ALL three Latrobe Valley-based teams secured wins in Round 7 of the Gippsland League.

Traralgon however were the only ones to do so convincingly, pummelling Drouin by the best part of 10 goals, while Morwell and Moe were forced to dig deep against Warragul and Maffra respectively.

The Tigers hit the lead late in their game to win by two points against Warragul, while the Lions had to hold theirs to get through by eight over Maffra.

The final siren would have undoubtedly been met with a huge sigh of relief from Morwell and Moe players, as there likely would have been hell to pay (bulk 400s maybe) had they dropped those games.

The Valley trio are now two, three and fourth on the ladder, all equal on 20 points. Moe leads with the highest percentage, although Morwell has rolled ladder-leaders Leongatha.


Morwell 9.6 (60) def Warragul 8.10 (58)

TO borrow from the great Dennis Cometti: “There is no justice in football.”

That at least was the look on the face of Warragul defender Sean Masterson.

Masterson, minding Morwell forward Brandon McDonald and with his side up by four points late in the final term at Morwell Recreation Reserve, could do nothing to stop a scrambled kick from a boundary thrown in that landed in the arms of the Tigers sharp-shooter.

Having already kicked four goals for the afternoon, McDonald’s fifth from virtually straight in front handed Morwell back the lead.

His goal came as the clock read 28.50.

When the final siren sounded at 31.40, the Tigers had won 9.6 (60) to 8.10 (58).

The home side survived a number of nervy moments, and brain fades during a frenetic final term, as possibly the most humble of all trades came into play.

Those who think the role of a goal umpire is to simply stand and signal might want to reconsider after what happened during the last quarter at Morwell.

With the Guls trailing by just three points as the clock ticked into red time, a goal-line scramble at the Princes Highway end led to an appeal for a goal from the visitors.

Morwell players were not convinced, and pleaded their case as the central umpire came in to confer. Tiger’s midfielder Brandon Bailey immediately made the ‘touched’ signal, while Mackenzie Blewett pointed to his shin.

The goal umpire awarded a behind, giving Morwell a brief let off.

It is said history doesn’t so much repeat as it does rhyme, and a little more than five minutes later, there was another Warragul scoring attempt under review.

The build-up saw the ball move from one end of the ground to the other.

Levi Moore, in acres of space along the grandstand wing, sent a long ball forward, and then Tom Crole snapped the ball through from a standing start. Or so he thought.

Morwell defenders pointed at the goal post, believing the ball had sailed over, yet soon fell to their knees as the goal umpire signalled all clear.

With that possible square-up coming, the Guls appeared to have the momentum required to see the game out.

Both teams still played to win, with the margin at four points Warragul’s way with around five minutes to go.

As the clock ticked closer to the half-hour mark, a stoppage in front of the Morwell clubrooms proved to be match-defining.

From the boundary throw in, Morwell vice captain Zac Anderson willed his boot to the ball, getting enough purchase on it to not only make its way through traffic, but to find the chest of McDonald.

McDonald goaled, and from there, the Tigers were able to kill enough time to see themselves to their fifth successive win.

On a day when strange things seemed to happen, a falcon proved just as effective as a smother late in the game, after the ball was booted forward by Warragul on the edge of 50 only to be intercepted by a Morwell noggin.

McDonald’s five goals saw him among the best, along with Aidan Quigley, Anderson, Max Linton, Tyler Hillier and Charlie Burr.

Morwell appeared to have the game under some control for most of the time, leading by 16 points, eight points and 10 points at each of the breaks.

Warragul however kept pressing, and ended up kicking as many goals in the last term as they had in the previous three.

The Guls cheer squad also kept the crowd entertained, with music following each goal.

A very eclectic playlist saw Rhianna’s Don’t Stop the Music and the crowd favourite Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond featured.

Jack Lewsey was best for Warragul, and received good support from Lane Ward, Isaac Wallace, Moore, Mitchell Smart and Kai MacLean.

Granted Morwell are admittedly a young side who are going to be in and out of games, this performance does beg the question – did the Tigers play out of their skin against Leongatha?


Maffra 12.8 (80) def by Moe 14.4 (88)

IF there was ever a Gippsland League version of On the Couch, this writer would pose this as his ‘Big Question’: Do Maffra actually have the best list in the Gippsland League?

Before people point to the fact the Eagles are winless and last on the senior ladder, consider a football club list in a whole-club approach.

Maffra’s reserves are second on the ladder with a percentage topping 200, their thirds are equal-first coming off a premiership, and their fourths are third, also coming off a flag.

The senior team, made up almost entirely of locals and graduating juniors, have lost their last three games by less than 10 points.

Take out the 102 point loss to Leongatha in Round 3, and the Eagles’ percentage would be 72.98.

Luke Dyer, arguably the best player to play in the East Gippsland Football-Netball League this century (five league medals), can’t even get a game in the Maffra senior side at the moment.

If you were to term best by how healthy a list looks now and for the future, the Eagles certainly appear to tick more boxes than most clubs.

If last Saturday against Moe was any indication, they certainly have no issue running games out either.

Maffra finished full of running for the third successive week, yet ran out of time yet again, going down to the Lions 14.4 (88) to 12.8 (80).

The visiting Lions jumped out of the blocks with seven goals to three in the opening term, as the match appeared to be going largely to script.

The Eagles were only saved somewhat by a late goal to Caleb Calwyn, taking the quarter time deficit to 24 points instead of 30.

While Moe had just about the ideal start, there are some players who can turn a match in an instant.

Maffra captain Daniel Bedggood lit up the second term, kicking three goals to see his side go into the main break only three points behind.

The dreadlocked dynamo showcased his full bag of tricks, kicking a snap, banana and set shot to see Maffra slowly but surely work their way back into contention.

Moe only managed one goal for the term, and subsequently, were kept in the rooms for the halftime break for what seemed a lot longer than usual.

The teams traded blows during the third, although Moe was able to snatch two late goals from Harry Pepper and defender-come-forward Brock Smith to give itself some breathing space.

With the margin only 15 points at three quarter time, an upset was well and truly on the cards.

Maffra could sense their first win of the season, and with the calming voice of coach Anthony Robbins reassuring his troops “you are right there”, the stage was set for an epic finish.

Moe had the perfect start to the final term, with skipper Jacob Wood snapping a goal just two minutes in, however, his opposite number in Bedggood responded just a short time later.

In a game that saw a lot of ‘end-to-end’ play, the Lions hit back through Harri Sim, before another response from Maffra saw Seth Smith keep the game interesting.

The telling moment however came at the 16 minute mark, when Moe defender Luke Mulqueen won a crucial one-on-one against Bedggood on the Eagles half-forward line.

Bedggood conceded his predicament in that moment, letting out an exclaimed “ahh” as Mulqueen got enough separation with ball in hand.

The result from that play saw the ball travel high inside 50, where Pepper worked his opponent under the ball and ran in to take the Lions lead to 22 points.

Mulqueen’s teammates were appreciative of the effort, quickly sending him words of encouragement.

With the game appearing wrapped up, there were a few more twists to come.

A goal to Maffra’s Kade Renooy, back from a three week suspension, at the 23 minute mark kept things alive, and suddenly, momentum appeared to be shifting back to the way of the home side.

By now Moe looked to be trying to save the game, and very nearly fell victim to that cliché.

A huge pack mark from Calwyn but no score gave the Lions a let off, as did a golden fist from playing-coach Declan Keilty (who else) deep inside 50 that saw the ball thunder into the advertising fencing.

A late goal to Smith made the margin eight points at the 28 minute mark.

With nothing to lose, Maffra sent an extra number forward, however, the siren sounded just seconds after the ball was thrown up back in the centre.

Danny Butcher was voted best for the Eagles, followed by Zach Felsbourg, Harry Stables, Alex Carr, Henry Anderson and Ashton Wright, who took some neat marks in defence.

Youngster Callum Nash played his best game in senior colours for Moe, as did fellow first-year player James Maslen.

Sim continued his strong form, getting through a tight and at times bizarre tussle with Maffra midfielder Ed Carr, who at one stage figured the best way to break a shepherd was to start wrestling.

Key forwards Nick Prowse and Harry Pepper kicked eight goals between them, with the latter nabbing six, while Trent Baldi got in the best and on the scoresheet with a nice snap in the second.


Drouin 9.10 (64) def by Traralgon 18.12 (120)

TRARALGON wiped Drouin off the park.

The Maroons extended their lead at each break, on their way to a win by the tune of 56 points, 18.12 (120) to 9.10 (64).

Travelling to Drouin, the visitors opened the floodgates with a six-goal first term, and although the Hawks remained in touching distance at halftime, faded badly once teams retook their positions.

Traralgon busted the game right open with seven goals to three in the second half, on their way to their fifth win of the season.

Midfielder Chance Doultree kicked five goals in a fine performance, while Dylan Loprese and Kade Ruyters each nabbed two.

Luis D’Angelo was productive, as was Tye Hourigan, Connor Ambler, Lucas Tripodi and Connor Scandrett.

Will Papley, Kye Quirk, Mitch Cotter, Arli Fleming, Ed Morris and Caleb Quirk battled hard for the Hawks.

There are now perhaps some worrying signs for Drouin, who after starting the season with promise, have lost their last four games, the last two by significant margins.


Leongatha 10.13 (73) def Sale 7.6 (48)

LEONGATHA celebrated a history-making day with a win in Round 7 of the Gippsland League.

The Parrots led at every change against Sale, winning 10.13 (73) to 7.6 (48) to cap off a perfect day for veteran defender Sean Westaway.

Westaway played senior game number 236 in the green and gold, going past the club record set by Peter Helms.

Fittingly, the four-time premiership winner was able to bring up the milestone on his home ground, given a guard of honour by both teams, and chaired off by long time teammates Ben Willis and Tom Marriott.

Westaway was among his side’s best players, after helping to keep the Magpies goalless either side of halftime.

Sale managed only three behinds in the second and third term, before finishing with four goals in the last quarter.

By then however, Leongatha had parked the bus, and with a 43 point lead at three quarter time, ran out the final term with some smart management.

Marriott was also named in the best, along with Jackson Harry, Travis Nash, Jake van der Plight and Cooper Alger.

Best for Sale were Shannen Lange, Nathan Whitford, Hudson Holmes, Derek Eggmolesse-Smith, Patrick Tainsh and youngster Kai McDonald.

The Magpies were without playing-coach Jack Johnstone, who was serving the first of a three-week suspension for a spoiling attempt against Traralgon that led to Josh Hamilton being concussed.

Johnstone lost his appeal to have the ban overturned by the AFL Victoria Appeals Panel last Wednesday night, although it is understood Sale had some of their lodgement fee refunded, which is highly unusual.

For a club as successful as Leongatha, is it odd that the senior games record is less than 250?


Bairnsdale 12.11 (83) def Wonthaggi 6.12 (48)

BAIRNSDALE entered the top five.

The Redlegs were too good for Wonthaggi, beating them 12.11 (83) to 6.12 (48).

The Power did not pack their kicking boots for the longest trip in Country Victoria, registering a staggering 2.10 (22) in the first half.

Bairnsdale meanwhile converted around 50 per cent, and with Brayden McCarrey kicking four goals, were able to record a 35 point victory.

Lachlan Byrne-Jones was best for the winners, followed by Randall Stewart, Will Mitchell, Logan Austin and man mountain Ethan East.

Wonthaggi had Ryan Sparkes back available at the weekend, but were without the Blair brothers, Jarryd and Jack, the latter serving a two-week ban for striking Maffra’s Ed Carr last round.

Sparkes was named in the best for the Power, as was Isaac Chugg, Shannon Bray, Jye Gilmour (possibly the most improved player in the comp), Josh Bates and Fergus O’Connor.