2024 weekly wrapLots of news this weekend in the world of Victorian country footy, particularly with an AFL theme.

Not one, but three former country footballers made their AFL debuts across games, headlined by former Wangaratta Magpies FNC’s Joe Richards running out for reigning premiers Collingwood FC finishing with 18 disposals and a goal in first appearance. For the Western Bulldogs FC it was Joel Freijah, originally from the Horsham Saints FNC in the Wimmera FNL, who gathered 17 touches in his debut and finally from Finley FNC in the Murray League Shadeau Brain started as the sub for Brisbane FC, before coming on in the hectic last quarter of their thrilling drawn game with Adelaide.

Another former Finley FNC alumni took centre stage Friday night when Geelong FC forward Tom Hawkins played a club record equalling 355th game, tying with teammate and another former country recruit, Sandhurst FNC’s Joel Selwood. In a quirk of fate, Port Adelaide FC’s Travis Boak, originally from Torquay FNC in the Bellarine FNL, also achieved game number 355 in the same game. These three players all now make it into the Top 10 list of VFL/AFL games played for players drafted or recruited from country footy. Number four on that list, David Mundy had his first game back for original club Seymour FNC on the weekend. Despite kicking two goals, it wasn't enough to help the Lions come back from a 39 point quarter time deficit, going down by one straight kick in their Goulburn Valley FNL clash with Kyabram FNC, 12.8 80 to 13.8 86.

That close result was one of several across the weekend, with the Geelong and District FNL league being incredibly tight seeing one draw and two one point games from the six games played on the weekend which is great to see. However, after our first 300+ score kicked by Sandhurst FNC in last week's round, we had another two 300+ scores this weekend. The highest and second biggest of the season so far was in the Picola and District FNL match between Waaia FNC and Yarroweyah FNC, where the Waaia Bombers kicked 52.26 338 whilst the Hoppers failed to score. It was a similar scoreline in the Millewa FNL where Gol Gol FNC kicked 49.18 312 to Meringur FNC who also failed to score, with the total now third overall in terms of the biggest tallies for 2024 so far.

Our first Interleague match for 2024 was completed on the weekend and ended up in an overtime thriller between the Riddell and District FNL played metro opponents the Southern FNL. The last time these two leagues met back in 2019 saw a 3 point win to the RDFNL after extra time when scores were tied at the final siren. History repeated itself again in this latest encounter with scores again tied at the conclusion of the final quarter. However this time the victory was reversed with a 1 point win to the Southern FNL 14.15 99 to RDFNL’s 15.8 98.

There were a couple of big streaks that came to an end over the weekend. Firstly Myrtleford FNC in the Ovens and Murray FNL broke a 17 game losing streak by winning their clash with Corowa Rutherglen FNC, who now sit on an 11 game losing streak of their own. In the neighbouring Tallangatta and District FNL the 14 game winning streak of Chiltern FNC ended at the hands of Yackandandah FNC 13.5 83 to 5.3 33. In club related streaks Wodonga FNC in the Ovens and Murray FNL, had their first win over Albury FNC since 2017 and Morwell FNC in the Gippsland league beat Leongatha for the first time in 10 years on the weekend as well.

Again, 15 goals seems to be the big goal haul benchmark for the season with another two forwards helping themselves this weekend. Robbie Hare from Allansford FNC in the Warrnambool and District FNL snagged his bag of 15 against South Rovers FNC in their big 211 point win, while Charlie Burrows from Waaia FNC kicked 15 in their above mentioned massive score. Tallangatta FNC’s James Breen came close too, kicking 14 in his side's 129 point victory over Wahgunyah FNC. After kicking 6 goals playing for Nilma Darnum FNC in the Ellinbank and District FNL this weekend, celebrated country football forward Luke James has now reached the career milestone of 1000 goals.

 This weekend sees a change in our overall statewide goal kicking leader with Josh Mellington from Bears Lagoon Serpentine FNC taking the lead with 45 and the haul of 15 rockets Robbie Hare to second on 44. Courtesy of a bye this weekend, last weeks leader Bright FNC’s Cooper Thomasin skipped to third place with 43, while a bag of 11 helped Murchison- Toolamba FNC’s James Lloyd join Greta FNC’s Frazer Judd, who now both sit on 41 majors so far for season 2024.

Weekly Wrap Week07 2024