It is not often the AFL takes the lead from a local league. In fact it is usually quite the opposite with local leagues now resting players, eating lollies after the game and basically becoming more and more professional. All of the above are things I reckon those of us at club level have stolen from those in the AFL. So when the AFL is seen to be following the lead of a local league it really is a big deal. So kudos to the Mid Gippy for showing the way by having a bye week between the final round and the commencement of the finals. Muchos kudos in fact. I know you all saw scores in the paper saying games were played and some of you even probably popped along to watch some footy but when the ladder doesn’t change, not one little bit, was it really a round of footy? We have known for months, well I have anyway, what the finals set up will be and so it is- after last week’s bye- we kick things off this weekend precisely as expected some 2 months ago.

But before we get to this weekend and the finals action I need to take one last chance to talk up Newborough, shit stir old mate from Thorpy and write the name of the legendary Muggsy Mooka. So with that in mind it makes sense we review last week’s non-events before moving on to the games being played this week- yep the very same finals games we knew were going to be played just after the Easter Bunny departed.

In no particular, order other than that dictated to me by Sporting Pulse, Boolarra played Traf. Boolarra were exactly twice as good too by the looks of things. 64 to 32. How the mighty have fallen. In times gone by Traf scoring 4-8-32 against Boolarra would have generated a decent quarter time bake from the coach for inaccuracy. Sadly on this occasion 4-8-32 was all the Ships could muster for the duration of the game. Boolarra led by the Milkman’s son Blackers and Couttsy, who has probably won himself another years match payments on the back of a decent finish to the season, managed to drag their side to victory and in doing so wrapped up 8th spot. Not bad if you are in the AFL but essentially 3rd last if you are in the MGFL.

In a match that some folks, namely Browny and his mates from Vary Street, think could be a preview to a week 2 final YYN took to Morwell East and beat them by a dozen or so goals. After being in the mix early East grabbed their ankles and played victim to a rampant Bomber out-fit for the last 3 quarters of the match. The little big man, who has presumably stopped sulking, kicked 5 for the winners and was ably assisted by Brooks, the returning Hutton and D Mac. For East Richards brother Ben kicked 2 and was named best. A pretty yuck way to wind up the H and A season for East but they have had a lock on 5th spot for so long some of their supporters considered it to be a long term relationship and contacted Child Support and Centrelink to see what they were entitled to. Not sure if you can just flick a switch and find form but I guess that’s not really my worry.

Newborough would up their regular season with a perfunctory victory over Yarragon. And yes I wrote that to simply make you all go scrambling for a dictionary. 116 to 29 seems about right. The players who are usually good were good, those who usually kick goals kicked goals. The winners have the week off as they finished on top and the losers have the next 6 months off as thy finished somewhere outside the top 5. And before you criticise my lack of interest consider this- at least I bothered to write an article this week. In fact writing this article is the main reason I came into work today.

The Thorpy win over Hill End is one of the few things I can think of that is currently less interesting than Pokemon Go. Remember when that was a thing? Muggsy was best on for the Hill-man- of course- and Adam Tagliaferro who enjoys my articles as much as I enjoy the Vegan lifestyle kicked 2.

The final game of the round served to highlight the gap between the top 3 sides and the rest of the comp. Yinnar who have had 4th spot in their keeping seemingly since Australia Day got rolled by 6 gaols. Mirboo North who are second are approximately 6 gaols better than Yinnar. Their average age is likely about 6 years older too so in some ways it makes sense. Anyways if I am right and wrong these sides will play again in 2 weeks where we would well expect the same result. So the right and wrong reference, what’s it means…….read on.

This week Yinnar take on Morwell East. I think Yinnar will win. And they will. We also see North take on North, Mirboo and Yallourn that is. I think Mirboo will win. S if I am right and wrong Yinnar will play Mirboo North in week 2 of the finals. Simple eh???

The better of these two games will be when the North’s collide. Second V third should be a good game and as long as the second hand smoke that occasionally wafts down from the Boolarra hills doesn’t distract the players this game will be a ripper. D Mac, Bails and Hutton hold the keys for the Bombers. Those three fellas all need to appear in the Bomber best for them to win. For Mirboo North their talent runs much deeper. An interesting measure would be to check the pockets of these two clubs as they too run deep, real deep!

Anyways to the footy- Ubby Taylor, coming off his B and F win, will be priority one for the Yallourn lads to stop. Not only does he get plenty of the pill he also hits the scoreboard. Same applies to a raft of Tiger on ballers and smaller players. Zach Kilgower leads the way for the Tiger goal kickers but the returning Jesse Giardina averages nearly a goal more per game. These lads play as the focal points in the front half but they are only 2 of the Tiger lads to have kicked 10 or more for the year.

Conversely the Bombers funnel their attack via D Mac, Phillips, when he isn’t sulking and Hutton. Barry Brooks has also racked up over 30 majors for the year. The stopping job on D Mac is not redundant but if the Bombers get any sort of supply he will find a way to score. That supply needs to be cut off at CHF which is precisely why putting the brakes on Hutton is the deciding factor. He can launch from outside 50 so he needs a hard stopper all the way to centre wing. And when he roams that far the space he opens up behind him leaves plenty of room for D Mac and Brooks to get their hands on it. This could be the best final played in the MGFL this season and for what it is worth I think the Tigers will get the points.

In the other final East and Yinnar battle it out for the right to keep their season alive for an additional week. And I do mean just the one more week. Yinnar started the season off like super stars and are the only team to roll Newborough in season 2016. However as is often the way with a team made up predominately of children and senior citizens injury and fatigue have taken their toll. The future is strong at Yinnar with the number of kids they have blooded but how far they can take them in this year’s final series is questionable.

East have shown sharp improvement since swapping a big for a small and a medium with Churchill at the end of 2015. Big Browny has carried both his lunch box and the hopes of the Hawks on his shoulders for all of the year. With a few elder statesmen filtering back in to the East outfit of late they absolutely fancy their chances of a finals win. The Marks lads, Bones Barnes and Paul Henry are more than capable of kicking a winning score if they get enough of the pill in their vicinity. Even old “05” Froody is showing the odd sign of life as the finals kick off.

So who wins? Yinnar. Aitken, Wilson and potentially Blackford provide plenty of marking options in the Magpie front end. Admittedly if the ball comes to ground they become spectators their crumbing on ballers like Mowat and Grinstead-Jones will get the job done. Assuming Browny doesn’t kill Tubby in a ruck match up that could well provide the lowest combined IQ ever recorded I am happy to stick with the Pies.

About now you might expect a few tips on the races. Well sadly my working day is nearly done given that it is quickly approaching 14:00 hours so you will have to wait for the NGFNL article to work out which horses will and won’t be winning Saturday. Good luck to all and I hope your team wins- as long as your team is Yinnar of course.