On a sunny day in Corowa with little breeze, the Pigeons defeated the Lavington Panthers by 45 points to move through to their third preliminary final in three years.
Following on from the six grand finals in a row, that’s nine years running the Pigeons have finished no lower on the ladder than third.
A great achievement when you also consider that the YFNC will be represented in this weekend’s preliminary finals by all seven teams.
In football the seniors, reserves and under 18s will play at Bunton Park in North Albury on Sunday, along with the A, B, C and under 16 netball teams.
Comparing the performance of the Pigeons senior side this week against Lavington, to the team which suffered a heavy defeat the week before, is like comparing chalk and cheese.
What was served up last week was in complete reverse this week.
Dominance in the centre square, right where the game is determined, a tight and attacking defence, and a functioning forward line all mixed together beautifully to give the Pigeons the advantage all day.
The performance of Mark Whiley in the midfield was incredible. Whiley, who gathered 44 possessions, was a delight to watch.
Not to be outshone, the two veterans in skipper Tyler Bonat and Xavier Leslie both worked in beautifully with Whiley to completely dominate the midfield.
Bailey Frauenfelder, playing in his fifth senior game and his first senior final, was outstanding kicking four goals and one behind while also setting up a couple of others to cap off a very highly skilled performance.
The move of playing seasoned performer Tim Cooper in defence proved a winner, with him initiating plenty of attack.
With the help of Scott Oswald, Marcus Hargreaves and Rhys O’Sullivan, Yarrawonga fielded a very strong and attacking defence.
The forwards were able to find space and become productive both in scoring and working harder to keep the ball in their area.
A far better balance proved decisive and will hopefully be one of many positives the team will take forward into this week’s preliminary final against the Wangaratta Magpies.
The Pigeon Reserves travelled to Wodonga to take on the Wodonga Raiders in the second semi-final on Saturday.
On a blustery day, the Raiders proved too strong for the Pigeon boys, coming out on top with a 29 point win.
The Raiders came out firing from the start, winning the ball cleanly through centre clearances putting the Pigeon defence under enormous pressure.
The Raiders had everything on their terms in the first quarter, booting 5 goals to the Pigeons 2 to lead by 20 points at the first change.
The second term saw the Pigeons begin to gain momentum as they got on top of the Raiders all over the ground.
Pigeon champion Tim Hargreaves led the charge for the Pigeons, kicking six goals out of the team total nine, to be the Pigeons best player for the day.
A strong second quarter had the Pigeons only trailing by 10 points heading into the second half.
The last half was controlled mostly by the Raiders, as they slowly but surely edged clear of the Pigeons.
Pigeon players in Matt Irvine, Ross Mulquiney, Riley Welsh and Damon Hemphill continued to battle hard all day, but the Raiders pace and ball use was too slick for Pigeons at times.
Some late goals to the Raiders saw the margin stretch out at the end.
The Pigeons will now re-group with a light week on the track and some pre-planning for this week’s preliminary final against the Wodonga Bulldogs.
Yarrawonga Pigeons 9.2.56 defeated by Wodonga Raiders 13.7.85
Goals: Tim Hargreaves 6, Travis Hargreaves 1, Ross Mulquiney 1, Xavier Kennedy 1
Best: Tim Hargreaves, James Elliot, Reid Clarke, Travis Hargreaves, Richard Handreck, Doug Arnold
This week the Under 18s travelled to Martin Park Wodonga to play the qualifying final against the Albury Tigers.
The boys started well in what was a very even contest.
Yarrawonga’s tackling pressure early was tremendous with none better than Max Tempany.
Macauley Lonergan smothered and goaled to get the boys on the board before Matt Casey added to the total shortly after.
Macauley added another just before the siren to give the boys a one point lead at the quarter time break.
The second quarter intensity was as good as the first. Matt Casey took his tally to three whilst Ronan Pritchard slotted his first to keep the side in touch.
Yarrawonga’s backline was under immense pressure but Darcy Norman, James Jordon, Lachie Rouel and Isaac McMillan all worked hard to keep the tigers from scoring.
Zac Smith, Macauley Lonergan, Taylor Lewis and Jake MaConachie were all supplying the side plenty of run but despite this the boys went in 9 points down at the main break.
The Albury Tigers had the run of the ball in the third and made the most of it.
Again Yarra’s backline was under pressure and when Matt Casey marked strongly to kick the only goal for the quarter, the Pigeons found themselves down by 19 at the last break.
A strong pack mark by Ronan Pritchard gave the Pigeons hope early.
Joe Gorman was working hard all round the ground and along with great defensive work by Darcy Norman this resulted Matt Casey kicking his fifth.
Unfortunately the boys were not able to hold back the strong Tiger attacks and found themselves 26 points down at the final siren.
Yarrawonga 9.7.61 def by Albury 13.9.87.
Best: M.Lonergan, I.McMillan, M.Casey, Z.Smith, R.Pritchard, D. Norman.