WELL that was boring.

Low scoring grinds played out in Round 3 of the Gippsland League, as only two teams went past or got near the ton.


Moe 14.10 (94) def Sale 8.12 (60)

YOU didn’t miss much at Ted Summerton Reserve.

A non-atmospheric match (quite unusual for a Moe home game), saw the Lions beat Sale by 34 points, 14.10 (94) to 8.12 (60).

The noticeably small crowd may have played some part in a generally unexciting game, as both teams appeared content to run out the second half and get off the ground.

While a six goal margin is often considered ‘nothing’ in modern football, Moe never appeared in great danger of dropping their 30-point halftime lead.

The Lions kicked 11 goals to five either side of the main break, and much like the current Australian Test bowling attack, went hard when they needed to, controlled tempo, and ensured they stayed ahead of the game.

Idyllic conditions meant the ball spent a good deal of time off the ground, and the spectators that did show up were at least treated to some offensive transition that was easy on the eye.

Moe skipper and best-on-ground Jacob Wood kicked four goals for the day, including two in the third quarter via opportunistic snaps in front of the Can Bar.

Wood also got to work physically, nabbing Sale recruit and ex-Richmond player Derek Eggmolesse-Smith holding the ball. Such an act evoked a Simpsons reference from this writer, as Wood was clearly not deterred by any ‘Egg Council creeps’.

Moe second-gamer Max Woodall also nailed two goals in the third, both coming from neat set shots in the pocket, the second right on the three quarter time siren.

The Magpies kicked four goals in the third, after only managing one up until then. While the first two came from free kicks, they were able to finish off their work from further up the ground on the others.

Tom Campbell benefited from a Bohdi Walker hit-up at the 13-minute mark, and then playing-coach, Jack Johnstone after clunking a strong grab amid three Moe defenders.

By three quarter time, the Lions had more than doubled the Magpies score. Despite messages of being ruthless to finish off the game, Moe only managed one more goal from that point.

In fairness, their task was made more difficult as Sale played a plus-one in defence, with Eggmolesse-Smith sitting back and stacking his stat sheet.

With bigger games to come for both sides, the contest dwindled out, and watching on, it was clear players were playing with selective intensity to avoid any last-minute injuries.

Joining Wood in the best for the winners was Ben Daniher, Riley Baldi, Harri Sim, Brock Smith and Harry Pepper, who booted five goals.

The Magpies were noticeably short a few absolute top liners in Will Leslie, Cody Henness, Jack McLaren and Jordan Dessent, and in theory at least, opponents can expect a stronger Sale in the second half of the season provided those players return.

If last season is any indication, Sale will more than likely be managing their list with the aim of having close to everyone available at the pointy end.

The Magpies however, like a lot of senior lists, appear much lighter on this season – only four players from its Reserves Grand Final last year played in the early game at the weekend.

Eggmolesse-Smith was voted best-on for Sale at the weekend, followed by Pat Tainsh, Walker and Jonty McGuiness channelling his inner Aaron Naughton, rocking the white headband.

Jack Leslie and Shannen Lange also played well, although the latter may have summed up what could have been described as an overall ‘off day’ for the Magpies.

Even Lange, a two time Trood Award and Rodda Medal winner, missed some easy targets, under not a great deal of pressure, as did Johnstone, who was heard to curse himself in third person at one stage.

Perhaps it is this writer being too observant, but even watching Sale come out after halftime, one sensed a general feeling of flatness in the camp. Kicks during lane work were fairly lackadaisical before the start of the third quarter, while even something as small as the Magpies club notes in the weekly Record being rehashed from the previous round may have reflected an exhausting few days within club land.


Wonthaggi 7.8 (50) def by Morwell 9.8 (62)

THERE’S nothing much powerful coming out of Wonthaggi at the moment.

The Power appear a shell of the team that won 16 games on the trot last season, and have now lost as many games in the first three rounds as they did for the whole season last year.

Who honestly could have predicted this?

While list changes over preseason are inevitable, Wonthaggi still looked to have the nucleus of a very strong side judging by the ins and outs. Add in the fact the Power became the first Gippsland League club to appoint a general manager, things were looking relatively promising.

Fast forward one month into the season, and Wonthaggi’s general manager, Brendan Knight suddenly has an enormous task on his hands to recalibrate and realign.

Issues appear not just confined to the senior team either. Wonthaggi has no under 18s, while the name Rod Tack made an appearance on the reserves team sheet at the weekend.

Tack’s goal-kicking feats are legendary, but considering he was a genuine ‘bear in the square’ type forward 10 years ago and looked well into his 40s then, he now might now not be too far off getting discount coffees at the drive-thru.

All this talk of Wonthaggi is perhaps doing a disservice to Morwell, who chalked up their first win of 2024 at the weekend.

It was a big day for the Tigers as a club, who celebrated netballer Courtney Garth becoming the first person to play 250 A Grade games in the yellow and black.

The footballing Tigers came from behind at three quarter time to win 9.8 (62) to 7.8 (50), bringing the points back home after making the trip over the hill.

The visitors took a nine-point lead into the main break, but only added one goal in the third to ensure something of a grandstand finish.

In the end however, Morwell found the majors they needed, and were helped mostly by the efforts of Brandon McAuliffe, Aidan Quigley, Archie Grant, Sam Walsh, Jackson Burr and Brandon Bailey.

Tigers playing-coach Boyd Bailey is currently confined to being just a coach, while others missing in action are Josh Galea and Ryan Hearn.

While the situation may allow Bailey (now into his second year) to develop as a coach, he would surely prefer to be out on the field.

For a young team like Morwell, to have a coach practicing what they preach usually leads to greater cohesion within the group.

To play Devil’s Advocate though, if Morwell is only beating Wonthaggi by two goals given the Power’s clear struggles at present … where exactly does that leave the Tigers?

Fergus O’Connor, Josh Schulz, Ethan Dickison, Josh Bates, Jakeb Thomas and Hunter Tiziani were voted best for Wonthaggi.


Warragul 5.9 (39) def by Drouin 7.9 (51)

VICTORY came at a cost for Drouin.

While the Hawks won 7.9 (51) to 5.9 (39) against Warragul at Western Park, there was a number of casualties by the end in the visitors rooms.

The traditional Sunday match drew a reported crowd of more than 1000 people, and saw the Hawks claw back from a goalless first half.

Drouin trailed at every change, but led when it mattered most, kicking seven goals to one after the main break to win by 12 points.

In what turned out to be the proverbial game of two halves, Warragul looked relatively home and hosed at halftime after registering 4.4 (28) to just five behinds.

However, the Guls were to add just 1.5 (11) from thereon, to virtually gift the four points to their biggest rival.

Drouin’s win was made all the more meritorious by the fact playing assistant, and arguably best player, Ed Morris, came off in the third quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return.

Morris was the first of four suspected injuries for the Hawks. Will Papley suffered a huge hit minutes before the end of the game, while teammates Joe Collins and Mitch Cotter collided literally on the final siren.

The pair ran full tilt from opposite directions, and clashed on the Hawks’ half forward flank in a manic dash for the ball.

A collected gasp was heard around the ground, as Collins and Cotter laid on the turf in the arms of trainers from both clubs.

The pair were surrounded by their Drouin teammates, whose emotions quickly went from euphoria to concern on the final siren once they realised two troops were off their feet.

Those familiar with the clash between Melbourne’s Frank Adams and Collingwood’s Des Healey in the 1955 Grand Final may get a sense of just how sickening the incident was.

Healey won the Copeland Trophy as the Magpies best player that season – but never played league football again, saying he couldn’t stand a similar blow.

Adams meanwhile played what was described as the “shortest Grand Final ever”, after sprinting onto the ground as a reserve, only to get knocked out less than 10 seconds later.

Collins and Cotter will likely have to spend the next 21 days on the sidelines as per new concussion protocol.

The Hawks have Morwell this week, who will surely be monitoring the opposition team selection.


Maffra 1.4 (10) def by Leongatha 16.16 (112)

AS Nathan Buckley said when he received his first handball from Mason Cox – “we have some work to do.”

A developing Maffra realised just how far they have to go before they start competing with the best in the business, losing to Leongatha by more than 100 points.

The Eagles didn’t kick a goal until the last quarter at home, on their way to a 16.16 (112) to 1.4 (10) hiding.

In what are becoming unwanted records in the last two seasons, Maffra entered another in the lowest score category at the weekend. Their 1.4 (10) was the equal second-lowest in Gippsland League history for a Round 3 game, just ‘beating’ their own record of 1.2 (8) registered against Morwell in 1960.

Given grounds back then were generally quagmires, for the Eagles to have only five scoring shots during a match played in 21st century April only served to demonstrate the sheer gulf between the two sides.

Maffra had two kids who played in the thirds last year named best on at the weekend.

Leongatha had Luke Bowman play in the reserves – the same Luke Bowman who played as a starting midfielder in a senior premiership for the Parrots last year.

While most teams appear to be thin at the moment in terms of playing stocks – the absolute opposite applies for Leongatha.

Only three rounds in, and it is already looming as a case of Leongatha then daylight.

Tallin Brill kicked six goals in the win, and was backed-up by familiar faces Tom Marriott, Sam Forrester and Cade Maskell, along with Jake van der Plight and Jack Hume.

Tom Scott and Jett Killoran battled on for Maffra, as did Henry Anderson, Danny Butcher, Zac Felsbourg and Ashton Wright.

Just how long this rebuild takes for Maffra remains to be seen, although now might be as good a time as ever to go through a list turnover given the general compatibility of most teams (Leongatha aside).

With a large part of Leongatha’s recent success due to their ability to entice the best players from neighbouring minor league clubs, the Eagles may look to do the same.

Really, as a recruiter, your job for this season is already over, so there is merit in looking to 2025 even this far out.

There’s some pretty good young players currently running around just down the road from Maffra in Heyfield.

If the Kangaroos happen to snag the North Gippy flag this year, there might just be some players interested in a new challenge.


TRARALGON and Bairnsdale had the bye, having played each other in a standalone fixture to open the season over Easter.