Sport

Pigeons boost percentage against Bulldogs

By Emily Moretto

On a cool and overcast day, the Yarrawonga Pigeons went to battle the Wodonga Bulldogs at Martin Park. 

Senior SCORES

Yarrawonga 2.4 5.7 8.9 16.15 (111)
Wodonga 0.1 0.2 0.5 2.6 (18)

GOALS – Yarrawonga: B. Symes 5, J. Koopman 3, B. Pritchard 2, B. Seymour 2, B. Schofield   1, N. Lawless 1, H. Wheeler 1, J. Jordon 1. Wodonga: B. McPherson 1, O. Willding 1

BEST – Yarrawonga: J. Elliott, I. McMillan, J. Koopman, B. Coburn, J. Jordon, B. Seymour. Wodonga: J. Hicks, S. Flanigan, M. Turner, B. McPherson, J. Heiner, L. Andrews

Whilst the Wodonga Bulldogs are unlikely to be in finals contention this year, the Pigeons always seem to have a hard-fought tussle against them on their home turf. 

Jess Koopman however was keen to get the side off to a great start and achieved that with the sides first goal at the two-minute mark. 

Five minutes later Harry Wheeler followed suit before the Bulldogs went into lock down.

Highly defensive play from the Bulldogs made it hard work for the Yarrawonga forwards and shots under pressure resulted only in minor scores. 

Brilliant work from Yarrawonga’s “back six”, in particular James Elliot and Jake Wild saw the home side kept to only one point for the quarter, giving the Pigeons a 15 point lead.

The second again saw Jess Koopman up and about, kicking two goals in 5 minutes and giving the Pigeons a handy break. However again Wodonga screwed down the clamps to turn the game into a scrappy affair. 

Lach Howe was again showing his class in ruck contests and his mobility around the ground, along with Tyler Bonat whose attack on the contest was showing his team mates how it should be done. 

A late goal to the enigmatic Nick Lawless saw the Pigeons take a 35-point lead into the main break.

The third was played in similar fashion to the second with scrappy contests all over the ground. Braydon Coburn and Xavier Leslie had both toiled well all day along with Isaac McMillan who provided solid marking power around the ground.

It was not until the 18-minute mark that Brandon Symes managed to slip free to post two great goals only a few minutes apart. 

Brady Pritchard kicked his first late in the quarter to see his side up by 52 points. 

Yarrawonga’s backline had been resolute throughout the game, this quarter no different. 

James Elliot’s ability to get a spoiling fist onto a ball despite the size of his opponents was outstanding. Travis Hargreaves and Logan Morey’s desperate individual efforts meant that the Bulldogs still remained goalless going into the final quarter.

The final quarter saw coach Sexton shuffle the side and this led to the game opening up a bit. Wingers Bronson Schofield and James Jordon made the most of this with a goal apiece in the first 5 minutes. James Jordon making his senior O&M debut only a week after debuting in the TAC cup made a great impression on those who saw him. 

James confidently racked up 15 quality possessions off the wing along with his goal. 

James is the seventh player to debut with the Pigeons senior side this year, the majority of these players coming up through the junior ranks. 

After his performance on the weekend, Pigeon supporters will no doubt be seeing more of this future champion. 

Brandon Symes continued his good form into the last quarter kicking another two in as many minutes. 

Brady Pritchard slotted another great goal from deep in the pocket before Beau Seymour kicked a couple for himself, appreciating the reprieve from his usual backline duties. 

Brandon Symes took his goal tally to five after the final siren to see the Pigeons home by 93 points.

Yarrawonga Hotel award: James Elliot. 

Chronicle award: 5 votes: J.Elliott, 4 votes: B.Symes, 3 votes: J.Koopman, 2 votes: B.Seymour, 1 vote: X.Leslie. 

Reserves

Wodonga 1.3 9 def by Yarrawonga 17.17 119

The Yarrawonga Reserves have scored a 110-point victory against Wodonga at Martin Park. 

A stunning nine goal opening quarter allowed the Pigeons to settle in the contest and held the Wodonga team to just three points after quarter time. 

The Pigeons were left to rue inaccuracy in the final half kicking six goals and thirteen behinds. The Pigeons were led by lively forward Macca Lonergan who along with Tim Lawrence kicked three quality goals. 

Jordan Urquhart staked his claim for a senior recall with a high possession game through the midfield. 

Tall timber in Joe Gorman and Damon Symes allowed the Pigeons to have first access to the ball and drive the Pigeons deep forward on 34 occasions. 

Ten separate goalkickers showed the adaptability required to go deep into the finals.  

Chase Cordon continually attacked the football and distributed the ball to the Pigeons runners.

Goal Kickers: M. Lonergan 3, T. Lawrence 3, J. Urquhart 2, D. Symes 2, M. McCabe 2, B. McCabe, R. Pritchard, C. Cordon, M. Dwyer, C. Wilson.

Best Players: M. Lonergan, C. Cordon, J. Urquhart, J. Gorman, D. Symes, T. Lawrence. 

Yarrawonga Hotel Award: Macca Lonergan.

Thirds

Wodonga 7.2 44 def by Yarrawonga 13.13 91

The thirds left Yarrawonga in bright sunshine, but arrived in Wodonga to find overcast and cold conditions, as well as a fired-up Bulldogs side, who needed to win to remain in the finals hunt. Coach Mulquiney had managed to arrange a volcanic eruption to ensure he remained in Bali, so Terry was again at the helm and super keen to avoid Ross’ own eruption if the boys went down. 

From the first bounce, Yarrawonga found themselves harassed and pressured whenever they touched the ball. 

Despite this, the boys were able to handle themselves well and return fire. 

A number of injuries during the day saw three key players, surprisingly including Finn O’Dwyer, spend significant time off the ground.  

With each quarter the margin between the two sides continued to grow and when Jack Brooks topped off a fine game with a goal after the final siren, a comfortable victory had been secured.

Unlike last week, there were many four quarter contributors. 

Sam Mickleson played his best game of the season and it is a matter of time before he stands on someone’s head and takes mark of the century. 

Hayden Cartwright was back to his best roaming the wings and providing great drive. 

Throw Simm in as another who played his best game for the year too. 

Brock McCabe terrorised the opposition backs with a record number of tackles for a forward. Byrne, Sexton and Mullins all worked well around the packs. 

Down back, Fraunfelder, Sharpe and Conway won everyone on one contest that they were involved in and Ned Pendergast continued his fine form. 

In fact every player could walk off the ground head held high.

Special thanks to Marty Brooks for umpiring, he did a sensational job with little notice. 

The boundary umpiring was also outstanding. Strong win boys.

Goal Kickers: J. Brooks 5, J. Sexton 2, B. McCabe, T. Lawrence, N. Pendergast, M. Hemphill, K. Sharp, F. O’’Dwyer.

Best Players: O. Conway, W. Woodburn, J. Sexton, J. Brooks, K. Sharp, H. Cartwright. 

Awards: Yarrawonga Hotel Award: B.McCabe, Wingates Intersport: Josh Simm, Balance Spin Studio: Will Woodburn, Yarrawonga Fish & Chips: Jordyn Studd.