JAKE'S TAKE: Umpire-bashing, Pigeons defining moment and Hartley creates history


Yarrawonga needs to find its form after losing to an undermanned Lavington at the weekend.

Yarrawonga needs to find its form after losing to an undermanned Lavington at the weekend.

YARRAWONGA’S performance against Lavington on Saturday will be looked at in 10 years as a defining moment in the Pigeons’ season.

It’s just how it defines it that remains to be seen.

Did the biggest upset of the season say more about the Panthers or Pigeons?

While Lavington is undoubtedly a contender and Saturday’s effort both gutsy and impressive, realistically, the Panthers had no right to win.

They were missing six of their best dozen players, yet ran all over a near full-strength reigning premier on its home deck.

It made no sense.

A side with as much quality as Yarrawonga can’t be written off just yet, but things clearly aren’t well down the river.

Yes, Saturday’s defeat was Yarrawonga’s first for the season but the Pigeons have looked a shadow of themselves lately.

They trounced Wangaratta, Corowa-Rutherglen and Myrtleford in the early rounds but their lacklustre showing against winless Wodonga in round 5 sparked a form slump that is yet to be corrected.

They did enough to beat Wangaratta Rovers a week later, but that form hardly stacks up considering the Hawks’ recent run, and by all rights should have dropped their round 7 match against North Albury at the end of last month.

It’s hard to think of a Yarrawonga player that is in career best form, which is not a healthy sign.

Premierships aren’t won in June but confidence, advantages in finals and form can certainly be lost.

Yarrawonga’s clash with a rampant Albury in just under a fortnight is huge.

But for reasons nobody expected.

The Pigeons have to make a statement.

THUNDER IN THE AIR ON NORTH ALBURY TRIO: Aker hopeful on Heenan clearance

NORTH Albury is confident Northern Territory recruit Patrick Heenan will be cleared to Bunton Park this week.

However, it still remains unclear whether former AFL players Austin Wonaeamirri and Ross Tungatalum will join the club.

NT Thunder officials are meeting tonight to discuss the trio’s future after Heenan and Tungatalum lodged clearances last week to play for the Hoppers.

Wonaeamirri is yet to formally request a transfer to Bunton Park.

Heenan watched on from the sidelines at John Foord Oval on Saturday as the Hoppers lost to Corowa-Rutherglen by 22 points and North Albury coach Jason Akermanis said he expected him to be released shortly.

“I’d be surprised if they weren’t supportive of Patty, he’s done the right thing by them,” Akermanis said.

“I’m not sure about the others yet.

“Why they had to wait until Tuesday, I don’t know, but that’s clubs for you.

“Missing this game is of no interest to them and hopefully they aren’t left in a bad situation that stops them from going back to play there again later.”

Brendan Fevola, meanwhile, bounced back from Saturday’s disappointing showing against Lavington with a whopping 15 goals for Lindenow on Sunday.

The Yarrawonga superstar, who managed just two goals in Saturday’s shock loss to the Panthers, slotted them from everywhere a day later playing a one-off game in the East Gippsland league.

The Cats, sporting the same colours as the Pigeons, ran out 82-point winners over rival Wy Yung.

Fevola kicked six goals in the opening term and had 10 by half-time to steer Lindenow to a 20.8 (128) to 7.4 (46) win.

Mike Brady performed and sang the national anthem, with former AFL players Campbell Brown and Liam Pickering special guests on the day.


COROWA-Rutherglen and Lavington.

Saturday’s clash at Lavington is now shaping as a blockbuster. The Panthers showed personnel counted for little when it rolled Yarrawonga in a gutsy showing on Saturday. The Roos, meanwhile, haven’t put a foot wrong. They’ve won six of their first eight games and rightfully head to Lavington this week thinking they can win. It’s been a while since they’ve been able to do that.


I’M not a fan of umpire-bashing but there were some head-scratching calls at the weekend.

North Albury copped a few bad ones against Corowa-Rutherglen on Saturday, with an incorrect out-on-the-full call costing the Hoppers a goal at a crucial stage. It sounds like Brad Murray copped a shocker at McNamara Reserve as well. Players aren’t immune to a bit of criticism every now and then and officials shouldn’t be either. They do a good job for the most part and I’m sure they will get it right.


LAVINGTON’S Joel Hartley smashed all sorts of records to help break one of the longest droughts in State of Origin football on Saturday.

Hartley booted a record 11 goals in a best on ground display at Adelaide’s Airport Stadium to steer the interstate Rebels to their first win over Victoria in 21 years in the annual clash for deaf footballers.

Hartley, 27, was born profoundly deaf and said it was an amazing experience to play in a team with players who face the same challenges on the field he does each week.

“It was a wonderful exp-erience playing alongside blokes who hear absolutely nothing on the field like myself and something I’ll always treasure,” he said.

“They’ve been asking me to play for the last five years and I thought a change in routine might do me good.

“It was my first game back after five weeks out with a hamstring injury, so I’m just glad to come through unscathed.

“Hearing the boys had a win against Yarra really topped the weekend off.”

Hartley’s 11-goal haul was three better than the previous record.

The game was played in complete silence, with the umpire using a fluoro pink hanky to help players understand their decision.

Hartley has managed just two reserves games this year due to injury but will come into consideration for Saturday’s clash with Corowa-Rutherglen after his weekend efforts.