Bears finish top of the table
In a very polished four quarter performance at Waaia, the Tungamah Bears ran out 69 point winners to finish the home and away fixture in top position on the ladder and earn a week’s rest before taking on either Shepparton East or Rennie in the second semi-final.
The signs were good from the first bounce as Chris Oliver continued his good form in the ruck duels and Jez O’Brien led the tackle count and kicked an early goal.
Travis Hayes showed his fitness with two early goals in his first game back in a few weeks with the Bears kicking five before Waaia got on the board with two late goals although Tungamah led by 25 at the first break.
On-ballers in Bodhi Butts, Jim Irvine and Thomas Wilson were ferocious in their attack on the ball all day despite some hard tags.
Good signs with goals to the returning Adam Dodd as well as Duane Haebich, Kade Rowe and Ash Saunders due to the regular feed of the ball into the fifty from Matt Clark, Brady Hayes, Leigh Howroyd and Chris Powell.
The backline conceded only two goals in two quarters with Glenn Dominick being back from injury as well as Jarrod O’Shea, Nick Irvine, Ada Connell and Dan Clarke constantly steadying the ship.
The relentless tackling and run on play were a highlight for all four quarters with every player contributing.
The regular lead up work rate of the likes of Saunders, Chapman and Clark means The Bears are looking a serious threat in the finals series.
The day started with great work by Ian Oliver in the centre at the first bounce with a clearance however it was rebounded quick and the Tungamah backline was under early pressure but stood up well.
Waaia kicked the first and it was clear both sides had come out to play.
The game was played at a fast pace with each side trying to gain dominance in key positions.
Ciccia snapped a goal and the scores were even at quarter time.
In the second Payne marked strongly in front of goal and put Tungamah ahead.
After a struggle in every position on the ground Haydn Kelly broke free from a pack after four attempts and hit Payne who again kicked truly.
A great passage of play from the backline almost saw Tungamah go coast to coast then a goal to Payne from fifty on the siren gave the Bears some breathing space.
In the last quarter the veteran Buerkner kicked two.
Matt Powell and Damo Powell had worked to keep the ball in Tungamah’s forward line which allowed Buerkner to get loose.
All day Mitch Adkins, Joel Bate and Gamble battled it out.
Saunders was classy all day along with Hawking.
The crowd went berserk when Gamble scored the last goal of the day.
Goals: Ciccia, Payne, M Powell, Buerkner and Gamble.
Best from: Adkins, Hawking, Oliver, Richardson, Thomson, Saunders, Megarrity, Payne, Irvine, Kelly, Giggins, Powell, Buerkner and Bate.
Score: Tungamah 8.10.58 def Waaia 5.4.34.
The thirds travelled to Waaia knew this was a must win game to seal the double chance in the finals, or lose and come back next Sunday and play Waaia again in the elimination final.
The first quarter saw the Bears kicking into a stiff breeze, however the boys played probably their best quarter for the game and banged on 6 goals to 1.
Liam Connell again dominated in the ruck, giving first use of the footy to the on-ball brigade of Will Sharp, Tre Johson, Brandon Einsporn, Blake Adkins and Wally Thomson.
Wally’s speed and run and carry was there again this week.
Nick ‘Whoopa’ Irvine made a guest appearance for the quarter, playing on a wing and he kicked 2 goals, then at quarter time got dressed for the main event later on.
The backline stood up well again, led by Angus Heslin who is a brick wall letting nothing go past him, supported well by youngster Seth Haebich who is becoming a very solid defender.
The forwards of Blayze Young-Mail and Lachie Elliott kicked 2 goals each, as did Will Sharp.
Tom Lidgerwood snagged 3 last quarter goals.
Randall Perkinson played well off half back, showing glimpses of his speed.
Youngster Ben Griffin stood tall and took a great pack mark late in the game in the goal square, and kicked truly.
In the end, the final score showed Tungamah won well, however still plenty of work to do on the training track this week.
Score: Tungamah 16.13.109 defeated Waaia 2.2.14.
Awards: Yarrawonga Golf Club Resort - Tom Lidgerwood, Crusty Loaf Bakery - Tre Johnson, Tungamah Shope - Randall Perkinson, Encouragement Award - Ben Griffin.
The boys played their best team game for the year to get over the in-form Waaia side.
This sets the fourths up nicely for the finals.
Tungamah 9.7.61 def Waaia 4.2.26
Goals: Mitch Goldman 4, Ned Connell 3, Jack Costigan 1, Desi O’Kane 1.
Awards: Wingates - Ned Connell, YMGCR - Desi O’Kane, Crusty Loaf - Oscar Willis, Canteen - Ben Griffin, Jack Costigan and Rory Kruse.
Pigeons secure finals spot
In picture perfect conditions for football the Pigeons defeated the Lavington Panthers by 58 points in brutal fashion, cementing a spot in the finals.
An injection of youth with 17-year old debutants Ely Smith and Bailey Frauenfelder, 18-year old Jayden Gallagher, 20-year old Marcus Hargreaves and 21-year old Brady Pritchard combined with a strong presence from some senior players in the big win over Lavington.
A tweak to the team, adding more pace and a freedom to execute skills to the maximum was most appreciated by the players and supporters.
The first term saw Lavington come out firing, skipping out to an early 3 goal lead.
But from this point onwards the Pigeons had the Panthers’ measure, booting the next 4 goals to hold a 3 point lead at quarter time.
Cohesion on the forward line was at its best with youngsters Ely Smith and Bailey Frauenfelder complementing twin towers Brad O’Connor and Nick Lawless who both kicked 5 goals apiece.
Brandon Symes again marked and kicked long and straight to complement the group.
After quarter time it was the Pigeons who slammed on 12 goals to Lavington’s 4 in what was a dominant display across the entire ground.
Marcus Hargreaves was enormous down back and showed the form that he has back in 2015 when he entered the team on a regular basis.
Senior players in Xavier Leslie, Drew Barnes, Rhys O’Sullivan, Bronson Schofield, Marcus McMillan and skipper Tyler Bonat delivered the grunt to complete the Pigeons best display of the season.
The Pigeons now have a big game next Saturday against Wodonga Bulldogs at the Grove Oval.
The match committee now face a tough task of trying to fit nine players back into the team. Chronicle Award: 5 – Marcus Hargreaves, 4 – Brad O’Connor, 3 – Nick Lawless, 2 – Drew Barnes, 1 – Tyler Bonat.
In immaculate conditions at the Lavington Sports Ground, the Pigeon’s Reserves took on the sixth-placed panthers who needed a victory to keep their finals hopes alive.
In the first term it was the Panthers who struck first, surging the ball forward through centre clearances resulting in the opening goal.
This quickly put the Pigeons into gear, who then slammed on the next 4 goals in quick fashion to hold a 19 point lead at the first change.
The second term saw a determined Lavington match it with the Pigeons, with both sides kicking two goals apiece.
Strong first halfs from Matt Grinter, Travis Hargreaves, Riley Welsh and veteran Tim Hargreaves, who returned from a long stint on the sidelines through injury, were the backbone for the Pigeons as they led by 21 points at the main break.
In a contested game of footy, it was the Pigeons who slowly but surely gained the upper hand.
The Pigeons maintained their discipline, shutting down Lavington’s attacks through strong defensive efforts from defenders James Elliot, Richard Handreck and Reid Clarke.
Two final quarters goals to crafty forward Jarryd Whinray sealed the victory for the Pigeons, who eventually ran out comfortable 36 point winners.
It was another solid hit out for the Pigeons who now turn their attention to fourth-placed Wodonga Bulldogs in the final home and away game for the season.
Yarrawonga 10.10.70 def Lavington 5.4.34.
GOALS: Matt Grinter 4, Tim Hargreaves 2, Jarryd Whinray 2, Matt Casey, Reid Clarke
BEST: Travis Hargreaves, James Elliot, Doug Arnold, Riley Welsh, Jarryd Whinray, Reid Clarke
The Under 18s travelled to Lavington to take on the sixth-placed Panthers.
The boys hit the ground running this week making the most of the free space at Lavington. Lachie Rouel opened the scoring, quickly followed by goals to Matt Casey, Macauley Lonergan and Ronan Pritchard.
Yarrawonga’s defence had been good but the panthers slipped through for a goal to make the margin 19 points at the first break.
The second was more of the same with Matt Casey, Macauley and Ronan all adding a second goal to their tallies.
The backline lead by Isaac McMillan, James Jordon, Darcy Norman and Kayden Sharp completely shut down the oppositions scoring opportunities to keep the goalless for the quarter.
Finn O’Dwyer, Lewis Taylor, Tim Lawrence, Will Woodburn and Max Tempany all moved the ball well and continually drove it inside fifty.
A late goal to Jack Sexton saw the boys up by 43 at the main break.
The third saw Lavington start to become frustrated with Yarrawonga’s dominance.
Goals to Isaac McMillan, Lewis Taylor, Will Woodburn James Jordon and Ronan Pritchard saw the lead out to 72.
All around the ground the Pigeons were on top of their opposition.
The final saw a 10-minute onslaught by the Pigeons. Ronan Pritchard in his 50th under 18 game, kicked the next four goals in seven minutes.
Matt Casey had moved forward and his defensive work allowed Ronan free reign.
Another goal shortly after to Finn O’Dwyer blew the lead out to 97 points.
The Panthers finally organised themselves defensively but all too late.
Yarrawonga 18.10.118 def Lavington 3.3.21.
Under 14 Pigeons into grand final
The Yarrawonga Under 14s booked a place in the 2017 AWJFL Grand Final with a 20 point victory over Wodonga Maroon in perfect conditions at Albury Sports Ground on Sunday.
The team had a clear focus on getting off to a good start and attacked the game from the start with experienced players Ned Pendergast, Fletcher Wallden and Will Wheaton all making their mark early in the contest with intensity and high skill level.
Up forward Jobe Kennedy (2 goals) and Jyda House (2 goals) were able to capitalise early in the game to open up a 21 point lead at the quarter time break.
Baxter Droop on the back of an influential game two weeks ago put on a dominant display across the forward line, his work-rate and skill level stood out in what was a best on ground performance from the talented sportsman.
With an early lead established it was the determination and leadership of midfield dynamos Will Sexton, Zac Banch and Ben Woodburn that made it hard for the highly talented Wodonga outfit to work their way back into the game.
The defence was again superbly led by Fletcher Wallden across half back while bottom-ager Sam Hemphill continues to compete against bigger opponents to keep the opposition scoring to a bare minimum.
The Pigeons will head into the grand final against an in-form St Patricks outfit this Sunday at 11.45am at Martin Park in Wodonga.
Yarrawonga 8.7.55 defeated Wodonga Maroon 5.5.35
Goals: Jobe Kennedy 2, Jyda House 2, Baxter Droop 2, Ben Woodburn, Jye Leonard.
Best Players: Baxter Droop, Will Sexton, Zac Banch, Ned Pendergast, Ben Woodburn, Fletcher Wallden.
Youngest Pigeons grand final bound
All roads led to Albury sports ground for a preliminary final show down between Yarrawonga’s Under 12s and St Pats on Sunday.
Darby Mullins started well in the ruck, giving the mids first look at the football.
A quick clearance from the centre and a set play saw Jet Peters take a mark and swing onto his left foot and give the Pigeons the first forward entry of the game.
A mass of bodies converged at the top of the goal square making it difficult to score.
Mitch Loughnan, starting deep forward, threw himself into a contest and won a hard earned free kick to give the boys an opportunity to hit the scoreboard.
Harry Barker, playing a disciplined game across half forward, picked off a rushed St Pats clearing kick calmly went back and slotted the opening goal of the game.
St Pats responded late in the quarter to grab a scrappy goal and take a 1 point lead into the first break.
The second quarter was a slug fest between two teams playing hard contested football.
Darcy Hicks showed his class, taking several telling intercept marks on the last line of defence.
Tom Ryan and Jye Brennan battled hard winning vital contests and turned defence into attack.
Loch Harvey, Loch Phillips and Jack Bassett were simply magnificent across half back tackling hard and crashing packs repelled everything St Pats could throw at them.
Half time came with St Pats up by 2 points.
A refocused Pigeons outfit came out after half time determined not to let the game slip away.
Xavier Walker lifted his work-rate and along with Geoffrey Montgomery gave the boys some drive through the middle of the ground and the forwards started to move.
In a test of bravery on who wanted the ball the most, a massive collision between Mac Pendergast and St Pats’ best player saw the young Pigeon come out on top winning a vital contest on the defensive half forward line. The Pigeons swooped and ran the ball forward.
Xavier Walker’s run had him on the end of crisp passage of play giving himself a successful shot on goal giving the Pigeons back the lead at the end of the third quarter.
Hunter Frauenfelder and Jet Peters started to get their hands on the ball in the third and drove the ball forward.
Ollie Connell stood up when it counted and won himself several hard earned free kicks. Darby Pendergast’s move to full forward work a treat, his running patterns causing havoc amongst the St Pats defenders.
Taking his fourth mark of the quarter Darby went back and slotted the first goal of the last quarter and extended the Pigeons lead to two goals.
St Pats scrambled a late goal to reduce the margin in a frenetic finishing few minutes.
In a grandstand finish it was Callum DeOleveira’s 50 metre chase down tackle that showed how far the young group had come this year.
An epic encounter had the Pigeon’s home by 7 points and a place in the grand final against Lavington next week at Martin Park Wodonga.
Yarrawonga 3.4.22 defeated St Pats 2.3.8.
Goals: Harry Barker, Xavier Walker, Darby Pendergast.