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ROUND 11 REVIEW – by Laurie Williams


In the closest match of the round Hill End were put under pressure from a determined Morwell East side in a game that went to the wire, the Hillmen surviving by 5 points in a thriller to protect their unbeaten run. The lead changed many times throughout the match with the result in doubt up to the 31st minute of the last quarter. Nick Grainger had the East on the board within the first minute of play which was doubled up by Frank Marks. The pressure was on both sides and the ball carrier was tackled fiercely as the umpires struggled to keep pace with the action. Chase Saunders scored Hill End’s first goal and his 100th for the club after a free kick. He would go on to kick a further four goals for the match but came under heavy heckling from the fence at which he appropriately acknowledged. The East hit the front at the siren time from Frank Marks after receiving a double 50. Big Cal Rees was a powerhouse for the Hillmen with consistent tap downs in the centre duels although at times he got a bit over excited. It was goal for goal in the second term with a few spot fires breaking out as the game reached pressure point with neither team gaining any really advantage. Hill End hit the front by half time with a strong mark by Mulqueen who steered the ball through with accuracy to give them a three point lead.  The game continued hard after half time with very little between the two sides. Joel Soutar was using his experience from Gippsland football to give the East plenty of drive from the middle and Brayden Darby-Lock was good around the ground. Hill End forged ahead by three-quarter with a five point advantage due to excellent work of Jack Skinner and Dylan Brooks who was later to be taken off on a stretcher after an awkward fall. The battle continued in fading light with Morwell East clawing back the deficit to level at ten minutes in the last Q  Hill End’s inaccuracy continued with shots going wide but Morwell East were able to hit the front after Tanner Higgins soccered one through, but Hill End were quick to reply with Luke Mulqueen able to kick a long bomb to take back the game. In a crowded last five minutes every player was in the HillEnd forward fifty all trying to grab the elusive football. Morwell East had no-where to go and when Chase Saunders kicked his fifth with 20 seconds to play Hill End had won the game by five points. 11-15 to 12-4. For Hill End it was a toss-up for best as many players got into the mix but big Kel Rees was my pick, with Jack Hudson, Aaron Fawcett, Ambu Uliando and Luke Turmino all playing up to expectations. Morwell East’s Brayden Darby-Lock Dylan Field, Nick Grainger and Jarryd Pickett were featured players.


Boolarra kicked their biggest score in over five years with a massive win over Toora, the Demons with good up front goal scoring skills, something they had been missing this season. Opening the match with a six goal term guided them to build up a good buffer for the rest of the match. New recruit from North Gippsland Hamish Towns up front justifying his inclusion with a good bag of six goals while Aiden Sheers scored another four for the second time this season, the rest of Boolarra’s tally came from seven other players. The game was virtually over by half time as the Dees led by 43 points but Toora revived in the third with Harley Hoppner, Ryan Ponton and Ben Wilder all getting in the action as the Magpies rallied to outscore Boolarra 3-3 to 1-4 but Boolarra under a stern warning from Coach Tony hit back in the last to pile on 9-4 to Toora’s three behinds to run out easy winners 20-10 to 5-13. Boolarra’s best were Chris Riseley, Matt Windsor, Joel Mason and Tom Reiske. For Toora, Ben Wilder, Lachlan Ireland, Khyell Morgan and Harley Hoppner were given as best.


Foster continued their run of wins over MDU stretching their winning run to 13 after winning 6-14 to 3-6 in a low scoring affair, the lowest aggregate between the two in over a decade. Both teams found it difficult in the conditions which were heavy. Foster were the better side on the day but MDU stayed with the Tigers only to be down 12 points at the big break.  Foster could have won by a bigger margin but inaccuracy robbed them of percentage and importantly goals, six goals from 20 effective scoring shots shows how hard it was to kick majors, even MDU were lost in front of the sticks with only three goals from nine attempts. For Foster Reece Geary finished with three goals to be the major scorer on the day, and their best player, Ben Humphrey, Tomas Littore and Brendan  Neville were best while for MDU Tim  Harris, Kieran Bohn, Jake Brydon and Dean Thorson were good players. All hope is not lost at MDU as their reserves continue to win and are on top of the table undefeated.


It was meal time for the Sharks and the taste of Bulldog was sweet as Tarwin recorded another win with a 37 point win over Newborough in their first ever meeting. Tarwin had to fight hard against a tenacious Bulldog team who established a two goal lead going into the second quarter, with most of the play in the second term Tarwin almost threw away the game, their forwards lost sight of the goals with a poor return of 2-8 but Newborough were held to only 1-2. Tarwin jumped away in the second half with 10-4 while Newborough could only manage 4-4 to run out winners 14-13 to 9-6. Matt Williams was the target for Tarwin’s goals finishing with seven (which could have been 11 or more) and Julian Patterson with four. Best were Matt Williams, Fergus Warren, Kaj Patterson and Julian Patterson. Newborough had Joel Mitchell score four while Chris Gardiner, Michael Rosato, Josh Bland and Nathan Curtis were given as best players.


It was all the ones and threes as Fish Creek as the Kangaroos posted 13-13 to Stony Creek’s 1-3 in a one sided match between two keen rivals. It was Stony Creek’s lowest score against Fish Creek since 2002 when they scored 1-2. Fish Creek had established a good lead by half time keeping Stony Creek down to only one behind. Fish Creek through their running players and defenders were able to control the game limiting any chances that Stony Creek had of scoring. Jordan Shaw with strong skills scored four of Fishy’s goals to be the upstanding forward on the day, Brady Mitchell chipped in for three for Fish Creek. Fish Creek were well served by Tom Cameron, Bailey Harfield-Park, Jordan Shaw and Brady Mitchell. For Stony Creek they had triers in Heath, Harrington, Stone, and Devonshire.


It was game 111 between Mirboo North and Thorpdale in the first leg of the Bright-St Ellen Trophy Mirboo North took the honours but it wasn’t easy for the Tigers to break the shackles from a tenacious Thorpdale. The Blues kept applying the pressure on the Tigers forcing mistakes, the Blues were never going to win the match but were going to make it hard for Mirboo North to have an easy victory. Although the winning margin extended to 44 points it was mainly after half time that Mirboo North showed their dominance. Liam Nash was the star again for Mirboo North with four goals and a BOG while Ben Campbell, Clancy Bennett, Joe Brooks and the evergreen Damian Turner were all good for the Tigers, for Thorpdale Matt Powell with four goals did well and their better players were Shannon Pickering, Kayde O’Connell, Matt Powell and Jason Fahey.

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