Eagles rattle Parrots

Maffra’s Daniel Bedggood takes a strong mark during the match against Leongatha.

Maffra’s Daniel Bedggood takes a strong mark during the match against Leongatha.

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MAFFRA out-played Leongatha, causing things to get tighter at the top of the Gippsland League football ladder.

The Eagles out-scored the visitors in each quarter to win the grand final rematch by 39 points, 12.12 (84) to 6.9 (45). They have now won three matches in a row against the Parrots, who went into the match on top of the table.

While Maffra remains in third spot, only two points separate the top three sides on the ladder. The Eagles are level on points with the Parrots, who are now in second spot behind Traralgon.

The Eagles, strengthened by seven inclusions, including Darren Sheen, Alex Carr, Kel Porter and David Adams, rattled the Parrots, who were at times forced in errors by the Maffra pressure.

With Maffra lacking a recognised big man, James Huts, normally a key defender, took to the ruck to good effect. His hard work set the standard for his teammates.

Porter benefitted from Huts' efforts, but also providing plenty of quality possessions through the midfield.

Facing arguably the league's best attack without captain Sam Pleming, the Eagles were still superb in defence, particularly Jack Johnstone, Andrew Petrou and Winston Gieschen, who was another inclusion this week.

Kade Renooy and Daniel Bedggood kicked three goals each. Renooy booted two of his during the first term, to help give the Eagles a positive start.

Dylan Alexander runs the ball forward.

Dylan Alexander runs the ball forward.

The Eagles began full of running, as the Parrots found it hard to get the ball out of its defence.

The home side kicked three goals to one in the first quarter to lead by 13 points.

Coach Wayne Butcher urged his charges to continue the effort, knowing any lapse would let the Parrots back into the contest.

Maffra continued to not allow the Parrots much room when they had the ball.

The Parrots got within a goal heading into time-on, but goals from Bedggood and, after the siren, Sheen, gave the Eagles a 19-point advantage at the main break.

The Eagles appeared to take control when they kicked the first three goals of the third quarter, stretching the lead to 36 points. The best of those goals came when Lachlan Channing kicked true from the boundary after receiving a tap from Hudson Holmes.

Highlighting how hard it was for the Parrots to score, their only goal for the term came when Aaron Hillberg had a run hard to keep away from a chasing opponent.

Leading by 32 points at three-quarter-time, the message from Butcher to the Eagles was simple: keep the ball and the Parrots can't score, and man-up when they get the pill.

Leongatha kicked the first two goals of the final term, reducing the deficit to 18 points, but that was as close the Parrots would get. The Eagles responded by kicking the final three goals of the match.

The Eagles have won their past three matches, and will meet local rival Sale this Sunday at Sale.

Tom Marriott and Luke Bowman were strong for the Parrots in the midfield, while Sean Westaway played well on Sheen in defence.

Gippsland Senior
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