McNeill’s class sees his side storm into semi-final
Barooga came up trumps against Tungamah in the Murray Football League reserves competition, taking down the Bears by 25 points in a sudden death elimination final at Finley Recreation Reserve.
Ben McNeill was once again the star of the show for the Hawks in their 8.13 (61) to 5.6 (36) victory, named best-on-ground following a runner’s-up placing in the league’s reserves best-and-fairest award.
In the vote count at Club Mulwala two weeks ago, McNeill finished in a threeway tie for second with Adrian Connell (Tungamah) and Tom Dow (Mulwala).
He finished agonisingly close to taking home the medal, finishing on 17 votes, with joint winners Chris O’Neill (Mulwala) and James Tyler (Tongala) both landing on 18 votes.
The solidly built midfielder has been a remarkably consistent performer for the Hawks in the reserves this season, named in the best players in 15 of 18 matches.
He was a key cog in helping the Barooga machine finish fifth on the ladder with 12 wins.
While Barooga went into the game as favourite against Tungamah, it was certainly made to work hard for its place in a semifinal against Echuca United at Lonsdale Reserve, Mulwala on Saturday.
The first half was a dour affair, with the score reading 24-22 in Barooga’s favour.
It remained tight in the premiership quarter, with the Hawks taking a slight one-goal advantage into the final term.
In the final stanza, Barooga was finally able to play some free-flowing football and broke the game open by kicking three goals while restricting the Bears to just two points.
Brendon Jack was a key contributor with three majors, while onballer Sam Macheda found plenty of the footy, and usual senior player Cam Sudholz performed well.
Great year: Barooga’s Ben McNeill (left) was runnerup in the Murray Football League reserves best-andfairest count.