Moe wins top-five battle

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RESULTS went largely as expected in Round 14 of the Gippsland League.

The ladder did not change from the previous week, as teams either took a step closer to finals, or ticked off another day closer to Mad Monday.


THE netballers outscored the footballers at Ted Summerton Reserve.

While goals were being scored at will on the netball court, those on the football field were having greater difficulty.

In the washup, the score between Moe and Sale in netball was 77-37, and in football, it was 10.7 (67) to 2.10 (22) in favour of the Lions.

The only match featuring top-five teams during Round 14 was a bit of a let down, as Moe maintained their hold inside the top three on the senior football ladder.

A non-atmospheric game played out, where highlights were few and far between.

Needing to win to stave off Morwell, the fifth-placed Magpies were undone by a number of thwarted forward entries that left them with a return of 1.8 (14) at the main break.

Conversely, Moe was much more efficient, and nailed four straight goals in the first half.

The best came after a lunging Harry Pepper smother saw him win the ball back and hit up Nick Prowse for one of his three goals.

Pepper himself kicked three, and was listed in the best along with Tyler Pratt, Scott van Dyk, Lucas Forato and Prowse.

A quick-thinking snap from Hayden Potts gave Sale a spark in the third, but it ended up being their last goal for the game.

Moe closed out well, kicking 4.5 (25) to 0.2 (2) in the last.

Riley Baldi was a clear best-on for the winners, and had the ball on a string with close to 40 touches and eight clearances.

The midfielder praised the work of the Lion’s defence, who kept Sale to one of the lowest Round 14 scores on record.

“They are the best backline in the comp at the moment, they are flying,” he told Gippsland Live post-match.

Moe’s back six of coach Declan Keilty, vice captain Scott Van Dyk, veteran Tom Long and 100 gamer Charlie Rieniets have so far kept oppositions to an average of 50 points per game.

Baldi said he thought his side got better as the game went on.

Baldi had a good duel around stoppages with Shannen Lange, who had as many touches as his adversary.

Will Leslie was best for Sale, doing the job on Lions forward Billy Gowers.

Leslie’s pace saw him burst out of defence at times with ball in hand with no one able to stop him.

Jack McLaren continued his strong season, and probably has Sale’s best-and-fairest sewn-up already.

Hudson Holmes, Pat Tainsh and Nathan Whitford also had good moments.

While Moe will play finals and Sale is on track to do so, both sides have some concerns as the business end approaches.

The Magpies desperately need Brad Dessent back at full forward, as even without looking at the scoreboard, their lack of key avenues to goal at the weekend was telling.

Dessent is expected to come back through the reserves this weekend.

Sale’s reserves are in red hot form at the moment, and took their winning streak to nine at the weekend.

A physical encounter played out in the lunchtime league, with Moe losing three players in the first 10 minutes.

These injuries will perhaps add to the conundrum facing the Lions over the next few weeks, especially in the ruck department.

Ben Morrow is still injured, while Chris Prowse was a late withdrawal at the weekend, leaving youngster Lachlan McGrath to shoulder the workload.

While the efforts of the 18-year-old were admirable, it would be unfair to place such a burden on him come a final.


THE fixture is working out perfectly.

Morwell kept its finals hopes alive at the weekend after defeating Maffra.

The Tigers went to equal-fifth following their 12.10 (82) to 3.15 (33) victory at home.

With one game to play before the split round, it is looking all the more likely the Round 16 clash between Morwell and Sale will decide who gets the last remaining spot in finals.

As fate would have it, that match is one of two being played in the first week of the split round – and is the only one of significance.

Mark that one in your calendar now – August 5 at Morwell Rec.

If last weekend is anything to go by, the Tigers might just be on the upward trajectory to hit Sale at full tilt, as well as Leongatha this week.

Morwell put together arguably its best performance for the season last round, blowing Maffra off the park with a five goal to one first quarter.

The home side registered 10 scoring shots to three in that term, from which time they never looked back.

Defence was strong from Morwell, not even letting Maffra in for a single goal either side of halftime. The Eagles could only manage five behinds in the second term and four in the third. Meanwhile, the Tigers added five more goals in the same timeframe.

Morwell established a lead of 41 points at the main break, and built that to 52 by three quarter time.

In a COVID-induced anomaly, the win was Morwell’s first against Maffra at home since 2019.

There was no such compromise in another stat however, as Morwell kept Maffra to just 33 points.

Only top-four sides Wonthaggi and Traralgon have kept the Eagles to lower scores this season.

Last round hero Zac Carlson was best for the winners, and received good support from Aidan Quigley, coach Boyd Bailey, underrated defender Zac Anderson, Taylor Weatherill and Sam Walsh.

Rounding out a good day for the yellow and black, Bailey would have been pleased all the goal kicking wasn’t left to Brandon McDonald.

McDonald and Bailey kicked two each, as did the man with plenty of energy Josh Galea, and Darnell Grech, proving his versatility moving down from defence.

That Morwell completed a convincing win without Tristen Waack, Burkeley Macfarlane and Tyler Brown only added to the credit.

Better players for Maffra were Brayden Monk, Alex Carr, Kade Renooy, Ed Carr, James Read and David Adams.

Eagles veteran Winston Gieschen is set to break the club record for senior games this weekend when he runs out for his 250th.

The Gieschen name has been synonymous with Maffra, and the family has combined for more than 1000 senior games between them in the red and black.

Winston’s cousin Jeff is perhaps the most famous. He won two Trood Award and Rodda Medals for the Gippsland League best-and-fairest, coming back from playing AFL with Footscray.

Gieschen went on to be senior coach of Richmond, and holds the somewhat unknown title of being a Richmond premiership coach – he led the Tigers to a reserves flag in 1997.


TRARALGON did what was required against Warragul.

Travelling to Western Park proved to be the only inconvenience for the Maroons, who won their 11th game for the season.

The visitor’s set up the game with six goals in the opening term, and went on their way from there to win 19.19 (133) to 10.5 (65).

Warragul competed admirably for a quarter or so, before weight of numbers eventually caught up with them.

The Maroons kept the Gulls to just a single goal in the second quarter, and broke the game open after the main break.

If they had been accurate, the margin might’ve been closer to three figures.

Brett Eddy maintained top-spot on the league goal kicking, sending five through the big sticks.

Skipper Dylan Loprese chipped in with four back in his natural habitat.

Both were named in the best, along with Jordan Cunico, Luis D’Angelo, Mark Collison and Tye Hourigan.

Three certainties in life: death, taxes, and Tye Hourigan to get in the best.

Brad Hefford did well for Warragul, as did Tom Hobbs, Bayley Paul, Nick Stevenson, Jake Hughes and Corbin Sutherland who kicked four goals.

Sutherland has now kicked 28 goals for the season, a fair return in a side that has won only three games and has a percentage less than 45.

After coming over from Yarram, there was some discussion around Sutherland and if he had what it took to compete at a higher level. His efforts so far would possibly lean toward the affirmative.

The result keeps Traralgon locked in fourth, but the Maroons have a chance to go equal with third-placed Moe if they are successful at home this weekend.

Traralgon will take confidence from their victory over Moe from earlier in the season.
On that occasion, Eddy got off the chain and finished with half a dozen majors. His effort was made easier due to the service he was getting from the likes of Jackson McMahon and D’Angelo lacing him out between the nipples.

While Lions playing-coach Declan Keilty would probably prefer to play centre half back, he might be left with no choice but to put himself on Eddy at full forward.

Regardless of whether he is the coach or not, he is the best defender in Moe’s team, and the best defender has to take the best forward in the comp.


WONTHAGGI creamed Drouin.

While there are a number of creamery’s in the Drouin area, a new one opened up at the recreation reserve at 2.20pm last Saturday.

Fortunately for the Hawks, it closed three hours later, after its workers were sent home following a loss of 24.13 (157) to 9.9 (63).

The Power blitz their opponents in the second term, adding six goals, paving the way for another six in the third and seven in the last.

Cooper McInnes bagged six goals, while Jack Hutchinson kicked four. Ryan Sparkes returned from a concussion-induced break, and got straight back to business with a best-on-ground performance.

Others to play well were Brodie Mabilia and Aiden Lindsay.

Drouin fought on, and to their credit, kicked three goals in each quarter after the first break.

James McKellar, Ryan Taylor, Alex McMillan, Charlie Bethune, Xavier Lindsay and Seb Amoroso won the accolades.

Drouin’s Aden Quirk had the distinction of kicking the Gippsland League’s one millionth point.

The millionth point was brought up at the 20 minute mark of the first quarter.

Drouin has already turned its attention to next season, and has lured Ed Morris back to the club.

Morris has been playing in the Northern Territory, and will be a senior assistant coach for the Hawks in 2024.

Morris comes with an extensive resume, including VFL and interleague experience.


LEONGATHA clicked into gear after halftime.

The Parrots put in a scintillating second half at Bairnsdale, to maintain top spot on the ladder.

The visitor’s added 11 goals to two after the main break, winning 19.16 (130) to 8.2 (50).

A high-scoring first half saw Leongatha go into the sheds with eight goals to Bairnsdale’s six, but the reigning premier then put the foot down, kicking six goals to one in the third.

Come three quarter time, the Parrots lead was out to 53 points.

Jenson Garnham ended with four goals in the win, and was one of five multiple goal-kickers on the day.

Aaron Turton, Aaron Heppell, Tallin Brill, Kim Drew and Luke Bowman provided good foil.

With the Barbie movie hitting screens last week and its soundtrack featuring songs by Nicki Minaj, it was perhaps fitting Leongatha let Bairnsdale think they were a chance at halftime (“They can’t be Nicki, they so stupid, I just laugh when they try”).

Nathan Dennison, Ethan East, Logan Austin, Lachlan Byrne-Jones, Emmett Carroll and Jayson Miller were best for the Redlegs.

An incredible story to come out of the game was the debut of Lucas Lakay for Bairnsdale.

A professional rugby player in his native South Africa, Lakay had never played Australian Rules before moving to Bairnsdale last year.