Jason Turnbull
TARGET: Southern Mallee Giants Jason Turnbull takes possession of the ball as team-mate Kris Paech battles Minyip-Murtoa opponents Jarrod Newell and Lachie Jordan during Sunday’s reserves preliminary final.

SOUTHERN Mallee Giants reserves had a task of trying to roll Minyip-Murtoa on theBurra’s home ground at Murtoa in Sunday’s preliminary final.

This was going to be a big effort for the Giants to take the win as they were missing Riley Cook, Shannon Stewart and Jack Bellinger who have all been in great form over the
past few weeks.

The conditions were a little deceiving, it was a nice sunny day, but out on the field there was swirly wind conditions that was going to make it hard for both sides to be clean with the ball.

From the first bounce Minyip-Murtoa bounced strongly out of the box. The Burra’s had 75% of the play in their forward line and the Giants backline was under siege.
Josh Dodgshun was strongn defence along with Matt Bellinger who was hitting the packs hard.

Luckily for the Giants the Burra’s were missing their opportunity at goal, and after the first quarter they had kicked 1.5 and had a four-point lead.

The second quarter the Giants let their guard down a little and allowed the well-tuned opposition to extend the lead to 23 points. Dave Baulch was working hard all around the ground, with Kris Paech rucking well and putting his body on the line and backing under many tough contests.

Once again, the Burra’s were struggling to kick goals as they had now notched up 13 minor scores, this was keeping hope for the Giants to come back in the second half.

Things seemed to get worse as Sam Martin was hurt in a contest and could take no further part of the game. The third quarter was much better by the Giants as they worked hard around the ground and played some discipline football.

Jason Turnbull was playing well for someone who was nursing a hamstring injury that had flared up. At the end of the third quarter the Giants had kept the Burra’s from extending their lead any further.

To claw a 24-point lead back in the last quarter was going to be a big task for the Giants but there was a feeling in the crowd that the Giants were slowly wearing the Burra boys down.

Andy Phelan was running hard up and down the ground, putting on plenty of pressure and giving many options along with Jack Landrigan who was throwing his body at anything
that made it to our forward line. Unfortunately, the Burra’s were not going to give achance at making a great comeback, as they lifted their momentum as they felt the win not far around the corner.

When the final siren sounded it was Minyip-Murtoa who took out a strong win beating the
Giants by 42 points. Big congratulations to the Giants boys on their season. To end up third in their first year in the Wimmera was a great result. Big thanks to the two coaches Matty Webster and Dave Baulch who done a great job again this year. Also, a big thank you to all the travelling players who travel some big distances each week to come and help the Giants field a reserves side.

Don’t forget next week to come and support the Seniors who play the Horsham Demons in the Grand final at Warracknabeal. It is set to be a cracking grand final as it will be two strong sides playing for the silverware who don’t like giving and inch to each other.