Tigers strive for finals glory

MIRBOO North gleefully sprang into spring and celebrated playing coach Clancy Bennett’s 150th senior game for the club with a superb 30 point preliminary final victory over Yallourn Yallourn North on Saturday.
Dejected YYN fans witnessed the Bombers nosedive out of a third successive finals series that followed heartbreaking grand final losses to Yinnar in 2015 and Newborough last year.
After scraping into the final five on percentage, the mighty Tigers now meet Yinnar at Morwell Recreation Reserve this Saturday to decide the winner of the 2017 Mid Gippsland premiership.
By throwing caution to the wind from the outset, Mirboo North set its own agenda and cleverly used its underdog status to upstage the highly-credentialed Bombers on their home ground.
The pregame head banging, decibel blasting, disco music inside YYN’s change rooms falsely suggested the Bombers were ready to rock and roll their way into the match.
Instead, YYN began at little more than pedestrian pace and suffered from a temporary eclipse of its game plan, as Mirboo North roared into the action.
Perhaps under the weight of its own expectations, YYN couldn’t create enough firepower to immediately stamp its authority over the Tigers.
YYN appeared nervous and hesitant to attack the ball with the vigor, ferocity and confidence, that saw it obliterate Mirboo North by 73 points at the same venue in July.
Flat footedness and an inability to break free from Mirboo North’s relentless tackling also played a major part in YYN’s eventual downfall.
Superstars Tom Hutton, Tyler Brown, Lachlan Little, Jack Casson, Dean MacDonald and Barrie Burnett were serviceable performers for YYN, but their usual dominance was restricted by the close attention paid to them by the Tigers.
Ben Richards, Jacob Blair, Julian Blackford, Peter Taylor and Bennett were solid defenders for Mirboo North, who marked strongly and repelled many of the Bombers’ forward 50 entries.
Darryl Mayman, Hudson Kerr, Dom Pinneri and Mitchell Wightman were other Tigers displaying plenty of determination and producing consistent drive through the midfield.
At the centre circle throw ups, Mirboo North ruckman Joe Brooks, used his broad shouldered physique and kangaroo jumping technique to out-position his lighter and younger rival Mitchell Luck.
Within 90 seconds of play, Josh Taylor booted Mirboo North’s first major with a grubber off the deck that split the middle of the big white sticks.
The exuberant blond bombshell would score another crucial goal in the final quarter, as well as being a key burst-away link man for the Tigers.
Dynamic, forward pocket specialist Tim Phillips quickly answered for YYN, after marking a neat pass from playing coach Adam Bailey.
Two more goals from Jack Robertson and Brayden Wilson pushed Mirboo North 12 points clear, before Hutton found MacDonald for the Bombers’ second major late in the first term.
Mirboo North’s decision to select Tim Traill in his first senior game since 2015 and 198th senior appearance for the Tigers, soon paid dividends, early in the second quarter, when he slotted the first of his four goals for the afternoon.
At times, YYN’s defenders seemed more concerned about pushing Traill out of the way in marking contests, than attacking the ball itself.
By half-time, scores were level at 6.3 apiece, after YYN began to find its feet with late goals coming from Hutton, Phillips and MacDonald.
Anthony Young, Dylan Bentley and Lucas Jenkinson also helped the Bombers start to hum along nicely and gather some much needed momentum.
A dogged third quarter, where Mirboo North added three goals to YYN’s two, set up a fight-to-the death last quarter, to decide which team would meet Yinnar in the grand final.
Rather than making positional changes and filling his men with too many instructions, Bennett directed the Tigers to keep attacking and if mistakes were made in the name of endeavor, so be it.
Robertson hit the post for the Tigers from 40 metres, before Phillips put the Bombers in front, when a field umpire noticed a slight tug on his jumper, close to the goalmouth.
Undeterred, Mirboo North immediately replied when Traill goaled after Blair, skipper Damien Turner and Wilson combined to deliver the Sherrin safely into his waiting arms.
Nash passed to Wilson, whose long roost was brilliantly marked by Josh Taylor, who posted Mirboo North’s 11th goal.
When Wilson burst through two Bombers and sent them flying, he slammed home the Tigers’ 12th major and Mirboo North’s lead was out to 17 points.
The Tigers’ tails were well and truly up when closing goals to Kilgower and Robertson put the game beyond the wilting Bombers’ reach.

Pressure: Mirboo North’s Daniel Taylor fights his way out of the pack in the preliminary final against Yallourn Yallourn North.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=22504

Posted by on Sep 5 2017. Filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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