Must-win match for high-flying Maroons

THE all important third position will be on the line when Traralgon takes on Maffra in the second half of the Gippsland League’s split round 15 this weekend.

“It is a must win for us if we want to stay in the top three,” Maroons coach Paul McCulloch said, with sights set on the second chance that comes with it.

“At the end of the day we are aiming to finish top three and there is only four games left so whoever wins this week will be a step closer to claiming that.”

Traralgon, however, has not won at Maffra since 2011.

“So it’s time for us to step up and change that,” McCulloch said.

Traralgon has form on its side having won five of its past six matches, including four straight.

Well rested after a week off, the Maroons are expected to be close to full strength with the likely return of Michael Burge and Dale Fleming from injury.

Saturday will mark the Maffra Football Netball Club’s 1000th senior game since joining the Latrobe Valley Football League in 1960.

The Eagles had to wait some time for its first senior premiership, which came in 2002, but has wasted little time since winning seven in 10 years.

“It’s a massive day for them (so) we have got to get ourselves up,” McCulloch said.

Maffra has produced several VFL/AFL stars, including Jim Pleydell and Bill Bennett (Carlton), Jeff Gieschen (Footscray, ex-Richmond coach), Ben Robbins (West Coast Eagles) and more recently John Butcher (Port Adelaide) and will look to continue its tradition of excellence in game 1000.

Drouin v Morwell

FRESH from a week off, Morwell is hoping to bring back some key position players when it travels to Drouin.

Backman Julian Blackford and forward Lachie Dowling are among those tipped to return to the line up.

The Tigers will not be able to draw on Brandon Bailey from Gippsland Power as the youngster suffered a shoulder injury on a school snow trip last week.

Morwell must continue to win if it wants to ensure a top two finish.

“If we keep winning we should hold second spot and that would be fantastic,” coach Harmit Singh said.

However, the Tigers have not won at Drouin since 2009, and were lucky to scrape home by four points in 2008.

“Drouin won both our encounters last year and we were lucky to get up when we played them earlier this year… we are expecting another hard contest, they (Drouin) have a lot of young and exciting players,” Singh said.

“We are hoping to return with a good brand of footy… It would be good to build some momentum that we can take into the finals.”