FROM a Latrobe Valley perspective, results in Round 5 of the Gippsland League were sure to please the ‘everyone wins a medal’ ideology of modern society.

Traralgon, Morwell and Moe all recorded victories, and now make up half of the top six teams on the ladder as the competition reaches the completion of the first third.


Maffra 6.17 (53) def by Morwell 8.14 (62)

MORWELL breathed a big sigh of relief after their game.

The Tigers narrowly avoided giving Maffra their first win of the season, getting up 8.14 (62) to 6.17 (53) on the road.

In a game described as entertaining despite the inaccuracy on display, Morwell staved off a second half onslaught from the Eagles to win by nine points.

It appeared how far Morwell when the Tigers had five goals to one on the board at the main break, however, Maffra was able to claw their way back into the contest.

The Eagles certainly had their chances to win as well.

The home side flipped the script in the second half, getting their running game going, all the while forcing Morwell to take a slow and timid approach.

Only three goals separated the sides at the last change, and for most of the final term, the Tigers’ defence was well and truly under siege.

Some timely marks from Max Linton stemmed the flow, however, there was only so much the back six could do as the ball was continuously getting pumped inside 50.

Maffra came hard, and a goal to John Butcher grabbing the ball out of the ruck at the 10 minute mark reduced the margin to 12 points.

Morwell players were convinced the ball was touched, but appealed unsuccessfully, while a short time later, a disbelieving Burkeley Macfarlane had a holding the ball decision reversed to high contact by two different umpires both in very close proximity to each other.

Broadcasting the game for radio station TRFM, commentator Rob Popplestone quipped Morwell had endured the “short end of the stick on a couple of occasions”.

A long range effort from Brodie Tohara breaking clear from stoppage made it just one goal the difference, before Butcher again found himself with a scoring opportunity at the 15 minute mark after accepting a pass from Alex Carr on a slight angle on the netball court side.

Taking his time, the former Port Adelaide forward sent a trademark wobbly punt on its way, but it hit the post halfway up.

By this stage, Morwell had not scored a goal since the five minute mark of the third quarter, and when their leading forward Brandon McDonald was met front on by Maffra hard nut Danny Butcher as the clock neared red time, the Tigers’ avenue to goal became seemingly harder.

Morwell had a square up, with a decision reversed in their favour at the 18 minute mark, which was crucial as Maffra captain Daniel Bedggood had just taken a mark on centre wing.

The resultant play saw the Tigers take the ball forward, where playing-coach Boyd Bailey found himself with space inside 50.

His kick went wide of the goal face, but an ever-alert McDonald had the presence of mind to take a sliding mark before it went out of bounds.

Having just been met by the Butcher freight train, McDonald showed tremendous composure to snap a clutch goal on his wrong side (left foot) to give Morwell breathing space by way of 11 points.

The Tigers lived life on the edge from there as the Eagles threw every punch they could, but the visitors were able to force enough stoppages to kill crucial seconds off the clock, which eventually sounded inside 27 minutes.

Zac Anderson and Boyd Bailey were named best-on for the winners. The latter displayed the very essence of a coach leading by example, going back with the flight to take a courageous mark in the frantic final few minutes of the game.

Tyler Brown was also industrious, as was captain Aidan Quigley and Tom Gray, while McDonald kicked three goals and had some important touches not necessarily recorded by way of marks, kicks or handballs. On one occasion he knocked the ball forward 20 metres to give Morwell a stoppage to allow them to reset.

The Tigers had a debutant in Ethan Smith, promoted after a number of good weeks in the early game. Smith repaid the faith by kicking what ended up being a crucial goal given how the game played out.

Maffra was well-served by Ashton Wright, James Read, Alex Carr, Lachlan Allman, Jonathan Boyd and Jett Killoran.


Moe 12.7 (79) def Bairnsdale 11.7 (73)

THE importance of being able to kick on your left foot was never more evident than in the game between Moe and Bairnsdale.

The last three goals of the match were slotted by players using the superior foot, the last of which saw Moe cling on to win by one solid goal, 12.7 (79) to 11.7 (73).

A high-scoring opening term saw nine goals kicked, much to the credit of those involved as the start of the match was played out with a tricky south-westerly breeze blowing across Ted Summerton Reserve.

Things tightened up from there, so much so the visiting Redlegs only managed one behind for the second term. Moe held some ascendancy during the third, and went into the last change with a handy 11-point lead in the context of the game.

The Lions kicked three goals in the last quarter, but had to dig deep to find them. So deep in fact, two didn’t come until well into red time, and after Bairnsale had hit the front.

A squaring ball from Tom Blenheim found Jonah Walker, who juggled a contested mark 16 minutes into the last. The set shot, from 40 metres out straight in front at the scoreboard end was true, and saw the visitors ahead by one point.

Blenheim found himself with the ball a short time later beyond 50, and decided to wheel and go for glory. His shot bounced through for a point, giving Moe a short reprieve.

The Lions had to counterattack, and found a steadying play when defender James Maslen took an uncontested mark following a rushed kick from Matt Corbett heading inside 50.

Maslen found Harri Sim, who in turn found Liam Weir on the far wing to the clubroom side.

Weir got the ball back off captain Jacob Wood following a mark, whose pass was taken by key forward Nick Prowse at the 19 minute mark.

Prowse’s shot went wide, but no less than a minute-and-a-half later, Sim got the ball from a stoppage inside 50, and showcasing expert vision, handed it off to Balfour who slotted a goal on his left from close range to hand Moe back the lead.

Bairnsdale did not let up however, and responded not long after in similar circumstances. It was that man Blenheim again, who barged his way through a stoppage at the top of the square and found enough space to mongrel the ball through on his left peg to give the Redlegs one-point lead once again.

From the next centre bounce, Moe was able to force the ball forward, and kept doing so right to the goal line.

A shot from Balfour, (this time on his right) looked on target in the Can Bar pocket, but the ball dropped literally on top of the pack of players formed in the goal square.

That the ball actually stayed in play was a minor miracle, but opportunistic forward Harry Pepper was awake to the situation, snapping the ball through after it had come to ground for his fourth of the afternoon.

With a five-point lead, Moe survived a few nervy moments, especially after a mark to resident Bairnsdale ‘big boy’ Ethan East at centre half forward could have resulted in a dangerous entry.

The Lions however took enough minutes off the clock. Pepper at one stage signalled to the bench while pointing to his wrist, meaning all players were surely well aware of just how much time was left.

The last quarter ended up going for 31 minutes, and it was again Sim and Balfour who combined to see Moe inside 50 late, after the former found the latter in space, again in front of the Can Bar.

Balfour kicked a behind after the siren to make the margin an equal one goal.

Moe playing-coach Declan Keilty was again a colossus down back, and had Luke Mulqueen for company. Prowse kicked three goals, while leaders Sim and Baldi were prominent.

Winger Bryce Collings also rated a mention, after reportedly covering 16km during the game.

The win made it 10 years of victories for Moe against Bairnsdale at home, although the Redlegs again showed genuine signs they will be a big improver this season, as predicted by yours truly.

Bairnsdale has three wins from five games, and has now pushed finals fancies Traralgon and Moe in their two losses. Teams travelling down to Bairnsdale will need to be aware the Redlegs will present a different beast in their own backyard.

Will Mitchell, Kieran Vickery, East, Randall Stewart, Blenheim and Cooper Harvey were their best last Saturday.


Traralgon 10.9 (69) def Wonthaggi 6.6 (42)

TRARALGON made it three wins in a row.

The Maroons overcame a determined Wonthaggi, getting the points in a somewhat dour 10.9 (69) to 6.6 (42) encounter.

Amazingly, last Saturday was Traralgon’s first day game at Terry Hunter Oval for the season.

The Maroons may have taken time to adjust to the red four piece, as they kicked as many goals in the last quarter as they had in the preceding three.

The five goals that did come in the final term allowed the home side to break away and eventually win by 27 points, making for the obligatory Gatorade shower for debutant Alex Lovison.

Up until then however it had been an arm wrestle, with just 10, five and seven points separating the sides at each break.

Traralgon was the superior team in the second half all things considered, evidenced by a seven goal to two showing.

Josh Hamilton kicked three goals and was among the best for the winners, as was Luis D’Angelo, Joel Scholtes, Conor Little, Chance Doultree and Jacob Van Iwaarden.

The Maroons were also able to get another game into VFL listed player Tristen Waack, meaning he now only has to feature twice more to qualify for finals.

Wonthaggi, who started the season with three straight losses coming off the back of a Grand Final appearance last year, might slowly be starting to come good.

Despite a current win-loss record of 1-4, the Power have welcomed back a few handy players the last few weeks, and beaten a Sale side that carries arguably the strongest top six players in the competition.

Tim Knowles played his first game at the weekend, and playing-coach Jarryd Blair has now strung three games together, while Tom Davey is at least one player still to come back in.

Fergus O’Connor, Jack Blair, Jye Gilmour, Aiden Lindsay, Josh Bates and Josh Schulz were named in the best.

Who was the nuffy that said Traralgon would finish eighth?


Drouin 10.10 (70) def by Sale 14.11 (95)

SALE recorded a much-needed win in Round 5 of the Gippsland League.

The Magpies made the trip to Drouin, and returned with all they wanted – a win, no matter how ugly.

The match was every bit a danger game for Sale, who entered with two consecutive losses under their belt, against an opposition that is traditionally very hard to beat at home.

Drouin showed exactly that in the first half, as both teams went into the sheds with six goals on the board, separated by only three points.

Sale put the foot down in the third, adding nearly as many goals as they had in the whole first half.

Having established a 20-point lead at three quarter time, the match had the makings of one that could go down one of three paths: Drouin rallies at home, Sale kick away, or nothing much changes.

With two of those options working to the benefit of the visitors, they were given the last one, and led by virtually the same amount at fulltime as they had 30 minutes earlier.

Goals were shared by the winners, with Will Leslie kicking four, Tom Campbell three, and Bohdi Walker three.

Walker, Will Leslie and Jack Leslie were listed in the best. Hudson Holmes and Shannen Lange also played well, as did Derek Eggmolesse-Smith.

As football has a way of keeping you grounded, that connotation might have been seen in Eggmolesse-Smith. Just three years ago he was playing on the MCG, last Saturday he was having a kick on good old Drouin Rec Reserve.

Drouin’s best were Kye Quirk, Will Papley, Aden Quirk, Ed Morris, Kaleb Hermansen and Jacob Sandman.


Leongatha 14.8 (92) def Warragul 4.7 (31)

THE match between Leongatha and Warragul went largely as expected.

The only small surprise to come out of the Parrots’ victory was the winning margin, which sat at 61 points when the final scoreboard read 14.8 (92) to 4.7 (31).

Leongatha’s win maintained their unbeaten record in 2024, and on current form, it is hard to see them losing a game before the halfway mark of the season.

Usual suspects Cade Maskell, Tom Marriott and Ben Willis were best, along with Aaron Turton, Jake van der Plight and Nick Argento.

Jack Lewsey, Tom Hobbs, Chris Raso, Isaac Wallace, Mitch Smart and Levi Moore did a good job for Warragul.

Former Warragul player Cooer Alger came up against his old team, which arguably drew more attention than the actual game itself.

As much as the Parrots’ recent premiership success is commendable, one does have to wonder just how level the playing field has been considering what has happened in the last few seasons.

One could argue Leongatha’s success has been somewhat surrounded by a ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ approach.

Warragul especially would have every right to feel aggrieved, as they have lost Alger, Kim Drew and Noah Gown all to the Parrots, the last two names being vital cogs in Leongatha’s 2023 premiership.