ON top and unbeaten after eight rounds, Morwell is shaping up as the team to beat in 2013.
On Monday it fought off a Traralgon outfit bolstered by the inclusion of former Carlton players Brendan Fevola and Nick Stevens to win by 14-points, and this week has another stern challenge in the form of reigning premier in Sale.
The history between the two sides could scarcely be closer.
In total Morwell and Sale have met 142 times, of which the Magpies have won 73 and the Tigers 69.
The teams have produced consecutive nail biters at Morwell and both have gone the Tigers’ way by two and five-points respectively.
Last year Morwell was the only team to beat Sale, which enjoyed an otherwise perfect season culminating in the premiership flag.
The Tigers, on the other hand, have established an imposing record at home, winning 10 of its last 12 matches.
“It’s good to just keep winning but it’s about playing the way we want to play. We are in this position because we have done those things. I think up until round eight we have won 23 out of 28 quarters this year so we have been consistent for the majority of games,” Morwell coach Harmit Singh said.
The Morwell Football Club will hold the highly anticipated match on Sunday, as part of a push to host more feature matches.
“Sunday football opens up the opportunity for many people that are involved in other leagues or have other sporting and work commitments on a Saturday to attend,” Morwell president Wade Presley said.
The Tigers anticipate a big crowd on the day, having bolstered support during a recent membership drive.
“The campaign was designed to get those members of the local community, who have previously been interested in seeing the club do well, actively support the club in their finals endeavours in 2013,” Presley said.
“We’ve had a pretty good start to the season in most of our senior grades and our junior teams are more competitive than they have been in a long time – it’s great to see so many new faces around the club, attending matches to support and barrack for their local footy and netball club.”
Leongatha v Traralgon
AFTER losing one of the biggest billings on the Gippsland League calendar, Traralgon will travel to Leongatha this weekend to take on their bogey team.
The Parrots have won six of their past seven matches against Traralgon, including all three encounters last year.
Both teams are under pressure to win; injury and illness has decimated the Leongatha outfit this year, while the Maroons must triumph to hold a spot in the top five.
Bairnsdale v Moe
MOE has come agonisingly close to victory in its past two outings against Warragul and Leongatha.
While the Lions went down by two and 12-points respectively, the young side has shown plenty of improvement.
However the ladder cellar dweller will face a tough task when it heads east up the Princes Highway to take on Bairnsdale.
“We will have to be right on our game if we want to win,” Moe coach Jason MacFarlane said.
After a good start to the season, the Redlegs suffered a slump but recovered to beat Warragul on the road last week.
Moe will have to improve on its most recent effort at Bairnsdale, which saw it go down by 98-points in the final round of the 2012 home and away season.
“We didn’t travel up there well last year, I’m hoping things are a bit better this time around,” MacFarlane said.
Maffra v Warragul
MAFFRA will be looking to recover from its loss to third placed Wonthaggi when it returns home to tackle Warragul.
The Gulls too went down last weekend, at the hands of Bairnsdale, and will also be looking to return to the winners’ circle.
Maffra will have the home ground advantage and statistics favour it to win.
The Eagles have won their past 10 matches at home against Warragul.
The Gulls are pushing for a spot in the top five, while the Eagles have their sights set on a top four finish.
Drouin v Wonthaggi
ANOTHER tough day out looms for Drouin which will host the in form Wonthaggi.
The Power has won its past five and is sitting comfortably in third on the ladder.
Both new to the Gippsland League, the Hawks and the Power have met just six times, of which Drouin has won four and Wonthaggi two.
However the odds are with the visitor which is arguably the most improved team in the competition.