Mad Monday has already roared into Tottering Tuesday for six Murray Football League clubs.
After a long year without much hope of playing finals, the players certainly deserve a break.
But before the dust settles on season 2017, each player, team and club as a whole will analyse their respective campaigns, looking for weaknesses and highlighting strengths.
Seeing as that process will have to wait at least a few more days, here at Musings HQ we thought we would give them all a starting point.
Record: Seventh, 8-10.
Best win: Round 18 v Deniliquin, 19.9 (123) to 7.8 (50).
Worst loss: Round 5 v Nathalia, 6.2 (38) to 31.14 (200).
Most impressive player: Tyron Baden.
Musings: Another season of rebuilding at Scott Oval has ended, but the Tigers have shown enough for their supporters to dream of finals football next year. Eight wins and the title of best of the rest will sit well with co-coaches Josh Noonan and Tim Garlick, but the pair would surely have loved to hang its hats on a bigger scalp. Nonetheless, a final round drubbing of Deniliquin would have been very satisfying, while the early season lesson at the hands of Nathalia was the only time Cobram could have been labelled uncompetitive. Members will keep a firm eye on The News’ live stream of the O’Dwyer Medal count after Tyron Baden’s incredible year, where the rising star stamped his credentials as a player the club can build a dynasty around.
Record: Eighth, 7-11.
Best win: Round 11 v Mulwala, 8.4 (52) to 4.16 (40).
Worst loss: Round 17 v Numurkah, 1.1 (7) to 31.13 (199).
Most impressive player: Todd Gallagher.
Musings: As with most young teams the Rams showed glimpses of greatness this year, but also provided fans with plenty of head-scratching moments. Victory over Mulwala in round 11 remained the only time a member of the bottom six defeated a team playing finals, and is rightly the upset of the season. At one stage Deniliquin lost six games in a row before claiming victory in five of its next six matches to storm back up the table. An embarrassing 192-point defeat at the hands of Numurkah, followed by another big loss to Cobram, would not have been the way Gary Parsons would have liked to finish his tenure at the club, but there is certainly plenty of upside in this group. Todd Gallagher can play anywhere on the field, seemingly stepping up when handed an assistant coaching role as well, and could potentially take the senior job next year and beyond.
Record: Ninth, 3-15.
Best win: Round 18 v Tongala, 16.19 (115) to 16.8 (104).
Worst loss: Round 8 v Nathalia, 1.1 (7) to 22.15 (147).
Most impressive player: Beau Jackson.
Musings: Despite only winning three games for the season, playing coach Nathan Lovett-Murray would have been proud of the way his charges fought out the year. After losing a number of players during summer, and sustaining plenty of injuries throughout the year, the task was always going to be a tough one, but a final-round win over Tongala ensured Rumba jumped to ninth on the table. While a couple of losses were larger, only managing 1.1 in round eight will sting the most for Lovett-Murray’s troops. Beau Jackson proved a revelation in attack after being promoted to the senior side for the second-half of the year, booting 29 goals in 10 games, and with another pre-season under his belt could be the spearhead Rumba needs to challenge for a higher rung on the ladder.
Record: 10th, 3-15.
Best win: Round 7 v Rumbalara, 14.11 (95) to 11.4 (70).
Worst loss: Round 17 v Finley, 5.14 (44) to 9.12 (66).
Most impressive player: Bailey Waasdorp.
Musings: The extent of Tongala’s injury woes this season can be summed up by the fact it was forced to use 55 players throughout the year. The silver lining to that means with some luck the Blues can be the biggest mover of 2018, with the senior experience gained by their group of rising stars sure to prove invaluable. Early signs were promising for coach Travis Edwards in his new role at Tongala Recreation Reserve, with a round seven win over Rumbalara his charges’ third in a row. The celebrations halted there though, with the Blues losing their last 11 games to close out the year. The worst of those came at home to Finley on the penultimate weekend, and it will be a defeat that stings for a long while. Bailey Waasdorp was a shining light, stepping up to the Bendigo Pioneers and bringing a renewed vigour back to the club with him upon return. The ultra-professional Edwards will have the healthy members of his group primed for revenge come round one next year — and for the club’s sake we hope that number is much higher than at times during this campaign.
Record: 11th, 3-15.
Best win: Round 4 v Deniliquin, 17.12 (114) to 10.5 (65).
Worst loss: Round 11 v Rumbalara, 12.15 (87) to 12.17 (89).
Most impressive player: Daniel Schaper.
Musings: Tyson McKenzie’s legacy at Memorial Park will be one of massive improvement as the playing coach returns to Melbourne. Not content with a first win in 673 days in round four against the Rams, The Road went on to secure three victories this year and could certainly have sung the song a few more times. The round 11 loss to Rumbalara stands out as one that got away, but a few massive drubbings towards the end of the year will need to be addressed by the new man at the helm during summer. While McKenzie led his club’s goal-kicking tally with 41, it was Daniel Schaper’s 23 majors which will give hope to supporters that The Road can continue to build towards sustained success.
Record: 12th, 1-17.
Best win: Round 17 v Tongala, 9.12 (66) to 5.14 (44).
Worst loss: Round 3 v Barooga, 0.0 (0) to 45.18 (288).
Most impressive player: Tim Meulendyks.
Musings: An astounding 74 players pulled on the blue and white hoops this year after Finley endured a tumultuous off-season, with the wider community rallying around their club to help it through a tough campaign. The Cats were clearly the most improved Murray Football League team this year, progressing steadily from a 288-point thrashing at the hands of the Hawks in round three to finally singing the song after defeating Tongala in round 17.
The key for Rob Daniel’s side next season will be holding onto its treasure trove of junior talent, and if they do the Cats will again move up the ladder. Tim Meulendyks has been labelled by Daniel as a chance to contend for the O’Dwyer Medal next year with a full pre-season under his belt, and the midfielder showed plenty of signs of superiority throughout his 12 matches, booting 11 goals.