MIRBOO North marked its first visit to Stony Creek since 1968 with a sturdy 57-point victory over the Lions.
The mighty Tigers entered the racecourse oval wearing black armbands in support of the families of Corine Hart and Dr Bob Birrell, who both died during the week.
Using a stock-standard, horses-for-courses, mud-adjusted, wet-weather game plan, Mirboo North continually attacked in the opening quarter. The side’s methodology was to play in front and push the Sherrin forward.
Although Stony Creek couldn’t manage a goal in 100 minutes of gritty grind, its work between the arcs was competitive and courageous.
Despite eight of Mirboo North’s opening-term long-range shots going either side of the big white sticks, the Tigers recorded two important goals and held a 19-point advantage at quarter-time.
Liam Nash, Ben Campbell and Mitchell Wightman had quickly stamped their authority on the game for the visitors, by moving the ball out of the packs as quickly as possible. Across half back, skipper Damien Turner was superb for the Tigers with his sure ball-handling, evasive baulks and productive kicks into the midfield.
Stony Creek was throwing all of its might into the contest, but finding a marking target close to goal was its biggest challenge.
Sam Marriott and Thomas Stone were in everything for the Lions, whilst Jai Bright and Hayden Funnell kept their opponents honest, as the home side tried in vain to move the footy past half-forward.
As heavy traffic became more prevalent and muddy areas increased in size and depth, the game became a tackler’s paradise.
It was certainly tough going for all players in the wind and rain, especially when the sun refused to shine.
For all of their hard work, the second quarter produced nothing on the scoreboard for either team and some spectators wondered if and when the next goal would ever come.
Everything changed in the third quarter when Mirboo North added 5.2 and kept the Lions scoreless. Mirboo North’s mobilised multi-tasked flexibility and forward press simply left Stony Creek’s defenders defenceless.
Immediately, Ben Campbell found power forward Luke Bartlett on a lead, Nash converted after brilliantly marking a Taylor bullet pass, before Taylor slammed home a 45-metre ball-burster from a free kick.
When Nash kicked his third major for the day and Bartlett added another, the Tigers were 51 points clear at the last change.
The Sherrin went backwards and forwards in the final term with more stacks-on-the-mill stoppages and free kicks than anyone could imagine.
Mirboo North kicked 1.1 that included a goal from Lambourn and the Lions scrubbed through their second behind for the match.
Mirboo North will be hosting its fifth Indigenous Round at Walter J Tuck Reserve against Foster this weekend as part of NAIDOC Week.
There will be a formal smoking ceremony followed by a Welcome to Country. At 2.45pm, the senior side will run out to take on the other Tigers, wearing the Indigenous jumper designed by Marilyn Fenton. The illustrations on the jumper represent ‘We Stand as One’, signalling different tribes coming together on their journey to teach children their culture and how they survived on the land.