Status quo for top five teams

On a roll: Sale notched their ninth win of the season, after defeating Warragul. File photograph





THE top five remained as is in the Gippsland League.

The penultimate round of competition in the home and away season returned no great talking points, as finals-bound teams looked to fine tune, while the others played for pride.

Wonthaggi all but secured the minor premiership, and head into the last round equal-first with Moe, but nearly 60 per cent to the better.


HE’S hard to stop when he’s on.

A seven-goal effort from Brandon McDonald saw Morwell record a solid win on the road.

The Tigers blew the Redlegs off the park after halftime, eventually winning 18.9 (117) to 9.10 (64).

Just seven points separated the sides at halftime, before Morwell went absolutely bonkers.

Whatever playing-coach Boyd Bailey said at halftime worked, or it didn’t fall on deaf ears at least, as the Tigers ripped the game apart, kicking eight goals to one in the third.

The goal scoring spree left Bairnsdale shell-shocked, and with a 47 point deficit at the last break.

There would be no miracle comeback, as Morwell took their score well past the 100 mark, on their way to a commanding 53-point win.

McDonald was best-on-ground, while Bailey himself had a productive day with four goals.
Tristen Waack contributed three majors, while Max Linton, Tyler Brown and Adam Braendler were serviceable.

Although they won’t play finals, the Tigers’ desire to see the season out properly would have been pleasing to supporters.

Braendler hadn’t played since Round 9, and could have easily been put on ice with two rounds to go.

While it might have been a game Morwell expected to win, there was merit in the fact it came after Bairnsdale defeated Traralgon, and would have had their confidence right up.

Winning in Bairnsdale is never easy either, as any Gippsland League player will tell you.

Lachlan Byrne-Jones did a good job for the Redlegs, as did Link McKenna, Will Mitchell, Emmett Carroll, Damon O’Connor and Nathan Dennison.

Morwell will finish the year in sixth position, and might get a taste of a mini-final this weekend when they take on Wonthaggi at home.

There could be an interesting story in the works, as McDonald goes into the match only five goals behind Traralgon’s Brett Eddy in the race for the league goal kicking.

With Traralgon focussing on finals to come, could Morwell take the opportunity to give McDonald all supply this week?

Morwell has not had a player win the league goal kicking since the colourful John Featherston in 1985.

As they reflect on the season, the Tigers will surely be kicking themselves after losses to Warragul and a four-point loss to Sale have potentially been the difference between them playing finals and not.


IT’S honestly weird seeing Maffra so uncompetitive.

Those accustomed to the Eagles dominating for most of the last 20 years are surely now finding themselves in a strange paradigm at just how much the tide has turned.

Maffra was never in the hunt against Moe at the weekend, and went on to lose 13.22 (100) to 2.6 (18).

In a year where they seem to be breaking records, the Lions set a couple after their victory.

Moe has now completed a perfect away record this season – the first time in club history competing in the Gippsland League (1954-present).

It was also Maffra’s lowest score against Moe, beating the 3.4 (22) kicked only a few years ago in 2019.

A strong wind toward the netball court end at Maffra saw the Lions add six goals in the second term kicking with the advantage.

The Eagles on the other hand, did not even score.

Maffra captain Daniel Bedggood was forced to play as an extra in defence to help stem the bleeding, as Moe forwards Harry Pepper and Billy Gowers ran riot.

Pepper kicked three for the term, as he and Gowers ended with four goals each.

The Eagles were again held scoreless in the third, as Moe did as they pleased. Midfielder Riley Baldi racked up possessions, as did Mitchell Stanlake streaming down from halfback.

Moe midfielders Lucas Forato and Trent Baldi also won their share of the ball.

Things got so desperate for Maffra, they threw Ben Brunt into the ruck just to add a bit of seniority.

Maffra’s more senior players, some of whom have enjoyed premiership success, were clearly frustrated at times by their younger counterparts. A Maffra player waiting to come on perhaps summed up the issue, saying words to the effect of “they keep running away from the ball”.

The discrepancy in age was evident, and it was a simple case of boys against men the further the game went on.

Moe had some youth in their team as well, and welcomed thirds player Liam Weir in for his first senior game, along with Tom Blackshaw.

Perhaps the only concern for Moe was the sight of playing-coach Declan Keilty with his right ankle iced after the game. Keilty left the field in the third quarter after coming down from a marking contest.

About the only highlight for Maffra was their last goal, which came after the ball literally bounced at a right angle in the goal square.

Brayden Monk, Jonathan Boyd, Ed Carr, Alex Carr, Brunt and Kade Renooy battled hard for the Eagles.


JUST what is going to happen to Traralgon come finals.

The Maroons lost their third game in a row at the weekend, going down to ladder-leaders Wonthaggi.

Traralgon was only 10 points down at the main break, but faded badly in the second half, adding just three behinds.

The Power might have just been toying with their opponents, as they clicked right into gear on the resumption, kicking 6.2 (38) to no score in the third.

The home side eased up on the scoring in the last, but still only conceded a handful of behinds.

Traralgon really only had five minutes of dominance, which came during the second term when they kicked three goals in as many minutes.

While this might have shown how well the Maroons can play when fully up-and-running, it is hardly sustainable to win a game of football playing three blistering minutes.

Luis D’Angelo tagged key Power playmaker Ryan Sparkes, and did a sound job keeping him to just 12 disposals.

D’Angelo was voted best afield for the effort, and was joined by Sammy Hallyburton, Max Jacobsen, Tom Schneider, Tye Hourigan and Connor Ambler.

Wonthaggi meanwhile are looking every bit primed to make up for last year’s shortcoming that saw them miss the Grand Final by two points.

The Power kicked virtually 100 points against a finals-bound team at the weekend, even without leading goal kicker Cooper McInnes.

Opportunistic forward Tom Davey stepped up with six goals, and received good support from Tom Murray, Mitch Hayes, Jack Blair, Kyle Reid and Toma Huther.

McInnes has missed the last few weeks with injury, but is expected to be available come finals.

If Traralgon loses to Sale this week, they will enter finals against the same opposition with four losses under their belt – hardly ideal form.

The Maroons will however go into finals with its seniors and reserves secure, and as such, a full complement of players to choose from.

Traralgon sewed up a spot in the reserves finals series after winning in a bizarre score line of 2.8 (20) to 1.6 (12).

If that doesn’t sum up twos footy…


SALE took their win-loss ledger into the positive following victory over Warragul.

The Magpies’ win was their ninth for the season, edging them one numerical figure ahead of their number of losses.

As expected, the match between fifth and ninth didn’t reach great heights. Sale led from start to finish, and only conceded three goals in a final scoreboard reading 13.14 (92) to 3.12 (30).

Sale kept the Gulls goalless in the first half, as the result quickly became a foregone conclusion at Sale Oval.

Perhaps most pleasingly for the Magpies was the fact Brad Dessent didn’t do all the goal kicking. Dessent was one of five players to kick two goals, along with Shannen Lange, Jack Leslie and Jack McLaren, who all featured in the best.

Cody Henness played his first senior game since Round 1, and showed no signs of rust, while cult hero Pat Tainsh and Nathan Whitford were also prominent.

Better players for Warragul were Cooper Alger, Sean Masterson, Will Cole, Patrick Ireland, James Davidson and Jasper Alger.

As has been the story of their year, Sale was forced to make bulk changes to the side.

While this could be viewed as a negative two weeks out from finals, it did provide opportunity for a number of young players to come into the side, one of which was Tom Wrigglesworth back from boarding school.

Another was Harry Tatterson, who made his senior debut. Still only a fourths player, Tatterson became what is believed to be one of the youngest Sale senior debutants of all time.

Tatterson has had a busy year, doubling up most weeks to play in the reserves. He isn’t just filling in either, playing on a wing with a Sale reserves team currently enjoying a 12-game winning streak.

In a further show of increased depth, Sale also brought Traralgon premiership player Jordan Bourke into the senior side for the first time this season.

The Magpies play the Maroons this weekend, in what will be a dress rehearsal for the elimination final.


LEONGATHA was too strong for Drouin, winning by 70 points.

The visiting Parrots set up their win with five goals in the first term, and went on their way from there.

Drouin will more than likely claim the wooden spoon this year, but with a percentage touching 70, could well go down as the ‘best-last team ever’.