With the top-five already decided, Round 17 of the North Gippsland Football-Netball League essentially acted as match practice for teams headed toward finals. Yallourn Yallourn North, Churchill, Yarram and Woodside were afforded the opportunity to fine-tune, trial and, along with Traralgon Tyers United, perhaps even rest a few key players as there is still one more round to play before the real stuff starts.

THE match that carried the most interest was between YYN and Churchill.

Both sides entered the match with a double-chance sewn up, and eager to get a psychological edge on their opponent in anticipation for a likely finals encounter.

Having lost to the Cougars earlier in the season, there was some discussion surrounding whether or not the Jets had grown as a team from that day, or had simply beaten up on weaker opponents in the time since.

Any such doubts were surely extinguished at the final siren, after a fast-finishing YYN won 18.14 (122) to 12.9 (81).

The Jets slammed on six goals to one in the last quarter at home, and will take the minor premiership into the finals series.

The match was an arm-wrestle up until three quarter time, with the biggest margin at any of the first three breaks just six points.

With a few question marks over the Cougars’ depth this season, the grind of a hard game such as this eventually took its toll, and YYN was able to capitalise.

Jai Massese was instrumental in the win, taking out best-on-ground honours.

Massese has been a model of consistency in 2022, named in the best 11 out of 15 games.

Others to perform well for the Jets were James De Virgilio, Dylan Bath, Campbell MacInnes, Allan Norris and Braden Paulet.

Key forward Ben Kearns was best for Churchill, while Chris Wangman impacted the scoreboard with five goals.

Calen Hill, Jordan Fenech, Rhys Luxford and Joey Whykes also did a good job.

The Jets’ win sets up a mouth-watering Round 18 clash against fellow top-three side TTU fresh off a bye.

They say hindsight is a wonderful thing, and looking at YYN from when they first entered North Gippsland, it is crazy to think most people (including this writer) tipped them to take a few years to adjust.

On closer inspection, they were never going to struggle – a forward line of Dean MacDonald, Mitchell Luck, Keenan Hughes and Josh Keyhoe wouldn’t look out of place in the Gippsland League.

The Jets have certainly proved a few people wrong, and a flag this season to go alongside their Mid Gippy one from 2019 would cap off a fair domination of local footy.

Sam Davidson Sale City
Sam Davidson kicked two goal for Sale City against Gormandale. Photo Zoe Askew

YARRAM got some kilometres into their legs against Rosedale.

The Demons make the trip to the town of two pubs and two bakeries, and left with the four points after winning 18.11 (119) to 6.8 (44).

Yarram blew the game open in the first quarter, slamming on nine goals.

From there, they were able to put the game in cruise-control, and see the contest through to the end.

Corbin Sutherland, Anthony Scott and Josh Swift all had solid returns in front of goal, nabbing five, four and four respectively.

Boadie Motton was best for the Demons, and had a few mates in Tate Chisolm, Louis Rodaughan, Liam Bentley, Dan Vardy and Tyler Chisholm help him out.

Will Logan played a lone hand for Rosedale, kicking four goals.

Luke Stuckey, Ryan Burns, Declan Barnett, Riley Atlee and Rohan Hilderbrand battled hard.

WOODSIDE also got itself ready for finals.

The Wildcats, headed for an elimination showdown with Yarram in a fortnight’s time, dismissed Cowwarr with relative ease.

Taking to their home deck, Woodside led at every change to win 18.23 (131) to 3.5 (23).
A frugal defence highlighted the day, while there was plenty of attack from the men in the hoops, but not a great deal of accuracy as they peppered the goal face.

Fortunately for the Saints this inaccuracy softened the impact on the scoreboard, and kept them off the bottom of the ladder for the time being.

A seven goal second quarter was the Wildcats best, and they only allowed Cowwarr to add 1.3 (9) in the second half.

David Waddell kicked six goals and Ryan Foat five for Woodside.

Foat was best-on-ground, followed by Hamish McLeod, Waddell, Trent Askew, Lee Stockdale and Jeremy Morgan.

Ben Coffey, Jack Casson, Nick Wozniak, Braden Johnston, Matt Bourke and Kyle Stamers put in determined efforts for Cowwarr.

GLENGARRY continued to take steps in the right direction.

The Magpies again showed they might be a team that makes a climb up the ladder next season, after defeating Heyfield by 12 points.

Following last week’s victory against Sale City, Glengarry was able to make it back-to-back wins over credible opposition by defeating the Kangaroos.

Only six points separated the sides at the final break, but the visiting Magpies found a way to grind out a character building 9.18 (72) to 8.12 (60) victory.

Lachlan Jewell played well for Glengarry, as did Travis Patten, Jack Burgess, Declan Massaro, Ben Britten and Michael Ryan.

Best for Heyfield was Liam Heasley, Adam Wallace, Brayden Woodland, Tom Marchesi, Shaun Humphreys and Bailey Escreet.

In the eyes of most, Glengarry has been a lot better than their bottom-third position on the ladder in recent seasons would suggest, and a side boasting the likes of Jackson Hall, Jay Neagle and Nic Quenault was always going to come good eventually.

It would seem they are now a side starting to come good.

SALE CITY had some fun against Gormandale.

With no finals to play for, the Bulldogs set about kicking a massive score on their home deck – and that is precisely what they did.

Just like Jason Gillespie, Sale City reached the double ton just before the final siren, with their effort reading 29.26 (200) to 4.5 (29).

As they have done all season, the Tigers fought valiantly, but could not contain Bulldog forwards Ben Brett, Mitch Evans and Blake Safstron, who kicked 18 goals between them.

Brett took player-of-the-match honours, while Safstrom and Evans weren’t far behind.

Ben Brett in action for Sale City Football Netball Club
Ben Brett in action for Sale. Photo Zoe Askew

Jack Kirkham, Sam Davidson and Cam Green (not on permit from cricket duties), found plenty of the ball.

Kodie Owen, Liam Deeing, Tyler Kanara, Mitch Jones, Trent Baldwin and Jereme Lazaris soldiered on for Gormandale.

TTU had the bye.