THE Gippsland League completed Round 16 at the weekend.

Just two matches were played, in what was the second half of a split round.

While a 3,2,1 is mostly associated with vote counts, there is a 3,2,1 of a different kind for Maffra, Morwell and Moe.

The trio are all equal on points with two weeks left in the regular season, fighting for just one remaining spot in the finals.

I’VE ran out of adjectives to describe how good Leongatha are.

The Parrots continued not only their season 2022 winning streak, but the longest winning streak in country Victoria, stretching back to April last year, after they defeated Maffra 19.15 (129) to 6.7 (43).

Travelling to a ground colloquially known as ‘The Aviary’, the Eagles were soon in a world of hurt.

A six goal to two opening quarter gave Maffra some time to make up lost ground, but by the main break the game was as all but over.

Leongatha kicked four goals to none in the second term, taking a 54-point lead into the sheds.

From there it was more of the same. The Parrots added nine goals to four in the second half and sent a very ominous warning to all challengers on the eve of finals in the process.

Josh Hopkins kicked four goals to be among the best for Leongatha. Jake van der Pligt, Ned Hanily, Matt Wilcocks, Tom Marriott and Luke Bowman were also prominent.

James Huts had his hands full down back for Maffra, and did an admirable job under great adversity. Kade Renooy also battled hard, as did Luke Shelton, Ed Carr, Alex Carr and Jack Challands.

The result was not enough to displace the Eagles from the top five, although the profile of the loss indicates Leongatha may just be about ready to steamroll anyone in its path come finals.

In a show of just how deep the Parrots bat, Leongatha’s reserve grade side kept Maffra goalless.

Without knowing for certain, there is a very good chance that has never happened before, and if it has, you would have to dig very deep to find out.

As a seconds player himself for the best part of 10 years, who has been on the receiving end of some genuine pastings from the Eagles, this writer has certainly never seen or could even fathom a Maffra team not managing to kick a goal in a reserve grade game.

MOE defeated Drouin at home.

The Lions played out a competitive match against the Hawks, and eventually won 13.11 (89) to 10.16 (76).

Very little separated the sides, in what was a match that never reached any great heights, but kept spectators interested as a clear winner was not set in stone until late in the game.

Drouin took a 10-point lead into the main break, before becoming undone by a familiar face.

As fate would have it, former Hawk Matt Barrand tore the game apart early in the third quarter, kicking three goals in five minutes. Barrand’s purple patch saw him end the day with five goals for Moe, while skipper Jacob Wood’s desperation during the last quarter led to the sealing goal.

Pleasingly for Moe, three players who will essentially be future leaders of the club were all in the top four players.

Trent Baldi was best-on-ground, continuing a breakout season that has seen him listed in the best eight times. Harri Sim was also in the best again, and also took his tally to eight

Vice captain Scott Van Dyk and former captains James Blaser and Ben Morrow did a good job for the winners. Blaser kicked four goals, Van Dyk stopped just as many, and Morrow wasn’t far from either around the ground.

A Drouin player who did prove hard to stop was Ryan Maric.

The youngster ran amok in the forward line, and kicked six goals in a best-on-ground display.

While the effort was outstanding enough, it was even more astounding considering he already played a game in the Under 18s earlier in the day.

With the Hawks already signing a new coach in Brett Clinnick for next season, he will surely want to get Maric’s name sign, sealed and delivered as soon as possible.

Jack Fraser, Jarrod Marshall, Jordan Kingi, Ryan Taylor and Joseph Collins were others to play well for Drouin.

The closeness of the contest was probably due to both sides becoming evenly matched due to circumstance.

Drouin has used 40 players in its seniors this year. Moe has used 38, and only Trent Baldi, Grady Cocksedge, Brock Smith, Matt Heywood and Joe Skinner have played every game.

In comparison, Maffra had 12 players play every game when they won the premiership in 2019.

With Drouin’s season done, and Moe’s only mathematically alive, the Lions can take some solace in the fact they are still equal-fifth with two rounds to play, and amazingly (and equally bizarrely), their reserves are half-a-game clear in the top five.

Despite all the injuries and lack of continuity, perhaps the lesson is this: Things are never as bad as they seem.