Plenty at stake in Gippy League

David Braithwaite

THE penultimate round of the Gippsland League football season will feature two matches which will have a major bearing on the make-up of the finals.

The top three teams are on level points, with the next three also level with each other.

Traralgon will have a must win clash with ladder leader Maffra on Saturday.

The Maroons are hanging on to fifth spot, ahead of Warragul on percentage, and cannot afford to drop another game if they are to hold it until season’s end.

They turned on their A game against Moe at the weekend and walked away with a 50-point win.

Coach Mark Collison said while the Maroons welcomed back three key players, his was not focussed on individual efforts.

“We’ll be looking for a team performance. We know we’re at our best when we play as a side,” Collison said.

“Our whole focus every week is the team, playing our roles and if we can do that, no doubt we can push a really good side in Maffra.”

The Eagles are coming off a loss at Warragul — their third consecutive loss at Western Park.

Trailing by 30 points at three-quarter-time, the Eagles got within eight during the final term, but the Gulls steadied to win by 27.

The Eagles were out-played in the wet conditions, with the Gulls defenders successfully locking down the visitors’ forwards.

Traralgon led Maffra at every change during their round eight encounter, but was overrun in the final term as the Eagles won by 11 points.

SALE coach Shane Fyfe will play his 250th senior game when the Magpies host a Warragul side still fighting for a finals berth.

If their previous clash is anything to go by, then tomorrow’s match should be a treat for spectators.

Trailing by 22 points at three-quarter-time, a final quarter revival nearly saw the Gulls steal the game. The Magpies won by a point, with a late Gulls shot for goal hitting the post.

Adding to the lure for tomorrow’s game is the fact it’s a must-win for Warragul. The Gulls sit in sixth spot, trailing Moe and Traralgon on percentage.

The Gulls have won six of their past seven matches, the loss coming against Leongatha.

For Sale, third spot is already secured, and it will use this match as preparation for the finals.

Before their week off, the Magpies overcame Bairnsdale by 12 points, extending their winning streak to five games.

MOE will journey to Wonthaggi to face the last placed Power.

The Lions were outdone by arch rival Traralgon at the weekend and can’t afford to drop another one. They face an almighty challenge in the form of Maffra in the final round of the home-and-away season and need to win tomorrow to stay in the finals race.

AFTER a hiccup against Drouin at the beginning of the split round, Leongatha will travel to Bairnsdale in a bid to return to the winners’ list.

The Parrots began slowly against the Hawks, and mounted an assault late in the game, but fell two points short.

While out of contention for the finals, the Redlegs can test the top teams, having pushed Sale in their previous match.

Leongatha won the round eight encounter by 49 points, set-up by eight unanswered goals in the first half.

DROUIN will head to Morwell.

Finals are out of the equation for both Morwell and Drouin, but the Hawks have shown some impressive form in recent weeks. In their past two matches, the Hawks came within 13 points of Traralgon and upset Leongatha by two.

Drouin can finish the season above Morwell in eighth place if it defeats the Tigers and bottom side Wonthaggi.

In round eight, Morwell kept Drouin scoreless in the final term to turn a three-quarter-time deficit into an eight-point win.