MORWELL flew the flag for the Latrobe Valley in the opening round of the Gippsland League season at the weekend.
With the longest distance to travel and without its two most notable recruits, the Tigers held Wonthaggi Power to just four goals for the match to record a 33-point victory.
Morwell trailed an inaccurate Power by four points at the first change.
The Tigers went on to boot one goal six to just one point in the second to take a seven-point lead into the main change.
Morwell slammed four unanswered goals in a match-winning third quarter performance which saw the home team go without a major for a second consecutive quarter. The Tigers held on to win the season opener after a more evenly contested last quarter.
“Personally I was pretty happy with the win… we tried, our intensity was good,” Morwell coach Harmit Singh said.
Singh expects it will take teams four to five games to settle in. After being delisted by Richmond Dean MacDonald returned home and to form, booting three goals for the yellow and black.
Lachlan Dowling was also impressive on return to the club with two majors.
However it was Yallourn/Yallourn North recruits Tom Crosby and Tom Hutton and former Gippsland Power player Mannon Johnson that were the stand outs.
“I was happy to see all of the recruits contribute,” Singh said.
The performance of Ben Ainsworth, who recently turned 15, also caught the attention of the coach. “He was great, his effort and his pressure was great,” Singh said.
Ainsworth was among Gippsland Power’s best in last week’s under 15 V/Line Cup Carnival.
Traralgon v Sale
Traralgon coach Paul McCulloch admitted he was disappointed with his side’s opening round loss to Sale.
After unfurling just its second premiership flag in 26 years, Sale picked up where it left off, opening its 2013 campaign with a four-goal to one opening term.
A seven-goal second quarter from the Maroons put the visitor two goals up with 10 minutes to go in the term, but by the half Traralgon again trailed the Magpies by three points.
The Magpies lifted in the third, kicking four goals to Maroons’ one before a tightly contested last quarter saw Sale hold on to win by just 11 points.
“I think we walk away with the belief that we can match it with the top sides,” McCulloch said.
Magpie Matt Ferguson led by example with a bag of five goals, but it wasn’t an easy day out for the coach who had a tough opponent in Jaime Aitkin.
Jacob Schuback was among Sale’s best in his first game back with the club from a stint at Sale City, which included two premierships.
Maffra v Moe
Maffra could not be happier with its new recruit, full forward Darren Sheen, who booted a bag of 10 goals in his first appearance for the Eagles.
While good news for Maffra, Sheen’s 60-point contribution was the difference between the visitor and the team that received the wooden spoon last year, Moe.
There were plenty of positive signs for the Lions in a team that lacked a key forward.
Bairnsdale v Leongatha
At Bairnsdale, Leongatha burst out of the blocks, booting four goals to the home side’s one.
The visitor continued to attack in the second, repeating its first term effort.
The Redlegs found some form in the third and a seven-goal quarter put it within 14 points.
However the Parrots went on to kick five goals to four in the last to fly away with the four points.
Tom Marriott was best on ground for Leongatha on a day which saw Aaron Hillberg boot five. Michael Sellings matched Hillberg’s effort at the other end with five of his own for the Redlegs, while Dale Lynn booted three.
Warragul v Drouin
Warragul posted an opening round victory over neighbour Drouin in yesterday’s West Gippsland derby.
The Gulls burst out of the blocks with four goals to one in the opening term.
A seven-goal to two second half saw Warragul leading by 52 at the main change. Drouin surprised all in the third, with a six-goal to two quarter. The Hawks trailed by just 29 at the last change but with five goals to three in the last, it was the home team Warragul that ran out winners to the tune of 44 points.