Mulwala has missed a golden opportunity to push for a top two spot with an agonizing 10 point loss to Moama on Saturday.
With Tyler Jones back in Moama colours this was always going to be a danger game for the young Mulwala team and so it proved as they failed to make the most of their opportunities in front of goal.
A spirited Mulwala made all the running in the first quarter with Ash Froud kicking the first goal of the game for the ninth time this year.
Pushing into a stiff breeze, Mulwala looked clean as Sean Johns and Jackson Gash dominated the stoppages.
The momentum swing was sudden as Moama responded with five unanswered goals.
Their ability to spread the ball and rebound with the aid of the breeze caught Mulwala out as they headed to the first change with a handy 22 point lead.
Mulwala began the second term determined to get back in the game.
A boundary line goal from Tom Dow was quickly followed by a ripper from the giant Hamish Hosking and Mulwala looked to flex its muscle.
Kyle Archibald and Harry Crossley were fierce on the inside while Damien Cook was once again brilliant in his quarter back role.
Mulwala kicked the last three goals of the half to peg the margin back to 3 points at the main break.
The third quarter was fought between the arcs with neither team able to take the ascendancy.
Connor Sanderson and the much-improved Dylan McNamara were crucial as they prevented Moama from scoring while Nathan McNair shone at full back.
A late goal to Harry Crossley set the scene for a massive final term before a melee between all players finished the third quarter with a fired up Mulwala flying the flag in front of a parochial crowd.
Celebrating 30 years in the Murray Football League and the 30 year Reunion of the 1987 Reserves Premiership, Mulwala had the vocal crowd spurring them on in the final term and they started full of intensity.
Harry Crossley’s big tackle should have been rewarded and instead a bizarre series of decisions gifted Moama a goal.
Mulwala searched for the answers and surged the ball forward time and again only for a wayward bounce or an errant kick to stifle the comeback.
At the 20 minute mark of the last quarter, Jackson Gash rose above and took a brave mark and from 40 metres out kicked a captain’s goal.
With the margin cut to 6 points Mulwala had all the running before once again a controversial decision went against the Lions and Moama cleared the ball, kicking a goal on the siren to extend their winning margin.
Clearly disappointed a frustrated Mulwala hierarchy spoke calmly after the game about the need to learn from mistakes and to grasp opportunities when the presented themselves.
With a bye this coming week, Mulwala will looks to get back on the winners list with a finals like game against Numurkah the following week.
Mulwala upstaged third-placed Moama with a commanding 40 point win on Saturday.
Finally able to field a full side, the first for the year, Mulwala were well served by regular senior players Dale Powell, Nathan Cook and Jackson Weir. The trio were a class above and were instrumental in the win.
After a broken hand interrupted Nathan Cook’s year, he returned in full flight at centre half back and his reading of the play and intercept marking was arguably the difference as Moama struggled to penetrate half forward.
Dale Powell would no doubt have been disappointed to find himself back in the early game but showed his true character and was a stand out in the midfield.
His dashing runs and accuracy by foot meant that he was Mulwala’s architect through the middle of the ground.
Rounding out the three was the exciting Jackson Weir, who may have just about done enough to get himself back in the seniors with a classy display and two goals.
Electric off the mark, Jackson has been plagued by hamstring injuries but seems ready to fulfill his enormous potential.
The dominant big man on the ground was David Hand who kicked four match winning goals and spent half the game in the ruck.
Jayke Nicholson was also one of Mulwala’s best with his run off half back combining with desperation through tackling and smothers.
He was well supported by Nayte Houghton and Charlie Magro in the back line with Jarryd Wilson also impacting the game with a physical presence.
Cam Tregenza was another star and his aerial marking and fancy footwork were a joy to watch up forward. He kicked two himself and handed a couple off, displaying a team first attitude.
Although wasteful in front of goal Mulwala largely dominated the game and the message seemed to be very clear, their finals destiny is completely in their hands with players needing to commit in order to challenge for the flag.
Mulwala continue to fight hard and even though they lost again at the weekend, the loyal group of young men did themselves and the club proud.
Against the highly-rated Moama, Mulwala were right in the game until just before three quarter time.
Cooper Chung kicked a great running goal early and was once again one of Mulwala’s best.
Tom Tout continued his fine form with another stand out game. His reliability and silky skills are not common for a last line defender but this young champion has showed he can play anywhere on the ground.
Wade Dennis was sensational off half back with his ball use setting up a number of scoring chains with Zac Scott’s forward line pressure helping give Mulwala repeat entries.
Corey Lindsey returned to his best form with a workman like game in the backline while Robert Wilson had plenty of the ball, finding himself used all over the ground.
Mulwala fourths have once again fought against the odds and put in a brilliant display of never say die football.
Although unable to get the win, this young developing team has the kind of spirit Mulwala is known for.
Flynn Fletcher was huge once again with his Dustin Martin fend off and goal from 40 metres one the of the highlights of the game.
The laconic Jaye Houghton was another stand out performer at full back and took some huge marks.
Jaxon Wheeler and Zac Ferguson were strong contributors and ran all day while Daniel Roberts continues to show improvement every week.
Dillon Kirchen bobbed up with another goal and Daniel Herrod threw himself into every contest with tremendous courage.
Lastly Connor Phibbs needs to be recognized, still with another year in the fourths to come, his class and ability to be composed under pressure is first rate.