Challenge for Magpies in Moe

David Braithwaite

SALE faces a challenge if it’s going to rebound from its first loss of the Gippsland League football season on Saturday.

The Magpies will head to Ted Summerton Reserve to play undefeated ladder leader Moe.

Missing some key players, the Magpies lost at Drouin by 29 points at the weekend, and enter the fifth round of the season in fourth place on the ladder.

Trailing by two points at half-time, Sale had its chance to take control of the game, but that was done instead by the Hawks, who kicked six goals to two during the second term.

Games such as this shows that in the Gippsland League, any team can win on its day. A good four-quarter effort is vital, especially against teams like Sale’s opponent on Saturday.

Moe’s closest game this season was in the opening round, when the Lions defeated Morwell by 26 points. The Lions are the only side with a percentage above 200.

Saturday’s match should be a showcase for the league, with both sides boasting skilful and fast players. Whoever can dictate terms for longer, particularly in the middle of the ground, is likely to be the winner on the scoreboard.

MAFFRA will travel to Leongatha for the rematch of the 2019 grand final.

Back-to-back wins has seen the Parrots move into third place on the ladder, while the Eagles, in seventh place on the ladder, have been out-played in three of their four matches this season.

At home at the weekend, Wonthaggi nullified the Eagles’ midfield. Turnovers have been an issue in their losses, with teams able to stop the Eagles’ ball movement.

But as they showed against Traralgon a fortnight ago, all is not lost for the Eagles. However, a loss tomorrow could see the Eagles two wins outside the five a third of the way through the home-and-away season.

Leongatha caught Morwell napping, kicking four goals to one in the first quarter on its way to a 42-point victory.

A good spread of attacking options have served the Parrots well so far this season, finishing their work in the midfield.

As well as consolidating a place in the top three, some in the Parrots camp will also be eager to provide another dent to the Eagles’ premiership defence.

BAIRNSDALE will be the next team trying to inflict Wonthaggi with its first loss of the season.

The Power was impressive in Maffra, and will return home to play a Bairnsdale side win-less in three matches.

The Redlegs only kicked one goal during the first three quarters last Saturday, during which time Traralgon kicked 17. A better final term prevented the final margin being in triple figures.

Another start like that could see a similar result against the potent Power line-up.

DROUIN will be looking to string consecutive victories together for the first time this season when it hosts Morwell.

The Hawks have begun the season loss, win, loss, win, and will be buoyed by their victory over the previous undefeated Sale at the weekend.

While the Tigers haven’t won a game this season, they have come close. This made last weekend’s seven-goal loss to Leongatha more disappointing.

The Tigers will be eyeing Saturday as an opportunity to record their first win, but the Hawks will keen on the chance to move into the top five.

TRARALGON, with the same start to the season as Drouin, will host Warragul.

The Maroons will also be hoping for some consistency, and will be looking to back up their dominant performance at Bairnsdale by defeating the win-less Gulls.

Apart from a narrow loss in round one, the Gulls haven’t been close to victory, and will need a big improvement to defeat the Maroons.