Mirboo North celebrates after a terrific one-point win over Newborough on Saturday. The Bulldog’s had a 21 point advantage in the final quarter which the hard working Tigers reeled in, sealing the win with a Shane Peter’s goal just before the final siren.
REIGNING premier Mirboo North miraculously defeated Newborough by a point, to claim the Mid Gippsland grand final at Ronald Reserve, Morwell East, on Saturday (Mirboo North 12.15 – 87 d Newborough 13.8 – 86).
The only change to Mirboo North’s winning preliminary final team against Boolarra, was the return of Dane McGennisken, who replaced the injured Brian Waters.
Although Mirboo North had lost to the Doggies by the staggering total of 241 points in its three previous 2014 encounters, club insiders always felt the mighty Tigers could land another back-to-back flag, if the 52 cards and two jokers in the deck, all fell their way.
In an emotion-charged day for MNFNC, it also won the Thirds football and A and B Grade netball premierships.
Each member of Mirboo North’s four teams wore two black armbands in support of the families of local teenagers, Emily Watson and Danielle Lockie, who recently died in separate road accidents.
After winning 17 of its 19 matches under playing coach, Glenn Michie, Newborough’s third successive nail-biting grand final loss was a game it was never meant to lose.
Sadly for the Doggies, they let Mirboo North calculatingly reel in their 21-point final-quarter advantage.
Enthralled spectators paid $29,242 at the gate to witness the MGFL’s third one-point premiership decider, since its formation in 1935.
Deep into time-on in the final quarter, Shane Peters experienced every footballer’s dream, when he put the Tigers in front, after brilliantly marking a low, hamstring-tearing pass from Jack Robertson.
Under extreme pressure, Peters calmly kicked a stylish 32-metre left-foot drop punt over the goal umpire’s head, to secure Mirboo North’s glorious victory and his first senior premiership.
Peters also booted the first goal of the match, that helped give the Tigers a 12-point lead at quarter-time.
Mirboo North controlled most of the opening term with steady marking and successfully used first-choice options that limited Newborough to a single behind.
Dwayne Gunn, Alex Windsor, McGennisken, Daniel Taylor and Kris Berchtold were repelling superbly out of Mirboo North’s defence, whilst Tristan Salerno, Ben Ah Mat, Liam Nash, Jake Nash, Simon Busuttil and Josh Taylor were conquering the midfield.
The only sign of trouble for the Tigers came when star full-back, Drew Gardener limped from the field with a match-ending calf injury.
With the Tigers upping the ante forward of centre during the second term, goals on the run from Liam Nash, Tim Traill and Matt Holland, extended the lead to 32 points.
As half-time approached, two goals from Michael Gelagotis, one of which came after a 50-metre penalty and the other from a free-kick in the goal-square, reduced Newborough’s deficit to 23 points at the long break.
A refreshed, revitalized and fired-up Newborough emerged from the change-rooms and pushed Mirboo North’s resources to breaking point.
Within a minute, Stuart Robertson had Newborough’s third goal on the board, but Mirboo North’s Robertson answered immediately when Liam Nash burst out of the centre and hit him on the chest.
With Chris Hancock winning in the ruck, Robertson, Daniel Risol, James Todd, Rhys Jacobs and Thomas Wilson, became more proactive and suddenly, there were Bulldog jumpers running in all directions.
In the space of 10 minutes, the Doggies slammed on six more goals, including two from Michie, singles through Anthony Battista and Todd and a couple by Adam Kennedy.
After steadiers for the Tigers from Traill and Damien Turner, Newborough snapped two more and led by 13 points at the last change.
Coach, Troy Hamilton enthusiastically encouraged his weary men to dig deep, run hard, fight to the end and bring another premiership cup home to Tigerland.
A to-and-fro last quarter produced goals to Kennedy and Luke Webber for the Doggies, whilst a boundary line beauty from Daniel Taylor and two majors by Kallum Nash, reduced the Tigers’ deficit to six points.
Then, Josh Taylor unluckily hit the right goal post high-up, Daniel Taylor was yellow carded for a collision with Rob Wilson, Peters kicked the winning goal and the large yellow and black army went wild.
On this beautiful, sunny September afternoon, Hollywood couldn’t have scripted it any better for the mighty Tigers.
Mirboo North goals: K Nash 2, M Holland 2, S Peters 2, T Traill, L Nash, D Turner, J Robertson, D Taylor.
Mirboo North best: L Nash, S Peters, J Nash, T Traill, T Salerno, K Berchtold.
Newborough goals: A Kennedy 3, G Michie 3, M Gelagotis 2, A Battista, S Robertson, T Wilson, L Webber, J Todd.
Newborough best: C Hancock, A Philip, M Stanlake, A Kennedy, S Robertson, T Wilson.
Thirds bring home ninth cup
Mirboo North won its ninth MGFL thirds premiership when it hung on to defeat a fast-finishing Newborough by 15 points (Mirboo North 12.9 – 81 d Newborough 10.6 – 66).
The mighty Tigers began sensationally and had four goals on the scoreboard, before Brad McColl scrubbed one through for the Doggies.
Mirboo North’s fast play-on football, where it used quick and clean first-option handballs to run and spread, caused all sorts of problems for Newborough.
Unfortunately, Beau Linforth was an early casualty for the Tigers, when he had to be assisted from the field with a severe arm injury that required surgery.
Isaac Abas was outstanding for Mirboo North with his big hit-outs in the ruck and his brilliant follow-up tackling inspired his teammates.
Thomas Taylor provided an excellent marking target up forward and finished with six magnificent goals for the Tigers.
After its poor start, Newborough kept pace with the Tigers, by matching their six goals during the second and third terms.
Luke Molesworth, Daniel Somerville and the high-marking Josh Pearce, were all in red-hot form for the Doggies.
Newborough made a determined run for victory in the last quarter, drawing to within nine points of the Tigers, close to full time.
A crucial overhead mark on the last line from Sam Pratt held the Doggies out, before Wes Graeme broke clear to kick Mirboo North’s 12th and final goal on the siren.
Mirboo North goals: T Taylor 6, J Richards, R Oddy, J Salinger, Z Fayolle, J Buxton, J Moro.
Mirboo North best: I Abas, T Taylor, Z Fayolle, W Graeme, S Pratt, J Salinger.