It was a round one rematch on Sunday between the Pigeons Under 16s and Lavington.
In round one the Pigeons were downed by a point on the Panthers’ home ground but the result was reversed in the strongest of fashions by the Yarrawonga team this time around, running out 10 goal winners.
The side itself, while similar in personnel, played a far superior style of play to that of round one with the improved efforts of the entire squad on display on the perfect JC Lowe Oval.
Across the back half Thomas Adkins and Reece Norman held their opponents well. Both had been set for roles as small defenders and in particular Reece’s kicking was out a highlight of the day.
Alongside them co-captain Sam Willett as an undersized full back was outstanding. He more than held his own allowing the team the luxury of both Sam Mickelson and Austin Frauenfelder as go to forwards.
While both Sam and Austin hit the scoreboard hard the ability of those three backs along with Harry Meade to hold their opponents in the defence key roles proved pivotal to the match result.
Early in the day Max Hemphill was moved into a defensive half forward role where he duly slotted 3 second quarter goals. Nothing makes an opponent stand up and take notice that scoreboard action.
However, the most pleasing aspect was his effort and that of others in the front half to apply pressure to the outlet ball causing a number of turnovers.
This pressure was ramped up through the midzone where Nick Gorman rucked well and was well supported by a dominant midfield led by Kyle Abikhair and Jordyn Studd.
Kyle’s forward play was unlucky not to have netted him a couple more goals.
Welcomed back into the side were Liam Martin and Marcus Quinn from long term injuries and both will be better for the run.
The last round of the home and away will be played at the JC Lowe on Sunday with the young Pigeons fighting for the double chance at 12.30pm.
Goal Kickers: S. Mickelson 7, A. Frauenfelder 5, M. Hemphill 3, K. Abikhair, A. Lovel, M. Quinn, Z. Burns.
Best Players: R. Norman, J. Forge, T. Adkins, H. Meade, S. Willett, J. Studd
Under 12s suffer narrow defeat
A round one rematch against the undefeated Lavington Panthers awaited the young Pigeons in round 13 of AWJFL on Sunday.
After being taken to the cleaners by Lavington in round one the boys have improved in every game this year and would now find out exactly were they sit in the pecking order.
In a hard fought physical game the boys were superb standing up to whatever Lavington could throw at them in the early exchanges.
Fierce tackling pressure from the midfield group created spillages at the contest, where Yarrawonga’s ball carriers pounced providing scoring opportunities for the forwards.
Jacob Prestage found himself in space across half forward tacking a mark in a dangerous area. Showing great composure for a young player, he waited with ball in hand until a leading target was found and executed the skill superbly hitting his target lace out.
Hard working small forward Callum DeOleveira swooped on a crumb and snapped a classy goal to open the scoring and giving the Pigeons early lead.
Hunter Frauenfelder extended the lead just prior to quarter time.
The pressure went up a notch after the first break with both sides refusing to wilt.
The half back line lead magnificently by Lachie Phillips and aided by the hard hitting Loch Harvey stood up under enormous pressure continually putting their bodies on the line stopping Lavington’s forward thrusts.
Darcy Hicks and Darby Mullins also stood tall at crucial times deep on the last line of defence monstering their opponents and taking several intercept marks.
Xavier Walker kicked an early goal in the third quarter to extend the lead back out to 6 points.
Mac Pendergast continued his stellar run of form in the ruck continually giving players first look at the football at each stoppage.
Lavington again turned up the heat, but the Yarrawonga boys stood tall for a large portion of the quarter.
A three minute lapse in concentration at the back end gifted the Panthers a goal and a lead change for the first time.
The last quarter was a slug fest with neither team giving an inch with the contested ball becoming very hard to win.
Nate Williams showed how far the team has come in 12 weeks as he continued to throw himself into packs and fight hard for the ball.
Again the back six found themselves under pressure but refused to wilt denying Lavington from breaking the game open.
The boys surged the ball forward with one last effort, with the ball camped in the Pigeons’ forward line for the last 2 minutes the boys had the opportunities to pinch a late goal but were not able to get a clearance to get the final shot on goal away.
In the end the boys would go down by a goal.
A 57 point turnaround from the round one game the boys have proved to themselves that at their best they can match it with the best team in the competition.
A couple of areas to tidy up at training and the boys will be gunning for a rematch in the first week of the finals.
Yarrawonga 3-0-18 defeated by Lavington 2-12-24. Goal kickers: Callum DeOleveira, Hunter Frauenfelder, Xavier Walker.