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Tooradin-Dalmore entered into life in the WGFNC with plenty of hype and anticipation that it could give the existing senior football powerhouses – the likes of Inverloch Kongwak, Phillip Island, and Cora Lynn – a real run for their money.

The Warragul Industrials, however, were expected to struggle in their first season out of the Ellinbank and District Football League.

So, there were concerns that last Thursday’s Anzac Day clash at Tooradin would be a onesided affair.

But, soon after the conclusion of the pregame ceremony – one that gave real perspective behind the day, and delivered a stark reminder that footy and netball really are just games at the end of the day – those fears of one-sidedness were allayed.

Though the Gulls appeared to kick away in the first term, with nine scoring shots to two to boast a 27-point quarter-time lead, the Dusties bounced back in the second and trailed by just 10 points at the main break.

The home side again regained the ascendency in the third, but this was far from a onesided clash. Instead, it was one that provided genuine optimism that the Dusties could be a force to be reckoned with in the competition sooner rather than later.

Corey Nickels booted four majors up forward for the Dusties, while Tyson Bale was presented with the Anzac Day Medal for his starring role in what was ultimately a losing side.

For the home side, meanwhile, the hardnosed Andrew Proctor turned plenty of heads with his own performance, while Kris Sabbatucci and Jake O’Donnell were also particularly effective and Andrew Dean continued his strong goal-kicking form with three majors.

In the wake of the clash, which the Gulls clinched 11.15 (81) to 9.3 (57), Tooradin-Dalmore senior coach Lachie Gillespie told AFL Gippsland Media that his group, clearly, still had plenty to work on.

“To the Dusties’ credit, I thought they played really well,” he said.

“They came out and won a lot of the contest, so hats off to them, but we probably didn’t play our brand of footy, which is a little bit frustrating. “There’s a lot to go next week and work on.” Gillespie said his message at half-time was simply for his group to continue to endeavour to play a pressure brand of ‘Tooradin footy’.

Gillespie also spoke of how privileged his club was to feature on Anzac Day, which it had also done often in the past against Cranbourne in the former SEFNL.

Dusties senior player Nelson Minichiello also spoke to AFL Gippsland Media about his own perspective of the day – one that is particularly telling, given his history with the army.

“It’s pretty special – getting to celebrate Anzac Day with my mates and play footy is a pretty special occasion,” he said.

“It makes me very proud to play for the Dusties – it’s not every day you get to play on a pretty good deck, and on such a special occasion.”

Minichiello also spoke of how proud he was of the Dusties group.

“We didn’t really let up, which was good,” he said.

Russell Bennett - Pakenham Gazette

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When long-time counterparts Dalyston and Kilcunda-Bass met for their round four clash on Saturday, both teams entered the match winless and hungry for their first taste of victory.

In complete contrast to the Easter weekend, the conditions were overcast and cool. The Magpies had bolstered their line -up with Tylah Osbaldeston and Kainen Schrape while the inclusion of Panthers’ coach Damien Holmes for his first game of the season was a big positive for the visitors.

From the first bounce, Dalyston were quickly into stride and Luke Wakefield found Kevin McLean on the lead. Forty seconds in, he had his first.

The Panthers kept the early contest on an even keel but misses by Phillips and Gibson let the Magpies off the hook.

The Magpies seemed composed and with good ball movement Carew from the wing kicked long to Dryden whose centring pass hit up Kurt Thomas in easy distance for the team’s second.

Again Kilcunda-Bass had opportunities with Tom West and Hayden Speirings heavily involved only for the Pies defence of Silver, Wylie and Kelly to repel each attack.

Into time on Ryan Silver delivered delightfully to Darcy Brosnan and from the angle he split the sticks on his favoured left boot. And with a second goal to McLean, minutes later, the Pies saw out the quarter with a twenty point lead.

The second term began untidily with a spattering of behinds. A double 50 metre penalty took the Panthers deep into attack, but once again they were denied with a rushed behind. First blood for the quarter was again initiated by McLean as he kicked his third after taking an acrobatic mark in the goal square. The Panthers were determined to counterattack with Rosenow and Weightman busy around the ground. Finally, the team’s efforts were rewarded when Gibson poked a pass out to the advantage of Jake Smith, who evaded the tackler and bounced the Panther’s first through from the pocket.

Dalyston answered again through McLean who cleverly screwed the ball off his instep to stretch the lead to 25 points at the long break. There must have been a few home truths told in the visitor’s rooms during half time as the Panthers returned with new intensity. They owned the ball early and kept it deep in their attacking zone. Phillip’s quick kick on the run just missed to the right and Holmes rattled the goal post before centre half forward, Taylor Gibson took a strong contested mark and goaled five minutes in. They won the next clearance and Connor Steel this time was the target and he repeated the dose, from on the angle. Then Scott Pugh laced out a pass to Jimmy Phillips boundary side but in range and he calmly split the middle and cut the lead to 8 points. Kilcunda-Bass had certainly risen and with Callander lifting in the ruck and Sam Watson rebounding from the back line they had all the momentum. Dalyston’s man of the moment, Kevin McLean put in a great individual effort to kick his next. Leading wide under pressure he trapped the ball on the boundary next to the old players race, baulked his opponent and spiralled through a scintillating sausage to add some breathing space. Kilcunda-Bass replied through a goal to Speirings but in a quick response Dalyston scored the next as Osbaldeston was taken high.

A further goal to new recruit Tom Boxell, deep in red time, gave the Pies the lead going into the last 9.5.59 to K-B’s 5.9.39 . The small but vocal crowd was drawn into what promised to be an intriguing final stanza. And that’s exactly what was served up as the teams traded goals as the contest opened up.

It was game on when K-B’s Layton Sketcher was held without the ball and he delivered to the advantage of Gibson 20 metres out. On the rebound Dalyston drove deep and Dryden handed off to Schrape who snapped the reply from close range. Good work by Shelton Rosario from the wing onto Sketcher who fired the ball deep to the goal square contest allowed Speirings to sweep up the crumbs and post another for the Panthers.

Only for Dean Wylie who had become pivotal for the Pies to deliver a perfect pass to McLean in the pocket. Tight angle, no prob lem and Kev slots number six. The pendulum swung again and young Finn Homer marked and goaled confidently from the pocket to bring the Panthers back to within 15 points with plenty of time on the clock. Wylie stepped in once more with a goal to settle his team only for Taylor Gibson to answer with his third goal at the other end. It was then left to McLean to punctuate his personal great day in the office with another special moment. With great judgement Kevin marked over the back of his opponent on the flank, played on with a bounce and jagged his seventh to give Dalyston victory by 19 points.

South Gippsland Sentinel Times

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Bunyip accounted for Garfield in another dour, low scoring affair at Beswick St.

Neither side could manage a goal in the first term, with the Stars and Bulldogs heading into half time at just one goal apiece.

The Stars kicked two goals to one in the third term to take a narrow lead, but it was the Bulldogs who had more opportunities and won out in the final term, scoring the final two goals of the game to win 4-10 (34) to 3-7 (25).

Rickie Crockett, Duncan Proud, Nathan Allen, Reid Jenkin, Jeb McLeod and Aaron Paxton were the better players for the Bulldogs.

Ned Marsh, Tyler Hobson, Michael Wallace, Daniel Helmore, Jonty Bow and Rhys Murphy led the way for the Stars.

Warragul & Drouin Gazette

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Korumburra-Bena travelled to Inverloch for its first game away for the season.

The Giants included Manny Jahwot back from injury and young Mitch Nicholas in for his first Senior game for the year.

It was all the Sea Eagles early as they peppered the goals with their key forwards, cre ating problems for the Giants in the defence. A loose Korumburra-Bena backline struggled against the Toby Mahoney and Sam Gibbins, who were present in the forward line and commanded the ball. However, late in the quarter the Giants through Jahwot and Alex Johnston managed to keep the scoring in check. The Sea Eagles raced the ball up field and goaled into the breeze.

Korumburra-Bena’s defence was under pressure and when in attack, targets were missed. Suddenly, the Giants clicked into action. The on ball brigade of Ben Fitzpatrick, Bailey Patterson, Josh Hill and co got on top of the Sea Eagles and were hitting their targets up forward.

The result was three goals to bring the Giants within nine points. However, a late goal to Inverloch-Kongwak ended the term. In the third quarter, the Sea Eagles were frustrated and only kicking points. However, late in the term, the Sea Eagles managed to kick three late goals to take a 35 point lead at three quarter time. The last quarter was a struggle for both sides with the ball rotating between the forward lines. The final score was Korumburra-Bena 5.6 .36 to Inverloch-Kongwak 10.11.71.

The Great Southern Star

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Staring down the barrel of a five-plus goal firsthalf deficit, all eyes were on the Cobras to see how they’d respond in front of a lively crowd at Spencer Street in Nar Nar Goon on Saturday.

The two famous old rivals were vying for the 19th time for the Cunningham Cup, with the ledger 10-8 in Cora Lynn’s favour prior to the clash.

But after two weeks off in the wake of their thumping win over Kooweerup, the Cobras started slowly.

They looked strangely flat – almost lethargic in their endeavour.

And after the Goon jumped out to an early three-goal quarter-time lead – 4.1 (25) to 1.1 (7) – Cora Lynn coach David Main gave it to his boys with both barrels.

While the visitors were the first to kick a major, with the in-form Nathan Gardiner capitalising on some stellar clearance work from Chris Johnson, it was their only goal of the term as the Goon looked too strong, too quick, and too switched-on all over the ground.

Main was clearly fuming. His side wasn’t playing the same style of footy that led to a 4-0 record through its opening four games of the 2019 campaign.

Though Tyler Payroli went down with an injury early, and the Goon was already missing skipper Brendan Hermann, they started fast.

But throughout the majority of the second term, the Goon maintained its ascendancy.

They were first to the contest, and often the first to break clear.

Matt Stevens was up and about across half forward for the home side – providing a confident-looking contested marking target.

A Stevens mark and goal was soon followed by other majors to Lachy Hansen (three goals) and Shannon Stocco to have the home side up by six goals.

But soon after, a moment of madness turned the game on its head.

With enigmatic livewire Nathan Langley alternating from forward to defense, he and North Melbourne 151-gamer Hansen were involved in a scuffle that led to a more significant clash moments later. Hansen was red-carded, and the Goon was a man down for 15 minutes.

A goal to Troy Tharle just before the halftime siren kept the Cobras within striking distance, and with the Goon still a man down throughout key stages of the third, they were unable to stretch away.

Instead, they were focused on limiting the turnovers, while looking for those shorter, hit up targets.

It was the Cobras who dared to win from that point forward.

They trailed heading into the final term, but an early Gardiner goal reduced the margin to just five points.

It was part of a wave of momentum that the Cobras rode to victory, ultimately by 13 points – 10.7 (67) to 8.6 (54).

A Jai Rout goal put the visitors up by a point after Gardiner’s effort, before Trent Armour responded with an astonishing piece of individual brilliance that started at the centre bounce and culminated with a huge gut-running goal. He was nothing short of superb for the home side – alongside the likes of Jake and Sam Blackwood, and Daniel Galante.

But from Hansen’s goal just before his send-off, the Goon couldn’t sore a major until Armour’s effort eight minutes into the last.

The Cobras’ aggression at the contest, physicality, and daring all lifted and it was a long-range effort late from Brady White that clinched a stirring win.

For the visitors, Johnson’s super impressive work-rate and toughness were on full display, while Travis Woodfield and Troy Tharle matched that same work-rate across forward 50.

Tim Payne and Mitch Wallace were outstanding in their key defensive posts, while teenager Kyle Grigg’s shutdown role on the dangerous Troy Toussaint in the second half went a long way to his side winning the game and going 11-8 up in the Cunningham Cup.

Russell Bennett - Pakenham Gazette


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Tooradin-Dalmore v Warragul Industrials and Nar Nar Goon v Cora Lynn match reviews written by Russell Bennett reporting for Pakenham Gazette. To view original articles in full online subscribe to Pakenham Gazette here.

Garfield v Bunyip match review published by Warragul & Drouin Gazette. To review original article online subscribe to WDG here.

Dalyston v Kilcunda-Bass match review published by South Gippsland Sentinel Times. To view original article online subscribe to SGST here.

Inverloch-Kongwak v Korumburra-Bena match review published by The Great Southern Star. To view original article online subscribe to TGSS here.

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