.

The spotlight was well and truly on the senior football team, with coach Lachie Gillespie and his impressive array of stars looking to add further glory to Jon Gahan’s 1997 success. Kicking into a strengthening breeze in the first term, the Gulls matched, then bettered the Bulldogs, who had jumped the Seagulls in their two most previous outings.

The Seagulls took a 13-point lead to quarter time, and never looked in danger of defeat after extending the margin to 29 points at the main break. Two goals in three minutes to Suarez – midway through the third term – stretched the lead to 40 points and the battle for this year’s premiership was effectively over.

Gillespie was a proud coach as he absorbed the atmosphere after the match.

“I’m super proud of every one of them,” he said.

“We tried to work really hard on the fact that we didn’t need to do anything outside of our normal game and just embrace that first quarter,” he said.

“We know they’re a champion team and they were going to come hard, they threw everything at us, that was their best chance, and we just thought we had to try to be better for longer.

“I’m rapt, but I’m more rapt because everyone is happy.

“We’ve won it, and that feels great, but our club is in a great position, with our 16s coming through, our 18s are great, our reserves won, the seniors won, and that puts us in a good position moving forward.”

At the same time, skipper Jordan Kelly was still trying to get his head around being a senior premiership captain.

“That sounds very surreal, I’m a bit shocked, still in shock, it’s been a long time coming, I’ve been here nine years” he said. “Relief is what I’m feeling at the moment.

“25 years is a long time, but we’ve done it now and it’s unbelievable to be honest, you have to pinch yourself to make sure it’s real.”

Match review via Pakenham Gazette, written by David Nagel.

Neerim South 11.14.80
Ellinbank 10.12.72

Neerim South have bounced back to avoid a straight set exit, with a sublime second quarter helping the Cats move past Ellinbank and into this week’s grand final.

The dominant side of 2022 meeting the dominant side of 2021 promised a closely contested preliminary final and Ellinbank didn’t go down without a fight.

A five goal second quarter handed the Cats a handy buffer but the Eagles would charge home, ultimately falling eight points short to go down 11-14 (80) to 10-12 (72).

Lachlan Bambridge turned and went straight away from 50 metres to find Matt Roberts on the last line, who duly put through a check-side to begin the second quarter charge for the Cats.

Both sides had forced changes as they emerged from the rooms for the warmup before observing a minute of silence in respect for Queen Elizabeth II.

Matt Kelleher came into the Cats side with Ben Fitzpatrick missing, while for Ellinbank Jacob Walker and Alex Olsen were among the inclusions as Shaun Phelan couldn’t get up from some hamstring soreness last week.

Both sides played out an entertaining first term that saw the Urie brothers going head to head in the middle and Tyssen Morrow going to Nat Paredes.

There were danger signs for the Eagles early as the Cats put the first three goals on the board. Kody Wilson roved a smother superbly to find Bambridge for the opener before Luke Kinder converted from a free kick for high contact.

Lachlan Guy sent the Cats from the middle with Bambridge putting through an opportunistic toe poke to make it three on the bounce.

Tom Johnson responded with the much-needed steadier as the Eagles moved to close the gap, Paredes following up with a strong mark for their second.

Kinder started on the wing and pushed forward, his pace too much to go with as his long shot off one step carried everyone for a goal.

The Eagles went coast to coast for the response, Daniel Risol finding Paredes who worked through the middle with a one-two combination to find Anthony Battista 25 metres in front.

Zach Holton picked off a chip kick from defence to convert from just inside 50 to close the margin to three points at the first change.

The Cats then made their move in the second term, adding five goals to nil.

Roberts’ check-side was followed by a brilliant left foot running goal tucked against the boundary from Nick Caddy.

Kinder snapped expertly from 40 metres before Morrow put through a snap of his own, the Cats finishing with their ninth when Bambridge took advantage of a slip from Liam Anderson to convert from the lead.

Ellinbank would challenge in the second half as the Cats finishing with a 1-7 return in the third term, missing an opportunity to put the Eagles away.

The Eagles made changes which looked to pay off, Johnson sent to defence and Risol and Ben Wragg spending time forward as Paredes continued to collect touches at will.

Adam Cook took a big mark before Ryan Atherton ran into the open goal to close the gap.

Guy was gifted the much-needed steadier for the Cats with Paredes punished for a breach of the stand rule.

Paredes would make up for his indiscretion with a remarkable goal to begin the third term, his shot sailing through despite kicking the ball while being rotated in a strong tackle.

The ball had been living in Ellinbank’s forward half without much reward until Michael Urie goaled to close within 15 points.

Ashley Lockett converted from 30 metres for the Cats, and it would prove enough for the Cats to hold on despite one final charge from Ellinbank.

Wragg brought it back to 14 points at the 23-minute mark, but time was of the essence.

With the Cats defending with all they had, Wragg put one through off hands in the goal square to give some late fleeting hope, but the contest would ultimately end just one minute later to see the Cats hold on.

Match review via Warragul Drouin Gazette, written by Davyd Reid.

Wonthaggi 5.7.37
Sale 8.13.61

Sale stormed into the Gippsland League Grand Final after defeating Wonthaggi in the Preliminary Final on Saturday. The Magpies reversed their result from the qualifying final, beating the Power by 24 points.

Taking to Morwell Recreation Reserve, Sale led at every change to make their first decider in 10 years. Tricky conditions made scoring difficult, and while the game itself was not a great spectacle, Sale took a number of opportunities in front of goal. The Magpies registered six scoring shots to one in the first quarter, which set up a gap of 15 points by the time the siren sounded for the opening break. This margin ended up being the story of the day. Sale held on, while Wonthaggi was unable to bridge the gap. Key forward Brad Dessent clunked two telling marks followed by just as many telling goals for the winners, while the experience of Kane Martin and Chris Laverty, especially after half-time, was seen in earnest.

The Magpies kicked three goals to two in the third, and went into the last change 22-points ahead. This was almost a mirror image of the three quarter time lead Wonthaggi held in the qualify-ing final against Sale – 28 points. With the shoe now on the other foot, the Magpies were not going to let this golden opportunity slip. A stalemate ensued in the final term. Neither side managed a goal, but this mattered little to Sale, as the sound of the final siren meant they had booked their ticket to the decider.

Jack McLaren was best for the Magpies, followed by Shannen Lange, Ryan Pendlebury, Will Leslie, Jake Hutchins and Jack McLindin. Pendlebury looks set to go into the Grand Final alongside Martin and Laverty as the sole survivors from Sale’s last premiership in 2012. While he wasn’t listed in the top six, Sale playing-coach Jack Johnstone led by example, and was best on ground in the eyes of some present at Morwell on Saturday. The tag on Lange was mostly ineffective, while the Magpie defence led by Leslie did an outstanding job, particularly in keeping Troy Harley goal-less. Harley was Sale’s nemesis in the qualifying final, booting seven goals. Best for Wonthaggi were Josh Bates, Toma Huther, Jarryd Blair, Aiden Lindsay, Sharman Bray and Ryan Sparkes.

Match review via Gippsland Times, written by Liam Durkin.

Newborough 5.7.37
Yinnar 8.9.57

With both teams extremely well coached, and with enormous talent at their disposal, the clash didn’t disappoint.

Yinnar eventually claiming victory and securing a premiership on the back of a most disciplined and methodical four quarter performance – Yinnar 8-9-57 to Newborough 5-7-37

The win was the stuff of legends. The Magpies only secured their finals position in the last round of the home and away season before starting a stunning winning streak that saw them beat the very best teams in the competition culminating in their 2022 MGFNL premiership.

Yinnar coach Daniel Taylor said he did not know what to say – “obviously we’re stoked.”

“The effort they put in to get here, I knew we were a chance if we got there and I really couldn’t be prouder. The game was hard and physical and that’s when we play our best football.”

Just a kick separated the two at the first break with Newboroigh leading 2-1-13 to 1-1-7 and Yinnar doing well to keep the Bulldogs within reach against a strong wind.

The Magpies lifted the bar in the second term, winning more of the 50-50 contests and using the ball well with the wind at their back, two goals to Harrison McColl, and singles to Blake Van Der Meer and Stuart Patten giving Yinnar a three goal lead at half time.

“The pressure was on and that’s when we play our best football we really ramped it up and got on top of the game and the rest is history,” Taylor said.

Dreams can be made in a third quarter and Newborough wanted to keep theirs alive, adding goals from Josh Bland, Pat Charles and Peter Ainsworth, whilst keeping the Magpies goalless and wrestling back the lead albeit by just one point at the final break.

“We had lost so many close games but the boys have just kept fronting up. Just kept playing footy with mates. We hadn’t had a chance for a couple of years and these guys gave a hundred per cent and I could not be prouder,” Taylor said.

That effort of the Magpie squad wrestled back the lead in the final term and the performance of best on ground Ned Marsh was pivotal in that with his last quarter goal from a boundary throw a highlight that had to be seen to be believed.

Newborough was beaten but not finished. Newborough coach Craig Skinner said his team gave everything they could and he couldn’t ask for more than that. “We were beaten on the inside and the outside by a side that has been touching the footy a lot more than us and it shone out on the day. That was the best we could do but we will be back and better.”

“We have a good group and there is not a person going anywhere, they say you have to lose one to win one. The only time you’re going to say that is when you lose one – but we are not going to lose anymore,” Skinner said.

Match review via multiple publications, written by Rob Popplestone.

Traralgon Tyers United 9.8.62
Yallourn Yallourn North 16.10.106

In their debut season in the North Gippsland Football Netball League, Yallourn Yallourn North has taken the 2022 NGFNL premiership with their 16.10 (106) to 9.6 (62) Grand Final win over Traralgon Tyers United.

Thousands of spectators congregated around Heyfield Football-Netball Club’s football field’s edge, some with banners, some with balloons, some dressed in football team costumes, to watch the North Gippsland Football Grand Final on Saturday afternoon. The siren’s sound signified the games beginning; the Jets’ engine stalled, the Bombers came out swinging, and by the end of the first quarter, TTU was in the lead 4.4 (28) to 1.0 (6).

Maybe the Bombers were a bit cold, or perhaps a bit sore, or maybe it was a case of going too hard, too soon. But, whatever it was, they dropped the ball, and the Jets flew, in almost evening the score. Returning after the first-quarter break, YYN dominated the field, kicking four goals and four points, but a goal and two points from TTU saw the Bombers cling to a two-point lead at the end of a rough second quarter. TTU 5.6 (36), YYN 5.4 (34).

Fast forward to the end of the third, YYN kicked eight goals and two behinds; the Jets had well and truly taken off. Despite TTU’s failing efforts to keep them in the game, kicking just two goals in the third, Liam Willaton put forward a valiant performance for the Bombers with an unwavering hunger for the ball. YYN 13.6 (84), TTU 4.8 (48). The clouds congregated, hiding the last of the sun, and a bitter wind sent shivers down spines as the Bombers and Jets returned to the field for the final quarter.

This was it, the final hoorah, and all eyes were on Keenan Hughes, having kicked seven of the Jets’ 13 goals. Exercising his mastery of reading the game and showcasing some fancy footwork, playing coach Barrie Burnett kicked a cracker of a goal, sending the Jets to a soaring lead in the opening minutes of the fourth. Take a bow Keenan Hughes. Just two minutes later, Hughes takes a mark inside the 50, kicking another goal for the Jets and his eighth goal of the game. In thirty seconds, Hughes finds the ball again and adds another goal to his NGFNL Grand Final repertoire, taking YYN to a 16.8 (104) to 8.7 (55) lead over TTU. The Bombers scrounged up a goal in the 19th minute, with TTU’s Trent Harrigan, Rowan Hore and Hayden Willaton the best of the boys in black. TTU captain Jye Neilson found the ball in the 22nd minute, taking a mark just meters from the goal line, but failed to convert another goal for the Bombers as the ball skewed behind the goalpost with a punch from YYN’s defence.

The siren blared, the game was done. Cheers oscillated across the grounds; streams of red and yellows glowed upon the field as spectators raced towards the Jets, celebrating their 16.10 (106) to 9.8 (62) win over the Bombers in a shower of hugs and beer. After a deafening victory song at the fields centre, the Jets took their position by the NGFNL podium to receive their well-deserved premiership medals, presented by the littlest members of the YYN FNC community. A touching end to a historic day.

It was no surprise that Keenan Hughes was voted best on ground, having kicked an impressive nine goals in the NGFNL Grand Final. Darcy Shellcot, Callum Robertson, playing-coach Barrie Burnett, Campbell MacInnes and Dylan Bath were also fundamental players for the Jets. The smile on Burnett’s face said it all, pure elation. “I’m absolutely ecstatic,” Burnett said. “After the first quarter, yeah, we didn’t come out to play properly, and then we just, we got the game on our terms. I am just so happy for everyone around, all the supporters and everyone.”

Despite the Jets’ delayed take-off, Burnett couldn’t be happier with his team’s performance, saying the boys played “absolutely fantastic”. “When you got a bloke like Keenan Hughes, who goes in and kicks nine goals, just a standout, like everyone played their role, but then you get a superstar like him, it’s just yeah, good,” Burnett said “Everyone doubted us; everyone said we would be fourth, fifth on the ladder, but we come in our first year, and we took the f.***g flag.”

Match review via Gippsland Times, written by Zoe Askew

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