Blues give Lions a shock in MFL

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Big result: Tongala sent a reminder of its quality with a resounding victory over Mulwala. Photo: Josh Huntly.

Tongala has put the Murray Football League back on notice with a resounding 59-point win over Mulwala in a battle of the premiership contenders at Lonsdale Reserve.

The Blues managed to keep the highly fancied Lions goalless in the first half to lead by 28 points at the main break, and halfway through the last quarter Mulwala only had one goal on the board.

A nine-goal-to-four second half saw Tongala run away with a 13.11 (89) to 4.6 (30) win, a remarkable result that sees Mulwala slump to just its second loss of the season.

Star off-season recruit Ryan Nyhuis made his return to the squad for his first match since round four and was swung forward to great effect, booting three goals.

Anthony Dennis joined him in the goals column with three of his own, while Cam Ilett, also making his return after a brief hiatus, played a starring role in the clash.

Adam Rouel and Matt Gorman attempted to swing back momentum the Lions’ way, but the Blues’ swathe of contributors proved overpowering.

As predicted pre-game, the midfield battle proved pivotal and the Tongala on-ball brigade of Ilett, Coby McCarthy and Nicholas Jamieson had the ascendancy in the clearances for most of the contest, much to the pleasure of coach Jordan Souter.

“We played our best game of the year,” Souter said.

“They only had one goal halfway through the last quarter.

“We’re starting to get a few back in the side and we’re starting to play better footy. We felt like we won the midfield battle, especially the clearances, which were important on that ground.”

After a lean mid-season run that had some questioning Tongala’s premiership credentials, a win over a fellow flag contender — its second straight — was the perfect reply to its doubters heading into the league bye.

Dropping three games on the spin, the Blues have responded in brutal fashion, putting Barooga to the sword last week and now trumping Mulwala on its home ground.

“We obviously didn’t want to drop three games in the middle of the year,” Souter said.

“It’s still going to be hard to crack into the top two. We’ll have to rely on a lot of results and keep winning ourselves.

“We’re happy with where we are at the moment. We’ll go into the bye refreshed and we’re starting to feel like we’re hitting our straps.”

Tongala will head into the league bye in fourth spot, sharing a 9-3 record with Moama in third, with both now a game clear of Deniliquin (fifth) courtesy of the Pies’ win over the Rams.

In the reserves clash, Tongala claimed a 63-point victory to keep its unbeaten streak alive at 12, while the thirds had a 100-point win to climb into fourth courtesy of a seven-goal haul to Tristan Watson.

Around the league, a pair of results looks to have drastically changed the outlook of the run home into finals.

Nathalia’s five-point win over Congupna has seen the five-time reigning premier draw within a game of the top six, while Numurkah’s finals push has taken an enormous hit with a defeat to Echuca United, the Eagles’ first win of the season.

Meanwhile, Cobram stretched its unbeaten run to 12 with a big win over Finley, while Barooga rebounded with a win over Rumbalara.

Tongala will face Deniliquin in a top-six clash out at Tongala Reserve when the Murray Football League resumes on Saturday, July 9.

The Game

Tongala: 3.4, 4.8, 7.9, 13.11 (89)

Mulwala: 0.2, 0.4, 1.6, 4.6 (30)


Tongala: Anthony Dennis, Ryan Nyhuis 3, Mackenzie Cowley 2, Sam Cipriani, Jack Hammond, Makenzie Ryan, Caleb Smith, Jordan Souter

Mulwala: Jack Sutherland 2, Jake Dalgliesh, Jamie Smith


Tongala: Cameron Ilett, Coby Mccarthy, Kyle Fitzgerald, Ryan Nyhuis, Michael Pryde, Nicholas Jamieson

Mulwala: Adam Rouel, Matthew Gorman, Dylan McNamara, Wally Thomson, Jamie Smith