Eagles in Maroons’ sights

Previous form will count for little when reigning premier Traralgon meets Maffra in Saturday’s Gippsland League qualifying final at Morwell Recreation Reserve.

Both sides will go into the match having recorded one win and one loss in the final two rounds of the home-and-away season.

The Maroons last week recorded a crushing 13.13 (91) to 7.8 (50) win over Morwell, but narrowly lost to league surprise package Warragul by three points the week before.

Maffra had its own Warragul problem on Saturday, with the Gulls sealing their finals berth with a 13.9 (87) to 11.8 (74) win over the Eagles.

The two sides’ previous encounters this season also do not offer much insight, with Traralgon and Maffra winning one game each.

Although the Maroons won the most recent meeting in round 16 by eight points, effectively a dress rehearsal for the qualifying final.

Maroons playing coach Mark Collison said the state of the ladder had provided his side time to prepare for the encounter with the Eagles.

“Our main goal’s always been Maffra in week one of the finals,” Collison said.

“We’ve been looking for improvement – we’ve been up and down at times, but we think we’re heading in the right direction.”

The winner of this week’s match-up will face Leongatha at the same ground the following week in the second semi-final.

Despite carrying the tag of reigning premiers, Collison said his players were not bothered by how they were viewed by outsiders.

“We don’t worry about who’s to watch or whatever, we worry about our training during the week,” he said.

“As far as who’s the team to beat, it’s neither here nor there until the final day.

“We think we’re ready to go, we’re not looking any further than Maffra this week.”

But the Maroons mentor was not taking his opponents for granted.

“They’re an aggressive side, they’ve obviously got a lot of keys,” he said.

“We’ll do our homework during the week – we think we’ve got a fair idea of what we need to do to beat them.”

Attempts were made to contact Maffra coach Wayne Butcher.