1. THE PIGEON PAIR
THE club song says they’re a mighty team at Yarrawonga, but this group of Pigeons are officially the mightiest of them all.
The club won back-to-back premierships for the first time in its history in September and left the small country town rejoicing once again.
Gun forward Brendan Fevola certainly wasn’t in any doubt as to which Yarrawonga team was the best of them all in the moments after the Pigeons’ captured their second straight flag.
“I said to the boys before the game that if we won and went back to back, we’d be the greatest team to ever play for Yarrawonga.
And you know what? We went back to back,” he said.
2. ACIDIC AKERMANIS
JASON Akermanis has never shied away from giving his opinion and the North Albury coach lived up to that reputation when asked about fierce rival Albury.
Akermanis let fly following the Hoppers’ exit from finals, saying the Tigers had “destroyed” the Ovens and Murray with their recent dominance.
“It’s just ridiculous,” Aker declared.
“The amount of money they spend on their talent is ridiculous.”
3. PETTS' HUGE WRAP
THE rivalry between Yarrawonga and Albury certainly hasn’t dimmed with time.
The Pigeons and Tigers dished blockbusters again this season, with the highlight a thriller in round 9 at the J.C. Lowe Oval.
Former Geelong star Brad Ottens was a shock withdrawal after being picked to make his debut that day but the two heavyweights still played out an epic in front of least 6000 people that saw the Pigeons home by 10 points.
Yarrawonga ace Kayne Pettifer, who played more than 100 AFL games for Richmond, labelled it the toughest game he’d played in since finishing at the highest level.
That’s a fair wrap.
4. DOUBLE DOUBLES
LAVINGTON champions Matt Pendergast and Kade Stevens racked up an uncanny milestone late in the year when the close friends played their 200th match for the Panthers on the very same day.
“You couldn’t have written that script,” Pendergast said before the game.
To make things even sweeter, the Panthers chalked up their biggest win for the year as they trounced Wodonga Raiders by 108 points.
And as always, Penda and Stevo were in the thick of things.
NORTH Albury’s resurgence was one of the bigger talking points of the season.
First, the Hoppers landed AFL champion Jason Akermanis as coach, then signed Jason Gram straight out of the AFL before luring a host of country footy stars to Bunton Park.
Club legend Corey Lambert was then stunningly appointed a senior assistant coach just months after stepping down from the Wodonga Raiders’ helm.
Those were just a few talking points throughout a roller-coaster season that saw the Hoppers make finals just a year after claiming the wooden spoon.
6. LUCKY UNDIES
ANDY Carey’s ugly clash with Yarrawonga youngster Corey Greer in the final round was one of the most talked about moments of the year.
Everybody had an opinion on what happened during the fiery melee but few would disagree that Carey was very lucky to be suspended for just one game after a marathon tribunal hearing.
The man with the Midas touch when it comes to representing players, high-profile advocate Iain Findlay, was called to work his magic and it paid off handsomely for the Tigers as Carey made it back in time to play a part in finals.
7. (C)HEAT IS ON
BRENDAN Fevola certainly didn’t suffer any second-year blues when it came to attracting headlines at Yarrawonga again this year.
But the former AFL champ found himself in his hottest water late in the season after calling umpires “cheats” in the wake of the Pigeons’ shock loss to Lavington in round 15.
Fevola was suspended for two games as a result but returned with a vengeance late in the year as he starred in Yarrawonga’s charge to back-to-back premierships.
If you haven’t learned by now, there’s never a dull moment with Brendan.
8. WHAT DID YOU SAY?
TENSIONS reached boiling point at Lavington in round 11 when Wangaratta’s star goalkicker James Wong was subject to a racial sledge that left the Pies fuming.
Wong, who has since left the competition, was told to “stop speaking Chinese” by an opponent and it resulted in the game coming to a brief halt while a heated slanging match ensued.
Wong told The Border Mail he was “sick of it” after revealing he had been racially abused more than once in his time in the league.
9. REPRESENT, BOYS
INTERLEAGUE football reached a new low for the Ovens and Murray this year when the league was stunningly thrashed by the Peninsula league in May.
The 45-point loss, which few saw coming, sent the O and M plummeting back down the rankings and prompted league boss Aaron McGlynn to take a swipe at players who refused to represent the league.
“These guys ply their trade in our league week in, week out, and it would be nice if they could give something back,” he said.
10. GOLD IN THE HULLS
FEW have given more to Wangaratta Rovers in modern times than Ross and Andy Hill and the pair both called time on their careers this season.
Andy, winner of five best and fairest awards at the W.J. Findlay Oval, was forced to retire due to a degenerative neck condition while cousin Ross, who racked up his 300th game during the season, called it quits after the Hawks’ semi-final loss to Lavington.
The pair combined for more than 550 games for the Hawks and will be sorely missed by the league.