The Yarrawonga Pigeons picked the biggest stage to produce their worst performance of the season, beaten comprehensively by 76 points at the hands of a rampaging Wangaratta Magpies.
The Pies started off the game with fierce aggression and attack on the football as they nailed 4 early goals.
However the Pigeons fought back strongly in the late stage of the first quarter, with goals to Drew Barnes and Bronson Schofield seeing the Pigeons only trail by 13 points at quarter time.
The second term was the Pigeons’ best, increasing their intensity around the contest and a higher work rate.
But the margin could not be reduced as the Pies held a comfortable two goal lead at the main break.
The second half was completely dominated by the Wangaratta Magpies, as they ran all over the Pigeons on every line of the field.
While the Pigeon defence battled hard, sheer weight of consistent repeat attacks made the defenders’ task a tough one.
Magpie forwards slammed on 7 goals in the final term to rub defeat directly into the Pigeon gaping wounds.
The Pigeons had good players in Drew Barnes, Bronson Schofield, Tyler Bonat, Logan Morey and Jordan Daniel but in big games you need all players buying in together and the Pigeons had too many players not performing at a good enough level.
The match committee will no doubt look hard at the game tape, size up the opposition and put a side out to give the Pigeons the best chance of winning the game and advancing into the finals another week.
There is plenty of football still to be played and this is when everyone wants to be playing and winning.
This is what confronts the Pigeons as they have the belief that another week will produce a vastly improved performance.
This week the Pigeons will face a determined Lavington Panthers in a do or die game at the John Foord Oval, Corowa on Sunday.
* Votes for the Chronicle Award will continue throughout the finals series however they will not be published, with the winner to be announced on presentation night on September 29.
On a slightly overcast day, the Pigeons defeated Albury by 22 points and will now face Wodonga Raiders for a spot in the grand final.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Pigeons, as inaccurate goal kicking meant Albury would take an early lead at quarter time.
However the Pigeons slowly but surely started to get on top of the Albury outfit, with the midfield brigade in Doug Arnold, Travis Hargreaves and Riley Welsh winning the clearances and surging the ball forward.
Matt Grinter was again prolific up forward for the Pigeons, kicking 4 goals to again be a dominant performer.
Livewire forward Jarryd Whinray was on fire in the first half before going down with a knee injury. The club wishes Jarryd all the best and hope the news isn’t as bad as first thought.
Jordan Urquhart and David O’Dwyer were again solid throughout the whole game as they continue to consistently play their role each week for the team.
Coach Richard Handreck was very happy with the win and mentioned defenders James Elliot and Reid Clarke as great contributors to the victory.
A 5 goal to 2 second half set up the win for the Pigeons as they will now turn their attention to the second semi-final against Wodonga Raiders this weekend at Martin Park, Wodonga.
Score: Yarra 7.9.51 Albury 4.5.29
Goals: Matt Grinter 4, Damon
Hemphill, Jordan Urquhart, Tim Hargreaves 1
Best: James Elliot, Doug Arnold, Travis Hargreaves, Reid Clarke, Riley Welsh, David O’Dwyer
In the first week of finals the under 18s travelled to Wangaratta to play the Rovers on their home ground.
The Rovers were quicker out of the blocks getting the first two goals but Bailey Frauenfelder and Matt Casey got the side back into it with goals of their own to see the boys go into the first break three points down.
The second saw the Pigeons come out firing. Bailey Frauenfelder added another two goals to his total while James Jordon and Tim Lawrence also kicked straight.
Down back Kayden Sharp, James Jordon, Lachie Rouel and Lewis Taylor all had control and repeatedly outpointed their forward opponents.
Yarra’s midfield had also lifted with Joe Gorman winning the ruck taps and Jake MaConachie, Isaac McMillan and Matt Casey making the most of their opportunities.
When James Jordon and Matt Casey took their goal tallies to two, the boys had a handy 18-point lead.
The third was a complete turnaround. Wangaratta Rovers came out full of running and dominated the quarter.
Jake MaConachie and Isaac McMillan did their best to stem the flow but to no avail.
Bailey Frauenfelder’s goal late in the quarter saw the boys trailing by 7 points at the final break.
Repeated inaccuracy in front of goal saw the boys fail to make the most of their opportunities early, while the Rovers kicked two straight.
The signs however were still good with the Pigeons controlling most of the play.
Darcy Norman’s attack on the ball and ability to run was a highlight of the last quarter and contributed to Ronan Pritchard snapping a goal, which was followed by Zac Smith’s mark and conversion. This took the boys to within 1 point.
With less than 90 seconds to go, up stepped Ned Mullins with a great mark on the boundary line 30 metres out.
Ned in his first game back from injury kicked truly to get the boys up by 5 points. Yarrawonga 12.10.82 def Wangaratta Rovers 12.5.77.