Shortened road to finals

Maffra will host Drouin on Saturday when the Gippsland League season resumes. File photo

David Braithwaite

UPDATE: Because of the seven-day lockdown announced on Thursday afternoon, the round of Gippsland League football won’t be played this weekend.

THE Gippsland League season will resume on Saturday after a three-week break.
The reduction of the season to 13 rounds means teams only have three matches to stake their finals claims.
In different ways, Sale and Maffra still have plenty to play for.
The Magpies will push their claim for a top three spot, while the Eagles still have an outside
chance of making the finals and continuing their premiership defence.
MAFFRA and Drouin will meet in a match which could see drastic repercussions, depending on the result.
The Hawks sits on equal points with fifth-placed Traralgon, two wins ahead of the Eagles.
Every match from here until the end of the season is a virtual elimination final for Maffra, but it will also need other results to go its way if the Eagles are to make the finals.
Tomorrow’s match should be the Eagles’ most difficult to end the season, with winnable matches against bottom sides Bairnsdale and Warragul to follow.
Because of their poor percentage, a loss on Saturday will end the Eagles’ finals hopes, while victory could move the Hawks back in to the top four.
SALE has a big challenge if it’s going to finish the home-and-away season in the top three, and earn the double chance during the finals.
The Magpies have two difficult away matches to come, against top two sides Wonthaggi and Leongatha, before hosting Morwell.
The enforced break may have come at a good time for the Magpies, who had the opportunity to rest weary bodies and refocus following a loss to Leongatha at home.
The Magpies have to find a way to make up the four-point gap between them and the third-placed Moe, which will be difficult considering who they’re draw to play over the next two weekends.
The Power is also aiming to at least maintain its place in the top three, while also looking at
dislodging Leongatha from the top of the tree.
Percentage separates the Power and Parrots.
TRARALGON and Moe will renew hostilities, with the Maroons to host the match on the Lions’ home ground.
The Maroons will be looking to stay ahead of Maffra on the ladder, while the Lions will want
to keep Sale at an arm’s length.
IT will be top versus bottom when Leongatha and Warragul face off.
The Gulls entered the break following their first win of the season, but will be a big ask for them to repeat that against the Parrots.
MORWELL and Bairnsdale will be playing for pride.
Although three wins outside the top five, Morwell’s low percentage effectively rules it out
of finals contention.
The Tigers went down to bottom side Warragul in the previous round, and will not want to lose to the team on the second bottom rung of the ladder.

Finals venues announced

THE Gippsland League first semi-final will be played at the Maffra Recreation Reserve on
September 5.
The league has announced venues for its 2021 finals, which will take place as originally scheduled, despite interruptions to the home-and-away season.
The finals will begin on August 28, with the qualifying finals in Wonthaggi, before the elimination finals in Morwell the next day.
For the second consecutive season, the senior football minor premier will get to host the second semi-finals on September 4. With three rounds to play, Leongatha, Wonthaggi and Moe are in contention for that honour.
The preliminary finals will be played in Morwell on September 11, with the grand finals in Moe on September 18.
The Gippsland League gave all its 10 clubs an opportunity to put in an expression of interest to host finals matches, but the league received a limited response.
Host clubs will be required to complete and execute the requirements to gain a permit for a
tier two event under COVID restrictions, which will allow the venues to have crowds of more than 1000 people. Requirements include fencing venues, defined entry and exit points, sectioned areas to make venues compliant for crowds, and COVID marshalling.