Gippsland League big guns locked and loaded

THERE is little separating teams two and three on the Gippsland League ladder, but Traralgon and Maffra will be striving to change that come round seven this weekend.

Locked on 20 points apiece with five wins each to date, and less than seven per cent apart on differential, the Maroons versus Eagles clash at Traralgon Recreation Reserve could have a huge bearing on the makeup of the top three.

Traralgon coach Mark Collison said despite this fixture’s importance in the context of the season, his side was not getting carried away with the equations.

“We approach it as we do any other week. We’re just looking to improve defensively; we’re slowly starting to get the balance right between attack and defence but we’ve still got to improve on it, that’s our biggest thing,” Collison said.

“We don’t put any extra emphasis on at all, every week we look to correct our wrongs which is the main focus. Obviously you look at who you play and how you match up on them, but in terms of having to beat certain sides, you have to beat everyone.

“To do that you have to improve each week.”

Maffra enjoyed a week off with none of its number named in the interleague squad which tackled Bendigo, while eight Maroons lined up for the red, white and blue on Saturday.

Collison said the squad as a whole got something out of the week, whether they played or not.

“It was excellent a lot of our boys got the week off… we’re at the position where we needed a spell so it came at the perfect time for us,” he said.

“We had a good week at home. Not just physically, but mentally to get away from the footy club was good to let the boys freshen up a bit, now we’re ready to go for another three weeks until our next break.”

An intense representative hit-out was the other side of the coin, and one Collison said the interleague newcomers would be better for.

“Some of them were first timers – Ben Amberg, Adrian Slottje, Haydn Hector – so it was good experience for them and they’ll only improve for that,” he said.

“A few others have played multiple times and they enjoyed the experience.”

Traralgon holds a mental edge over Maffra after breaking some long standing hoodoos last season.

The Maroons’ two-point win in round 16 snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Eagles, and their finals win over the same opponent was the first since 2005.

The victor this weekend will take sole ownership of second place on the table or draw level with Leongatha should the Parrots be upset by Moe.

MORWELL shared the points with Drouin last round but won’t be satisfied until the full quota of four is satisfied.

Saturday’s match against Bairnsdale at home may be the Tigers’ best shot at a first up win for 2016.

Winless after six rounds, the Tigers are in the midst of their worst start to a season since 2002, a year in which they lost their first 10 games of the season.

The Redlegs, on the other hand, follow this match with two home games against Moe and Wonthaggi.

A win over Morwell could go a long way toward a top five berth by the halfway mark of the season

MOE will be eager to celebrate club stalwart Peter Ainsworth’s 300th senior game with a major upset against Leongatha.

The Lions have been on the upswing this season but have struggled against the competition’s top three.

They were knocked off by Traralgon in round two, then matched Maffra for three quarters before fading late.

A full four-quarter effort and the home ground advantage could give Moe a sniff.

DROUIN will fancy its chances of knocking off Wonthaggi on its trip to Power home turf with seven of the 12 matches between the two favouring the visitor.

This is despite the fact that both the Power and the Hawks have become renowned for being difficult to beat at home.

They bucked that trend in 2015 by scoring a home ground win each, although Drouin’s one-point nail-biter would have had its supporters’ hearts beating hard.

Both teams entered this season with high hopes of playing finals football, but will be disappointed with their form to date, sitting in ninth and eighth place on the ladder respectively.

With the half way mark of the season looming, a time where clubs take stock of their chances, this game and those of the next fortnight are crucial.

SALE currently sits on a 13-game winning run when it comes to games against Warragul.

Since the start of 1998, the Magpies have won 25 of the 27 games played between the two.

The Gulls have come close on occasions to breaking this run, most notably narrow losses of three points and one point in 2008 and 2009 respectively, but Sale has won the last five by margins of 49 points or greater.

Warragul has impressed this season to earn a place in the top bracket, while Sale, finalists for the past five years, face the prospect of missing September action if results don’t start going their way.

Traralgon v Maffra

(1914-35 (GFL), 1960-2015)

All matches: Played 194 Traralgon 116, Maffra 78

At Traralgon: Played 90 Traralgon 64, Maffra 26

Last 10 matches: Traralgon 2, Maffra 8

Last win at Traralgon: Traralgon 2015, Maffra 2014

Last 5 years at Traralgon: Traralgon 1, Maffra 4

Last three matches

2015 (M) Maffra 11.10 (76) d Traralgon 11.6 (72)

2015 (T) Traralgon 9.16 (70) d Maffra 9.14 (68)

2015 (Qual.F at Moe) Traralgon 14.13 (97) d Maffra 12.8 (80)

Present winning sequence: Traralgon 2

Highest scores: Traralgon 31.11 (197) (1987), Maffra 31.18 (204) (1935)

Lowest scores: Traralgon 2.7 (19) (2004), Maffra 1.6 (12) (1998)

Greatest winning margin: Traralgon 159 (1978), Maffra 169 (1935)

Most goals (match): Traralgon 10 T. Munro (1983), P. McCulloch (1994): Maffra 12 J. Tatterson (2011)

Morwell v Bairnsdale

(1960-1998, 2011 – 2015)

All matches: Played 89 Morwell 57, Bairnsdale 31, drawn 1

At Morwell: Played 43 Morwell 32, Bairnsdale 11

Last 10 matches: Morwell 5, Bairnsdale 4, drawn 1

Last win at Morwell: Morwell 2015, Bairnsdale 2012

Last three matches

2014 (M) Morwell 10.15 (75) d Bairnsdale 5.7 (37)

2015 (B) Morwell 13.11 (89) d Bairnsdale 9.8 (62)

2015 (M) Morwell 12.5 (77) d Bairnsdale 11.4 (70)

Present winning sequence: Morwell 4

Highest scores: Morwell 33.15 (213) (1998), Bairnsdale 20.16 (136) (1985)

Lowest scores: Morwell 4.10 (34) (1981), Bairnsdale 1.4 (10) (1993)

Greatest winning margin: Morwell 198 (1998), Bairnsdale 55 (1969)

Most goals (match): Morwell 16 A. Waller (1998): Bairnsdale 9 S. Schaeche (1995)

Moe v Leongatha

(1934 – 1953 (CGFL), 1969 – 2015)

All matches: Played 137 Moe 48, Leongatha 89

At Moe: Played 65 Moe 26, Leongatha 39

Last 10 matches: Moe 0, Leongatha 10

Last win at Moe: Moe 2010, Leongatha 2015

Last 5 years at Moe: Moe 0, Leongatha 5

Last three matches

2014 (L) Leongatha 13.16 (94) d Moe 10.4 (64)

2015 (L) Leongtatha 9.17 (71) d Moe 4.5 (29)

2015 (M) Leongatha 22.20 (152) d Moe 6.4 (40)

Present winning sequence: Leongatha 11

Highest scores: Moe 20.15 (135) (1993), Leongatha 42.22 (274) (1997)

Lowest scores: Moe 2.1 (13) (1996), Leongatha 1.4 (10) (2006)

Greatest winning margin: Moe 91 (2006), Leongatha 247 (1997)

Most goals (match): Moe 10 I. Jennings (1969): Leongatha 19 A. Campbell (1997)

Wonthaggi v Drouin

(2010 – 2015)

All matches: Played 12 Wonthaggi 7, Drouin 5

At Wonthaggi: Played 6 Wonthaggi 3, Drouin 3

Last 10 matches: Wonthaggi 7, Drouin 3

Last win at Wonthaggi: Wonthaggi 2015, Drouin 2012

Last 5 years at Wonthaggi: Wonthaggi 3, Drouin 2

Last three matches

2014 (D) Wonthaggi 21.18 (144) d Drouin 2.2 (14)

2015 (D) Drouin 14.8 (92) d Wonthaggi 13.13 (91)

2015 (W) Wonthaggi 18.10 (118) d Drouin 12.6 (78)

Present winning sequence: Wonthaggi 1

Highest scores: Wonthaggi 31.21 (207) (2014), Drouin 19.24 (138) (2010)

Lowest scores: Wonthaggi 8.6 (54) (2010), Drouin 1.2 (8) (2014)

Greatest winning margin: Wonthaggi 199 (2014), Drouin 84 (2010)

Most goals (match): Wonthaggi 9 E. Shaw (2014): Drouin 8 T. Kneebone (2010)

Warragul v Sale

(1954 – 1999, 2005 – 2015)

All matches: Played 124 Warragul 42, Sale 82

At Warragul: Played 59 Warragul 25, Sale 34

Last 10 matches: Warragul 0, Sale 10

Last win at Warragul: Warragul 2006, Sale 2015

Last 5 years at Warragul: Warragul 0, Sale 5

Last three matches

2014 (S) Sale 22.19 (151) d Warragul 4.5 (29)

2015 (S) Sale 17.19 (121) d Warragul 3.8 (26)

2015 (W) Sale 16.12 (108) d Warragul 8.9 (57)

Present winning sequence: Sale 13

Highest scores: Warragul 27.21 (183) (1994), Sale 26.25 (181) (1999)

Lowest scores: Warragul 1.8 (14) (2006), Sale 2.6 (18) (1976)

Greatest winning margin: Warragul 88 (1994), Sale 125 (2007)

Most goals (match): Warragul 8 M. Ridgeway (1981): Sale 12 M. Ferguson (2011)

Statistics for Round 7 by Paul Carter