The Yarrawonga Pigeons lowered their colours against the Wodonga Raiders at the JC Lowe Oval on Saturday, going down by a heartbreaking 4 points.
This loss is the third defeat at home for the Pigeons this season by under a goal after losing to Albury by 5 points in round 6 and Lavington by 2 points in round 9.
Those narrow losses on home soil have contributed to the Pigeons now being at risk of missing the finals.
They now must win the remaining two home and away fixtures against Lavington and Wodonga Bulldogs to seal their spot in the top five.
A fully committed effort from all players in the next two weeks will be required to get the maximum results needed in both games.
The first quarter saw on Saturday saw the Pigeons kicking with the breeze, but at times they looked a little sluggish and they weren’t able to capitalise on the advantage. Yarrawonga went into the first change holding on to a narrow 8 point lead.
The second term was dominated by the Raiders, booting 6 goals to the Pigeons 1 and resulting in the visitors leading by 4 goals at half time.
Alarm bells sounded loudly for the Pigeons who were dysfunctional in the second term, prompting numerous positional changes for the second half.
After restructuring at the main break, opposition players behind the ball were made accountable, but the two moves that got the Pigeons rolling were Brandon Symes to the forward line and super veteran Marcus McMillan into the ruck.
These two were instrumental in igniting the Pigeons.
Symes, who had been playing well, marked brilliantly, led hard and contested every ball, in the air and on the ground. Four goals from Symes in half a game was a superb effort. McMillan, who last played in the ruck as a teenager, was simply magnificent, not missing a hit out, giving his utmost to get the Pigeons back into the contest.
The efforts of Xavier Leslie and Tyler Bonat, Ryan Bruce and Tom Wallis helped lift the Pigeons to be in a position to win at the last change.
Mark Whiley, who had been excellent all day, had a set shot on a 45 degree angle 50 metres out in the dying seconds, but unfortunately it was rushed through for a behind, this being the last score for the day.
Two tough games to finish against Lavington and Wodonga will determine the Pigeons’ season. As the days are getting longer, let’s hope Yarrawonga’s season follows suit and they can continue into the finals.
Chronicle Award: 5 – Brandon Symes, 4 – Marcus McMillan, 3 – Mark Whiley, 2- Xavier Leslie, 1 – Ryan Bruce.
The third-placed Pigeons took on the ladder leaders Wodonga Raiders in a thrilling contest at the JC Lowe Oval on Saturday.
Conditions were perfect for football although there was a slight breeze favouring the river end.
In a game of momentum swings, it was a matter of who could make the most of their forward opportunities.
The Pigeons were tough and maintained a strong persistence all day as both sides had their chances to record the victory.
Skipper Matt Grinter was superb all day and contributed a valuable 3 goals.
Defenders Reid Clarke and James Elliot both kicked running goals in the third term which sparked the Pigeons but the Raiders were able to respond in equal fashion.
Marcus Hargreaves, Jayden Gallagher, Damon Hemphill and Brady Pritchard, along with the above mentioned goal kickers were the Pigeons best contributors on the day.
However, in the finish there was nothing to separate the two teams with a draw no doubt leaving both the Pigeons and the Raiders unsatisfied.
The Pigeons have secured a top three spot and a double chance and are well placed to defend last year’s premiership.
This week the Pigeon Under 18s sought revenge for their biggest loss of the season against the Wodonga Raiders and they did it in style.
The Pigeons flew out of the blocks with Bailey Frauenfelder having two on the scoreboard before the opposition could blink.
Yarrawonga’s onballers were having a field day with Joe Gorman winning taps, Jake MaConachie and Macauley Lonergan clearing the ball easily.
Goals to Ronan Pritchard and Macauley Lonergan had the boys well on top but a bone crunching tackle by Brandon Carlin on the siren saw him convert and push the boys out to a 30 point lead.
The Raiders came out with more intent in the second but Yarrawonga’s defence was up to the task.
Troy Bryce, Isaac McMillan, Zac Smith and James Jordon all worked well together to repel numerous attacks to keep the visitors goalless until just before the half time siren. Meanwhile at the other end Bailey Frauenfelder, Macauley Lonergan and Brandon Carlin all added to their totals to give the home side a 44 point lead at the main break.
The third saw Bailey continue to dominate up forward. Matt Casey had been working hard all day and got reward when he slotted one of his own.
Yarrawonga should have increased the margin by much more but struggled to kick straight with the tricky breeze.
It was then left to speedsters Tim Lawrence and Jack Sexton to add one each to the total to see the side up by 73 going into the last.
The last saw the scoring slow for the Pigeons but not the effort.
Max Tempany had been busy all day but stepped it up a notch in the last to continually drive the ball inside the home side’s forward line.
Jake MaConachie made the most of this to kick a great goal which was only surpassed by his celebration.
Matt Casey booted through his second after the siren to see the boys run out winners by 73 points.
Yarrawonga 14.17.101 def Wodonga Raiders 3.10.28.
Wodonga Raiders 2.0, 8.2, 9.5, 11.7 (73)
Yarrawonga 3.2, 4.4, 7.8, 10.9 (69)
GOALS, Wodonga Raiders :
T. McCaffrey 2, J. Neagle 2, J. Haugen 1, M. Hillier 1, C. Newnham 1, B. St John 1, E. Boxall 1, J. Kelly 1, J. Uslar 1
B. Symes 4, J. Koopman 2, B. O’Connor 2, T. Bonat 1, M. Whiley 1
BEST, Wodonga Raiders :
J. Neagle, B. St John , J. Di Mizio, T. McCaffrey, B. Knights, L. Flagg
B. Symes, M. Whiley, R. Bruce, J. Daniel, B. Coburn, M. McMillan