Eagles flying west

Photo: File

Liam Durkin

THE second half of the Round 16 split round in the Gippsland League will be completed tomorrow.

Following Sale’s victory over Morwell in the first week of the split round last week, finals-bound teams were decided, although in the case of top-three sides Wonthaggi, Leongatha and Moe, there could still be some jostling of positions.

Those three teams have all shared equal-first position on the ladder for a few weeks now, but that will change tomorrow when Leongatha makes the trip to Moe.

As it stands, most league insiders are calling the premiership a three-horse-race between the Parrots, Power and Lions, and the odds for any of those teams might just shorten after the full completion of Round 16.

Sale will finish fifth, and will more than likely play Traralgon in the elimination final on Sunday, September 3.

The Magpies get to put their feet up tomorrow, in readiness for their penultimate round clash against Warragul.

Youngster Cooper Whitehill is set to play his 50th senior game in that match, the same weekend netballer Kasey Dessent will play her 150th.


MAFFRA meets Drouin in an even-money game.

The Eagles make the journey east to face an opponent looking for its second win of the season.

Although Maffra is 14 points clear of Drouin, the Hawks have a greater percentage, meaning they are certainly a better team than their current one-win, 14-loss record would suggest.

With games against top-three sides Moe and Leongatha to come, tomorrow’s match looks like the Eagles’ last genuine chance to win a game for the year.

Although finishing the year with five-and-a-half wins (the Eagles had a draw against Bairnsdale in Round 1) would be less than idea, for a team in a clear transition, it could give Maffra something to build on for next season.

Sam Davidson has shown the benefits of experience since joining the Eagles, and will be out to repeat his six-goal performance against the other western Gippsland League side last round in Warragul.

While their seniors won’t feature in finals, Maffra’s reserves are again headed for September. Some interest will abound over the next few weeks to see if the Eagles field their strongest possible team at 2.30pm, or give guys an opportunity to chase glory in the lunchtime league.

That aside, both Maffra junior teams are also finals bound, which would have Eagles officials optimistic about the future.

Any club that has three out of four teams in finals would give the season a pass mark.

Given time, the young Maffra senior players now could be forming a team for the future as the junior guns join them in three to fours years’ time.


THIS is the big one: Moe and Leongatha meet in match of the round at Ted Summerton Reserve.

This isn’t only a game between second and third, it is a game that could even go some way to determining the minor premiership, and it is being played after both sides have had a week off, so expect most players to be fit, fresh and raring to go.

Wonthaggi holds top spot for now, but the winner of this game will remain equal with the Power on points.

Discounting a draw, which isn’t totally outside the realm of possibility, the winner of this match will also gain a psychological edge, as it is likely the Lions and Parrots will face off at some stage during the finals.

Moe became the first team in more than two years to defeat Leongatha when they did so earlier in the season, and the home side will be out to prove that performance wasn’t a once-off.

As confidence is key in football, the Lions will look to reference the areas that served them well last time, as well as in recent weeks in victories over finals-bound teams Traralgon and Sale.

Equally confident though will be Leongatha, as any side who has only lost two games from 44 starts would be.

Selection leading into the match holds just as much intrigue as the end result.

The Lions have been without a senior ruckman in the last few weeks, while Leongatha still needs to get at least two games into VFL-listed player Noah Gown to have him qualify for finals.

Multiple premiership Parrot Josh Hopkins returned from an overseas trip last round through the reserves, and could be another to come back into the main game.

Nick Prowse is coming off a bag of six goals for the Lions, and forms part of a potent forward line alongside Billy Gowers who has kicked 33 goals for the year, as well as Harry Pepper (28) and Harri Sim (21) and Prowse himself (23).


TRARALGON should have little trouble taking care of Bairnsdale.

The Maroons will be preparing to play finals at the same time the Redlegs will be rolling into Mad Monday.

Playing at home for the second game in a row, Traralgon will look to take down an opposition that has probably checked out for the season.

Brett Eddy remains two goals clear on top of the league table, and is expected to go even further ahead by 5.30pm tomorrow.


MORWELL, Warragul and Wonthaggi join Sale as teams that have the week off.