The Yarrawonga Pigeons have finished the home and away season with a 25 point victory over Wodonga Bulldogs and will now face Wangaratta Magpies in a qualifying final at Wangaratta Rovers’ ground next Saturday.
The Pigeons have had a very steady season to date with players appearing to hit good form at the business end of the season.
The match committee have settled the side enabling the three marking talls in Brad O’Connor, Brandon Symes and Nick Lawless to become very dangerous targets.
Lawless, by his own admission, has finally adapted to the theory that hard work and concentration does have its rewards.
The game was a tough encounter throughout, with goals hard to come by.
Scores at half time were Yarra 2.9.21 to Wodonga 3.3.21 indicative of how much pressure was in the contest.
Skipper Tyler Bonat deserves high praise for his ability to be able to miss three to four months of football through a serious leg laceration, then come back into the team this past four games.
His work rate on Saturday and ball gathering along with distribution was outstanding and a pleasure to watch.
Jordan Daniel and Rhys O’Sullivan were strong defenders along with the ‘sleeping small giant’ Xavier Leslie, who has been let loose back into the midfield with telling effect having 36 disposals on Saturday.
The Pigeons had only six goals on the board at 3/4 time to trail Wodonga by 2 points.
But the ball began to flow form the centre, with the Pigeons getting plenty of ball to the marking forwards with big effect.
Five goals to the Pigeons and only one to Bulldogs saw the Pigeons run out 25 point winners and secure a top 3 double chance heading into finals next week.
There is plenty of buzz around the club at the moment as the Pigeons have 7/7 teams in finals.
The club encourages all Pigeon supporters to get down to the clubrooms this Thursday night as the excitement continues to build heading into the first week of finals.
Get on board and watch the Pigeons ‘fly high’.
Chronicle Award: 5 – Tyler Bonat, 4 – Brandon Symes, 3 – Nick Lawless, 2 – Jordon Daniel, 1 – Xavier Leslie.
The Pigeon reserves trounced a disappointing fourth placed Bulldogs by 124 points on Saturday.
The Pigeons will now face Albury Tigers next weekend in a qualifying final.
A ruthless four quarters by the Pigeons all over the ground forced many turnovers by the Bulldogs allowing the Pigeons many different avenues to goal.
Matt Grinter again led the way kicking an impressive seven goals along with many others adding their name to the goal kickers’ list.
Jess Koopman was everywhere for the Pigeons picking up possessions and setting up many goal scoring opportunities.
Koopman, along with O’Dwyer, Welsh in the ruck, Grinter, Elliot, Hemphill, Gallagher and Jordon Urquhart were excellent contributors throughout.
The reserves side continues to build and will be looking for another strong performance when they take on the Albury Tigers next week.
Yarrawonga 22.14.146 Wodonga 3.4.22
Best: J.Koopman, D Hemphill, J Gallagher, R Welsh, M Grinter, J Whinray.
For the last home and away match for the year the under 18s tackled the Wodonga Bulldogs on home turf.
The match promised to be a hard battle and it delivered.
The boys got off to a good start with Lewis Taylor and Max Tempany using their pace to kick early goals.
Poor disposal cost the Pigeons more opportunities up forward but they still managed to take a 7-point lead into the first break.
The second turned into a real battle of the backlines.
Tim Lawrence used his silky skills to post the only goal of the quarter.
Down back James Jordon, Kayden Sharp, Isaac McMillan, Troy Bryce, Lachie Rouel and Darcy Norman all worked hard to keep the opposition goalless.
This saw the boys take a 12-point lead at the main break.
The third saw a few positional changes and the game opened up a bit for both sides.
Tim Lawrence again kicked an excellent goal. Matt Casey, James Jordon, Jake MaConachie and Isaac McMillan were all working hard through the middle of the ground which set up Ronan Pritchard to kick the next two and see the boys out to an 18 point lead at the final break.
The final quarter saw the Bulldogs come out hard. In what was a physical match the Pigeons faltered and the opposition pounced.
Max Tempany did his best to lift the side with great goal but with only 90 seconds left on the clock the boys found themselves down by a goal.
James Jordon who had been dominant all day was felled by a cheap shot after delivering the ball which resulted in a free kick down field.
A subsequent 50-metre penalty to Yarra from more undisciplined Wodonga play saw Tim Lawrence kick his third on the final siren and see the match end in a draw.
Yarrawonga 8.9.57 drew Wodonga 8.9.57. This saw the boys finish the season in second spot and looking forward to a great finals campaign.