Final flashback in Gippsland League

GRAND final replays of the past two seasons will take place this weekend in week two of the Gippsland League’s split round 10.

Last season’s finalists Leongatha and Traralgon will take centre stage at the Parrots’ nest on Saturday, and two of the lesser lights of 2016 will be looking to shine on Sunday at Morwell.

The 2014 premiership winner and runner-up, Morwell and Wonthaggi, will reignite rivalries on a less glamorous but nonetheless important stage.

The Power is clinging to a spot in the top five after an inauspicious first half of the fixture, while the ninth-placed Tigers are on the prowl after their huge Queen’s Birthday upset over Traralgon.

Now just six points behind Wonthaggi, Morwell’s outside chance at a finals berth is a week-to-week proposition.

A relaxed session on the training track following last Monday’s match gave way to the regular grind this week as the Tigers attempt to topple another competition heavyweight on home turf.

Coach Joel Soutar said his side could not rest on one big win and had to start competing every week.

“There’s definitely good vibes down at the club, but we know we’ve got to start challenging the sides around us, beat the sides on the same points as us or above us, not just have that one good win then have two losses to teams around us,” Soutar said.

“We have to make sure we back it up this week and put in a strong effort against Wonthaggi.”

The Power won their round one encounter with Morwell by 35 points and Soutar said his side had learned a lot from the loss.

“We know they strangle you, they play that tight press, but they’ve also got some good ball winners in close; they’re probably one of the best sides at winning around the contests so we’ll need to be good in that area,” he said.

“Hopefully we’ve improved since last time we played them; that’s what we’re looking for in the second half of the year, just making sure we get that improvement against every side we come up against.”

Gippsland Power duo Changkuoth Jiath and Ryan Hearn will return to TAC Cup duties this week but Morwell will otherwise be near full strength.

Another side with all hands on deck is Traralgon, with several key players coming back into the selection frame this week to face the ladder leader.

The Maroons’ Jason Winderlich, Tim Johnson, Jordan Bourke and Mick Stockdale are likely to be available as coach Mark Collison’s side looks to rectify last round’s one-point loss to the Tigers.

Collison said intensity and effort were lacking on the Queen’s Birthday and the premier needed to lift for the grand final replay.

“We were disappointed, no two ways about it. We performed pretty poorly; they came prepared to play and we didn’t, it’s pretty simple,” he said.

“In this competition it doesn’t matter where you sit on the ladder or what your form is, if you don’t prepare properly you’ll face the consequences and we got beaten by the better side.”

Traralgon went down to Leongatha by 31 points in round one and has been doing some homework since.

“We took a little bit out of it, (but) you don’t want to look back too far because it was only last week we had a loss,” Collison said.

“You’ve got to look at what’s ahead of you and correct some issues with our form and our performance; as long as we’re doing that I’m happy.”

Leongatha has nine straight wins this season and will present a stern challenge.

(1936 – 53 (CGFL), 1969 – 2016)

All matches: Played 147 Leongatha 59, Traralgon 85, drawn 3

At Leongatha: Played 62 Leongatha 30, Traralgon 29, drawn 3

Last 10 matches: Leongatha 5, Traralgon 5

Last win at Leongatha: Leongatha 2015, Traralgon 2014

Last 5 years at Leongatha: Leongatha 2, Traralgon 3

Last three matches

2015 (2nd Semi at Moe) Traralgon 9.14 (68) d Leongatha 8.11 (59)

2015 (GF at Traralgon) Traralgon 12.11 (83) d Leongatha 7.11 (53)

2016 (T) Leongatha 11.10 (76) d Traralgon 5.15 (45)

Present winning sequence: Leongatha 1

Highest scores: Leongatha 23.24 (162) (1995 Grand Final), Traralgon 29.14 (188) (2009)

Lowest scores: Leongatha 2.7 (19) (2006), Traralgon 1.14 (20) (2003)

Greatest winning margin: Leongatha 123 (2015), Traralgon 127 (2009)

Most goals (match): Leongatha 10 W. Ryan (1936): Traralgon 12 T. Aitken (2009)

(1995 – 2004, 2010 – 2016)

All matches: Played 41 Morwell 16, Wonthaggi 25

At Morwell: Played 20 Morwell 7, Wonthaggi 13

Last 10 matches: Morwell 5, Wonthaggi 5

Last win at Morwell: Morwell 2014, Wonthaggi 2015

Last 5 years at Morwell: Morwell 2, Wonthaggi 3

Last three matches

2015 (M) Wonthaggi 18.15 (123) d Morwell 7.10 (52)

2015 (W) Wonthaggi 4.16 (40) d Morwell 4.6 (30)

2016 (W) Wonthaggi 11.16 (82) d Morwell 7.5 (47)

Present winning sequence: Wonthaggi 3

Highest scores: Morwell 22.26 (158) (1997), Wonthaggi 29.19 (193) (2004)

Lowest scores: Morwell 4.6 (30) (2015), Wonthaggi 3.4 (22) (1995)

Greatest winning margin: Morwell 88 (1997), Wonthaggi 134 (2003)

Most goals (match): Morwell 7 R. Taylor (1996): Wonthaggi 11 M. Silver (2004)