Parrots in the firing line

TRARALGON will take on the Gippsland League’s minor premier Leongatha on Saturday at Moe for a spot in the 2015 Gippsland League grand final.

The man in charge of the Maroons is confident his in-form side can get the job done.

“Yeah, we are confident every week. We think that at our best, we are the team to beat. That’s what has gotten us here,” Traralgon coach Mark Collison said.

Undefeated since the first half of the year, the Maroons are certain they can upset the favourite on Saturday.

“Absolutely, we haven’t set a ceiling all year. We always want to play at our best. That’s what got us here and we are confident we can give it a good go… we have two chances to make a grand final,” Collison said.

Leongatha has won both clashes with Traralgon this year, including the first by a margin of 123 points.

Collison said he was not reading too much into his side’s opening round performance.

“If we come prepared as an attacking side we think we can beat anyone. They hold no fears for us, we are confident and hope to get the job done,” Collison said.

There’s plenty of hype at the Parrots’ nest too as the senior side prepares to open its finals campaign after a week off.

“It’s a really good feeling around the club. Everyone is really excited. After a couple of years being out of the finals race, we are very excited being back amongst it,” Leongatha coach Beau Vernon said.

Leongatha finished the season on top of the ladder for the first time since 1997, and has plenty of belief ahead of its first finals appearance of 2015.

“We are confident going into any game, no reason why we shouldn’t have confidence. We’ve beaten them twice this season, but we know it’s not going to be easy,” Vernon said.

“We can definitely take some confidence from that (the big win in round one). However, both times we have played them they haven’t been at their strongest and they are obviously playing a better brand of footy as well.”

The winning team will progress straight to this year’s grand final, but not before a well-earned week off.

“It means you don’t have to go out again, but sometimes the week off is not the best thing, depends how you train and prepare,” Vernon said.

Leongatha will have a full list to choose from after having a rest at the weekend.

Maffra v Wonthaggi (First Semi-final)

WONTHAGGI kept its season alive with a win over Sale last weekend and now has Maffra in its sights on Sunday at Traralgon.

The Power will be out to oust the Eagles in straight sets in a repeat of last year’s first semi-final.

“The pressure is on them; they were on top of the ladder for much of the second half of the season,” Power coach Rob Railton said.

“We will go out and give it our best shot. We came home with the win by three points a couple of weeks ago and we will be vying to do it again.”

Wonthaggi posted a narrow win over the Eagles in round 18 and snuck home to beat an unlucky Sale by three points in the opening round of the finals.

Second finisher Maffra gave up its second chance after being beaten by Traralgon for the second time in three weeks.

“I think it’s been good for the league with Traralgon getting over Maffra, then our struggle with Sale. It just shows it’s a good competition,” Railton said.

At the back of Maffra’s mind will be last year’s season ending first semi-final at the hands of Wonthaggi.

The Power kicked away after the main break, while restricting the Eagles to just one major for the second half.

Maffra will be drawing on its experienced list to undo the younger and new look Wonthaggi outfit, which will have to stop Eagles power forward Darren Sheen who has kicked bags of eight and six goals in their respective encounters in 2015.