Saturday night fever

David Braithwaite

MAFFRA will take on Leongatha in the Gippsland League second semi-final on Saturday night at Traralgon.

The winner will claim the first place in the grand final.

Before their week off, the Eagles have won their previous two matches, against finalists Moe and Traralgon. Both matches were ideal preparation for the finals.

But Leongatha will present a greater challenge.

The Parrots have has won their past three matches, including back-to-back wins over Sale.

In the qualifying final against the Magpies last weekend, the Parrots made the most of their chances, and punished their opponents for wasted opportunities.

Leongatha coach Paul Carbis pinpointed the coming together of all the side’s structures as key in the win.

“We were really pleased with the result and I think we’re coming together really well at the right time of the year,” Carbis said.

“Our back line was super and Josh Schelling was superb, and that helps with putting pressure on the opposition.”

Forward Jack Ginnane came back into the side after a few weeks off with injury and “slotted in nicely”, according to Carbis.

“That was the first time we had all our forwards playing together because there has always been someone missing,” he said.

“So we had a full-forward line and the boys worked really well together.”

While the Eagles have full set of fresh legs after a the week’s break, Carbis said the Parrots were similarly “fit and ready to go”.

“It’s going to be great test. We’ve been playing good footy and we’ve had some close battles with Maffra this season and this will be no different,” he said.

“We’re really looking forward to the challenge.”

In their two meetings this year, the visiting team was victorious. In round four, the Eagles won by 38 points, while the Parrots won a low-scoring round 13 encounter by nine.

Maffra will also be in action in the reserves second semi-final, taking on Traralgon.

The undefeated Eagles have been the standard this season, comfortably defeating the Maroons in both their meetings this season. The Maroons will enter tomorrow’s match buoyed by a strong performance to win their qualifying final against Moe.

Sale will play Bairnsdale in the under 18s.

The Magpies earned the right for a crack at the first grand final spot by defeating Wonthaggi by two points last weekend. Since losing to the Redlegs in round 16, the Magpies have won their past three matches.

In the under 18s, Traralgon will play Moe.

SALE must defeat Traralgon in the first semi-final on Sunday afternoon to keep its premiership dream alive.

After consecutive losses to Leongatha, the Magpies must pick themselves off the canvas when they take on the Maroons at Maffra.

The winner will progress to the preliminary final against the loser of the second semi-final.

The Magpies were disappointing in the qualifying final against Leongatha. They had the better of play for large periods, but didn’t make the most of it on the scoreboard, managing only two goals in wintry conditions at Warragul.

Having withdrawn from the side on the morning of the qualifying final, captain Kane Martin could return to bolster the Magpies’ midfield.

Traralgon stormed in this match by defeating Moe in the elimination final by 31 points, kicking six goals to two in the final term.

Maroons coach Mark Collison said that win evidence of some of their best footy.

“We got in control of the game most of the day, and the score line said differently but I felt we were the ones that were making them pay for poor turnovers,” he said.

“After the first quarter, it kind of went our way, so we were pretty happy with our performance.”

Collison, who collected 33 possession in his return to the side after three-month break because of injury, said things were beginning to come together ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Sale.

“I haven’t played for about 12 weeks, so to be back out there was fun and I’d only trained twice in that time, so it was touch and go for a while, but it was good,” he said.

“The main thing is we’ve got a lot of improvement in us and we can take a lot out of the game.”

Collison said the Magpies presented a worthy challenge.

“Obviously, Sale finished third for a reason and they’re a really strong side, so we’ll do our homework on them, but our main focus throughout the week is fixing up some things with our game,” he said.

“It’s more about us improving again, and some people might thinks at this time of year it’s a weird thing to say, but we genuinely have improvement left in us, which is a real positive.”

Sale defeated Traralgon twice this season, by 22 and 39 points.

In the under 18s, Sale will play Bairnsdale.

Having lost both their matches against the Redlegs this season, the Magpies will need to step if they’re to extend their three-game winning streak.

Moe and Leongatha will meet in the reserves, and Wonthaggi and Morwell will contest the under 16s match. ​- with Kate Withers

Second semi-final, Saturday at Traralgon Recreation Reserve:

Football, seniors: Maffra v Leongatha, 6.30pm; reserves: Maffra v Traralgon, 4.30pm; under 18s: Traralgon v Moe, 2.30pm; under 16s: Bairnsdale v Sale, 12.30pm.

Netball, A grade: Morwell v Traralgon, 4.30pm; B grade: Traralgon v Moe, 3.15pm; C grade: Maffra v Traralgon, 2.15pm; under 17s: Wonthaggi v Traralgon, 1.15pm; under 15s: Sale v Bairnsdale, 12.15pm; under 13s: Sale v Leongatha, 11.15am.

First semi-final, Sunday at Maffra Recreation Reserve:

Football, seniors: Sale v Traralgon, 2.20pm; reserves: Moe v Leongatha, 12.30pm; under 18s: Bairnsdale v Sale, 10.30am; under 16s: Wonthaggi v Morwell, 9am.

Netball, A grade: Moe v Drouin, 2.15pm; B grade: Morwell v Warragul, 1pm; C grade: Drouin v Wonthaggi, noon; under 17s: Maffra v Morwell, 11am; under 15s: Drouin v Maffra, 10am; under 13s: Wonthaggi v Maffra, 9am.