On a huge day for the Yarrawonga Football Netball Club, with all seven teams playing in preliminary finals at North Albury, the seniors fell 11 points short of a grand final spot.
After previously being dealt a 76 point loss at the hands of Wangaratta Magpies only two weeks ago in a qualifying final, the Pigeons and the Pies met again, this time in the preliminary final, with the winner to advance through to take on the Albury Tigers in a grand final showdown.
The game was played in typical preliminary final fashion, it was tough and fierce with both teams having no intention of leaving anything out on the field.
Both sides had early chances to put scoreboard pressure on the opposition, but some inaccurate goal kicking saw the score remain tight at quarter time with the Pies holding a 3 point lead at the first change.
At times the Pigeons looked as though at times they had the ascendency over the Pies, but good sides always hit back, and that is exactly what the Pies did all day.
Mark Whiley was excellent all day for the Pigeons, as his ability to break away from stoppages and put his teammates into space was a highlight.
True to form, Whiley polled well in the Morris Medal count on Monday night, finishing in equal second with 16 votes behind eventual winner Chris Hyde from Albury.
Ryan Bruce, in only his fifth game for the Pigeons this season looked at home all day. His composure around the contest combined with his excellent football smarts saw him being one of the Pigeons best players.
Heading into the last term, the Pigeons were full of confidence as they held a 10 point lead over the Pies.
The determination of the leaders in Leslie, Bonat, Barnes, Cooper and McMillan was evident, as they were giving their absolute all to try and get the Pigeons into another grand final.
As the quarter went on, the Pies began to press hard as they were beginning to swing the momentum into their favour through winning the ball around the contest and surging it deep inside 50.
The sheer amount of entries into the Pies forward line was too much for the Pigeons defence to handle, as they nailed home late goals to break the back of the Pigeons.
The Pigeons were brave until the very end and their effort and determination could not be questioned.
The Pigeons Reserves will face Wodonga Raiders in the Ovens and Murray Grand Final on Saturday after downing the Wodonga Bulldogs by 38 points in the preliminary final at Bunton Park, North Albury.
The Pigeons came out all guns blazing on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Bunton Park as they looked hungry and determined in response to last week’s disappointing loss.
Seven first quarter goals to the Pigeons immediately put the Bulldogs on the back foot as Tim Hargreaves and Matt Grinter were looking ominous up forward, both hitting the scoreboard early.
Big men in David O’Dwyer and Riley Welsh were instrumental in the centre of the ground, providing first use to the likes of Doug Arnold, Matt Irvine and Travis Hargreaves, who were all brilliant for the games entirety.
The Pigeons will now play Wodonga Raiders in the Ovens Murray Reserves Grand Final for the Carlton Mid Cup.
Let’s make sure there is plenty of blue and white at the Lavington Sports Ground on Saturday. Good luck boys.
Yarrawonga Pigeons 13.12.90 defeated Wodonga Bulldogs 7.10.52
With a spot in the grand final next week up for grabs, the boys were off to North Albury to take on the Wangaratta Magpies.
The boys got off to a great start with Ronan Pritchard posting the first goal within minutes. Ely Smith followed shortly after as the team was running well.
Down back, Darcy Norman was dominant and James Jordon was supplying plenty of run. Ronan Pritchard took his total to three with two great goals and Macauley Lonergan capped off the quarter with another.
The Pigeons up by 17 points at the first break.
The second developed into a battle of the backlines. Ely Smith, Lewis Taylor and Isaac McMillan all provided plenty of dash but the forwards were unable to capitalise.
Darcy Norman continued to work hard in the backline and was well supported by Troy Bryce and Lochie Rouel.
The boys were goalless in the second and went in 11 points up.
In the third Yarrawonga was able to again extend their lead with goals to Ely Smith, Tim Lawrence and Cameron Magher.
Matt Casey, Ronan Pritchard, Macauley Lonergan, Joe Gorman and Zac Smith all worked hard through the middle of the ground to see the boys take a 16 point lead into the last.
Wangaratta came out hard in the last and a few cracks started to show in the Pigeon lineup.
Supply into the forwardline slowed with only Tim Lawrence able to capitalise and score a goal.
The backline was under huge pressure. Again Darcy Norman stood tallest but was unable to stop the avalanche of ball coming into the backline.
A five goal to one final quarter saw the Magpies run over the top of the Pigeons and end their season.
Yarrawonga 9.8.62 lost to Wangaratta 10.15.75.
Best: D.Norman, E.Smith, M.Lonergan, L.Taylor, T.Bryce, R.Pritchard.
A huge thank you to all the parents who assisted with volunteer tasks during the year, in particular Barry Norman who was the time keeper all season.