Maroons ready to jump final hurdle

Minor premier Leongatha will head into this weekend’s second semi-final against Traralgon with fresh legs after earning the week off with a top-of-the-table finish in the Gippsland League.

The Maroons will be buoyed after disposing of defending premier Maffra in the qualifying final at the weekend with an 18-point win at Sale Recreation Reserve.

The victory comes just four weeks after the Eagles spanked Traralgon to the tune of 59 points in round 15 and coach Mark Collison said the win came as no surprise to the Maroons.

“We go into football games expecting to win, not hoping to win, and that’s the way we approach our footy,” Collison said.

Traralgon is hitting its straps at the right time and coach Mark Collison said the semi-final match-up with heavyweight Leongatha would be a real test for the Maroons.

“They’re a very good football side and good club so it’ll be the same story as before – whoever comes prepared and plays the best brand of footy will win,” he said.

When Leongatha and Traralgon first played in round four this year the Maroons handed the Parrots their first loss of 2017 with a 15.3 (93) to 9.9 (63) win.

Last time the sides met in round 13 it was a different story and Leongatha emerged victorious in a low-scoring encounter by nine points.

Collison cited both season proper encounters with Leongatha as “good battles” but said the Maroons would take little from the games.

“We’ve had pretty good battles with Leongatha both times and they’ve got A-grade players like most sides but I don’t take anything into account from previous encounters,” he said.

“They’ve got strengths and weaknesses and we’ll put our homework in and no doubt decide where to focus our efforts.”

As the pointy end of finals draws near Collison said the Maroons were building to full strength but wouldn’t look beyond this weekend’s game.

“The side is going well. We’re starting to get a few more players back and putting pressure on spots, which is good, so we’re establishing some good depth and a lot of boys are putting their hands up to play,” he said.

“Your first tick is to finish off top three and we did that so we don’t look any further ahead that Leongatha.”

The winner of this weekend’s game will earn itself a walk through to the grand final.

The second semi-final will kick-off Saturday, 9 September at Morwell Recreation Reserve at 2.20pm.

Maffra v Moe

Defending premier Maffra will look to avenge its qualifying final loss to Traralgon this weekend when it faces an in-form Moe outfit in the first semi-final on Sunday.

The Eagles led at every break during Saturday’s game before the Maroons kicked into gear in the final term and kicked 5.7 to run out 18-point victors.

Moe didn’t allow Morwell a sniff at the weekend and tore away to record a 45-win and earn itself a shot at Maffra.

If this year’s round 13 clash is anything to go by, Sunday’s game is sure to be a cracker.

Maffra withstood a last-quarter resurgence from the Lions to hang on and win by three points at the final siren.

The earlier round three clash was a carbon copy and Maffra again edged out the Lions by three points.

The winner of Sunday’s game will move through to the preliminary final and face the loser of Saturday’s semi-final between Leongatha and Traralgon.

The first semi-final will kick-off on Sunday, 10 September at Morwell Recreation Reserve at 2.20pm.