Mulwala has once again announced themselves as a serious contender with a come from behind six goal win over Barooga.
Mulwala started as poorly as they have all year, with last week’s let down against Deniliquin sapping the team of confidence as they looked rattled bringing the ball out of defence and reactive around the contest.
Barooga slammed on six goals to nothing during the opening 20 minutes and the question seemed ‘by how much’ as they ran rampant on Mulwala’s home deck.
As champions do, they matter when it matters most and the finger tip grab from Ash Froud at the top of the goal square would be the start of something special.
What emerged from the quarter time break was a different team, a spirited unit with every player lifting in intensity and applying an unrelenting pressure.
It was brilliant to watch as tackles and smothers caused turn overs and saw Mulwala surge forward time and again.
Hamish Hosking deserves as much credit as anyone for Mulwala’s fight back as he put the team on his back and said come with me.
Against the giant A’Vard in the ruck, Mulwala’s cult hero turned the game with clearance after clearance.
Sean Johns was once again riding shotgun and his spread from the contest and clean hands were also instrumental.
His set shot goal from the boundary put Mulwala in front as they wiped Barooga’s lead within 20 minutes.
With eight goals for the quarter, Mulwala went to the main break with their tails up and a handy 14 point lead.
It was Mulwala’s middle tier of players that shone during an intense third quarter.
Dylan McNamara rebounded from a quiet game last week and was on fire around the ground and capitalised with a crucial goal.
Matt Tregenza, Cam Carling and Damien Cook led the way through hard tackles and composure with ball in hand.
The younger brigade of Tom Dow, Harry Crossley, Angus Shand and Connor Sanderson seemed like seasoned veterans and handled the pressure of a big crowd and a big game with ease.
Mulwala seemed in control until a controversial free after a Barooga goal led to a double goal before the ball had been returned to the centre.
Under intense pressure, Mulwala were unfazed with Beau Clarke courageous and athletic in the backline, saving the day on many occasions.
Nathan McNair was another defender who ignored the reputation of his opponent and backed himself in the air in a ‘James Wilson-like’ performance.
A terrific snap around the corner by Matt Tregenza on the three quarter time siren restored Mulwala’s advantage and was crucial in giving the team the confidence to win.
An arm wrestle started the last quarter with both teams hitting the scoreboard early.
Mulwala were pressing hard but were unable to kick clear.
The sliding doors moment came with Barooga streaming forward, they were out over the back and looked certain to reduce the margin to a single goal before the veteran Dylan Robinson stepped in.
His smother and clean gather sent the ball 50 metres the other way in the ultimate 12 point play, with Nathan Parker capping the good work with a strong mark and goal at the other end.
The sealing goal was kicked in superb fashion with a towering mark and goal from Captain Jackson Gash.
Returning after a five week absence due to a hamstring injury, the young leader was huge when the game was there to be won.
The last 15 minutes were all Mulwala as they celebrated in style and played with same unrelenting pressure that had surged them clear.
Ultimately Mulwala won by six goals, a staggering 12 goal turnaround from the opening quarter.
Mulwala’s forward line shared the goals with Ash Froud leading the way with four and the ageless Nathan Parker kicking three.
With a league bye this coming week, Mulwala will be setting themselves for a big back half of the year as they now must consider themselves a realistic premiership contender.
An under strength Mulwala suffered a 12 goal loss to ladder leaders Barooga.
With several players withdrawing from the game, Mulwala was once again forced to turn to the thirds boys with four of the finest turning out for the second game for the day.
Mulwala started brightly enough and the early run of Jackson Weir and Dale Powell was telling as Mulwala created the first opportunities to score.
Unfortunately for Mulwala, Chris O’Neill’s missed set shot would prove costly as Barooga kicked the next five goals.
Barooga were too strong in the air and won the inside ball, capitalising on every Mulwala error.
Mulwala responded with a hard fought start to the second term, holding Barooga goalless for the first 13 minutes.
The dam wall eventually broke however and Barooga slammed on four goals to nothing to finish the half.
Mulwala had fought hard with Dave Nero once again putting himself at the bottom of every contest.
Cam Tregenza seemed everywhere as he danced his way through traffic and marked strongly in the air.
Robert Wilson shone in the forward line and played as a true centre half forward.
His aerial marking and complete lack of fear was a joy to watch as he showed his older team mates the way forward.
Mulwala’s third quarter was easily its best for the game.
Dale Powell was rewarded for his hard work with Mulwala’s first goal before its second came on the back of tackling pressure from Zach Moore and Tom Tout.
Nayte Houghton continued to show his massive improvement and his defensive intercept marking was first class.
Mitch Marks was impressive in his return to the side and used his strong frame to impact the game.
Ruben Butts stepped up and looks capable of senior footy.
His combative style of play was suited for taking on the ladder leaders and was in everything during the second half.
The Mulwala talls had their work cut out for them against a much taller opposition.
Isaac Bond and Charlie Magro battled manfully in the ruck while Jake Savy was superb at full back. Giving away at least a foot of height he matched his opponent and repelled many attacking forays.
Jake’s attitude and personality ensure he is loved by his team mates and they were full of praise for his performance on Saturday.
Beau Nixon looks another senior player in the making. His strong pack mark at the top of the goal square meant Mulwala outscored their rivals for the quarter.
The last quarter was definitely a battle as Mulwala was overrun with Barooga kicking five goals to none.
Sitting in sixth position on the ladder Mulwala will look to fill a full side as it pushes towards the finals.
Mulwala snatched a thrilling three point win in an epic match against arch rival Barooga.
Trailing by a goal for most of the match Mulwala stayed in the game thanks to some superb defensive marking from Tom Tout, Robert Wilson and Lachie Wood.
Holding down the backline, the three fought against taller opponents throughout and were a huge reason for the result.
Through the middle, Nick Gee played the game of his life and was fantastic on the wing, while the usual supects in Ricky Walker, Dylan Leadingham and Cooper Chung were once again prominent.
Up forward spear head Beau Zixon was crucial and took several keys marks, with the dynamic Zach Scott a star at half forward.
Down and out trailing by eight points with less than two minutes to play, Mulwala dodged a bullet when Barooga missed a set shot from 30 metres.
Rolling the dice from the resulting kick in, Mulwala took the ball the length of the field in their best ball movement of the year.
A driving ball over the back was pounced on by Zach Scott who dribbled it through on the run.
Still a goal down with less than a minute to play Mulwala needed everything to go right.
A huge leap from Robert Wilson deservedly won him a free kick at half back before a brain fade from Barooga led to a 50 metre penalty.
Wilson’s driving left foot put the ball deep and through a pile of players, Beau Nixon stepped through the traffic and snapped the ball over his shoulders for the most remarkable of wins.
The boys celebrated in style and sang the song with gusto.
Mulwala went down fighting in the fourths, losing by less than three goals.
Showing great improvement from earlier in the season, the young team with only a handful of 13 and 14 year olds is a shining example of endeavour and spirit.
Zach Oliver is one of the big improvers and his long kicking was a feature of the game.
Flynn Fletcher was everywhere and he kicked a lovely goal while Sam David was also prominent.
Connor Phibbs plays with the smarts of his dad and showed class and composure with the ball in his hand.
Josh Eder put in another strong effort and looks to be a future leader while Dillon Kirchen and Mitch Adkins also kicked important goals.
Mulwala 1.1, 9.2, 12.5, 17.8 (110)
Barooga 6.0, 7.4, 10.4, 11.8 (74)
GOALS, Mulwala :
Ashley Froud 4, Nathan Parker 3, Matthew Tregenza 2, Sean Johns 2, Dylan McNamara 2, Jackson Gash 1, Harrison Crossley 1, Joshua Hammond 1, Hamish Hosking 1
Spiro Vourgaslis 4, Ricky Thomson 2, Jake Russell 2, Tyrone Downie 2, Matthew Demaio 1
BEST, Mulwala :
Nathan Parker, Hamish Hosking, Damian Cook, Matthew Tregenza, Dylan Robinson, Dylan McNamara
James Hazelman, Tyrone Downie, Jake Russell, Spiro Vourgaslis, Jack O’Callaghan