McNeill’s class sees his side storm into semi-fi­nal

The Cobram Courier - - SPORT -

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.

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