SECOND-PLACED Mirboo North secured its 10th win in 2021, when it outclassed Toora by 131 points in Saturday’s TAC and AFL Road Safety Round at Tigerland.
In so many ways it was the most intriguing of days, where spectators were denied entrance under COVID-19 protocols and the mighty Tigers recorded their highest score and biggest win for the season.
To start with, 13 footballers — six Mirboo North and seven Toora — who had minutes earlier played in the reserves, ran out again for their respective senior sides.
With so many of their teammates locked down in Melbourne, it represented commendable club loyalty and a keenness to serve.
High above the vacant terraces, the match was livestreamed, with Mirboo North stalwarts Joe Piper and Michael Watt in the commentary box.
Players graciously waived their match payments and the umpires blew whistles, ran their legs off and waved flags for no fee.
Elsewhere, neither Foster nor Tarwin had the numbers to field a reserves side against Boolarra and Hill End.
After not having played since July 10, Mirboo North fervently attacked the footy with vigour and at quarter-time, unanswered goals had come from talented youngster Rory Peter, Joel Lambourn and Hudson Kerr.
Kerr’s brother, Oakley, who was playing his first senior game for Mirboo North, was also quickly into the action across the midfield.
Lambourn was another Tiger who put his skills to good use up high, down low, in tight and out wide.
Harley Foat’s precision palming at the stoppages enabled rover Mitchell Wightman to execute decisively swift hand and foot clearances that fed other Tigers streaming down the ground.
For Toora, it was a game of classic contradictions, with some lovely high marking and hurried kicks, with the visitors remaining scoreless in the first term.
A second-term scoring blitz from the locals produced a further six majors, as Toora scraped together two behinds from its rare forays forward.
The organisation of Mirboo North’s structures, and implementation of same, seemed to improve the longer the match proceeded.
Toora was being well-served by Harley Hoppner, whose form from his 11 matches this season has been formidable.
Other visitors to shine in patches were Leigh Biemans, Daniel Mock and rugged big man Tom Keily.
Despite looking weary, the Magpies’ spirits lifted in the third quarter with back-to-back goals from Linden Dyson and Michael O’Sullivan.
However, nothing could stop Mirboo North’s many and varied inside 50 entries, where it banged on 7.6 with attractive play for a lead of 95 points at the last change.
Mirboo North continued on its merry way in the last quarter adding another six goals, whilst Joseph Platt booted Toora’s third major for the afternoon.
In the end, Mirboo North had 14 individual goalkickers, where playing coach Josh Taylor and Tom Campbell led the way with four and three majors respectively.
As Toora said “tooraloo” to Tigerland after its first visit in 130 years, one of its players was delighted to hear his AFL team, Port Adelaide, had knocked over Carlton by 95 points in Adelaide.
This Saturday, Mirboo North is at home to Morwell East, which is sixth on the ladder.