Parrots soar into grand final

Leongatha has bounced back from last week’s loss to overcome Traralgon and book itself a spot in this weekend’s Gippsland League grand final.

The Parrots defeated the Maroons 18.15 (123) to 10.9 (69) to set up a rematch against semi-final foe Maffra on Saturday.

Leongatha’s Patrick McGrath found goal to open the Parrots’ account, before Tim Johnston replied with one of his own for Traralgon.

Chris Dunne then slotted two and by the end of the first quarter the scoreboard read Leongatha 4.3 (27) to Traralgon’s 2.2 (14).

The Parrots went on to score the first four of the second term, before Lee Stockdale and Troy Forrest pulled two back for the Maroons.

At half-time the Parrots had amassed a 34-point lead, with the scoreboard reading 9.7 (61) to 4.3 (27).

Stockdale and Haydn Hector goaled for the Maroons in the third quarter, while Josh Hopkins, Shem Hawking, Cade Maskell and Aaron Hillberg all scored for Leongatha.

By three-quarter-time the Parrots had opened up a 48-point lead, 13.12 (90) to 6.6 (42).

In the final quarter Leongatha managed five goals to the Maroons’ four.

Speaking yesterday, Traralgon coach Mark Collison said his team had played “pretty poorly”.

“We didn’t use the footy very well at all, which hurt us,” he said.

“We made a lot of basic skill errors which probably made the difference in the end.”

But Collison said there were some bright spots.

“The back end of the second quarter we kicked three in a row but a turnover in our back 50 led to a goal – which you can’t afford to do,” he said.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t handle the heat.”

Collison praised the Parrots’ ability to maintain their performance throughout the game.

“They were really good, played the complete four quarters and won in every aspect of the game – so they were quality,” he said.

“We weren’t underestimating them, but I think if we played our absolute best footy we could beat them.

“(But) if you’ve got two sides and one of them doesn’t come to play it makes for a long day.”

Dunne kicked four majors for Leongatha, while McGrath and Maskell contributed three each.

Hopkins and Dale Houghton each kicked two and Hillberg, Chris Verboon, Hawking and Rhett Kelly each booted one.

Tim Northe, Stockdale and Jackson Hall led the way for Traralgon with three majors each.

Johnston, Forrest, Rohan Hildebrande and Hector each finished with one.

McGrath, Luke Bowman, Zak Vernon, Hopkins, Dunne and Houghton were best for Leongatha.

Traralgon’s best were Tim Northe, Tate Marsh, Adam Jaensch, Adrian Slottje, Jordan Bourke and Ben Amberg.