GIPPSLAND League football continues to push out surprising results, even as the ladder begins to define itself with a clear favourite and a sprinkle of contenders.

There were close games and those going back and forth in Round 8, particularly in Sale verses Morwell and Wonthaggi verses Drouin.

Leongatha looks unsolvable, whilst Traralgon prepares for a tasking few weeks with a comfortable performance at the weekend.


Warragul 12.6 (78) def Moe 8.12 (60)

IN Warragul, Moe fell short as the Gulls’ found themselves 18-point victors, 12.6 (78) to 8.12 (60), with the young squad still mounting a case for finals contention with their third win on the year.

A disappointing loss for the Lions as they hoped to solidify a top-two place ahead of their Big Freeze clash against Wonthaggi this King’s Birthday long weekend.

Moe found themselves ahead at both breaks heading into halftime with a 3 goals to one start that included two goals from young Jaryn Makepeace and a miraculous check side goal from Tajh Eden creeping inside of the boundary line.

The Lions dominated the stoppage wins and forward half possession in that first quarter with ten scoring shots but inaccuracy caused just a 3.5 (23) to 3 zip (18) quarter time margin.

The pressure and intensity of the contest increased in notches for both sides as it entered the second term which also somehow resulted in a more efficient score each way.

Warragul kicked three of the first four goals of the period including two big ones from Jack Casson to go up by 8 points.

Moe player Riley Baldi was cleaned up front on by Warragul’s Kai MacLean and despite scenes not boiling over on the field, the Lions would remain focussed on a needed four points and withstood the Gulls’ earlier run to lead at halftime.

This included plays from Scott van Dyk, Nick Prowse, and an unbelievable effort from Jacob Wood avoiding another head on collision running forward of the ball to punch the ball over the head of the defender just before he collect him and the ball which led to another Eden goal.

Warragul would burst out of the gate with a 50-metre bomb from Bayley Paul to give them back the lead.

It was a one-sided third quarter in which the Gulls’ laid on 3.1 (19) to just 3 points from the Lions which determined the end result.

In totality, Moe only kicked 1.6 (12) in the second half of this matchup and Warragul capture a huge scalp with 5.5 (35) to conclude.

Warragul had Jack Lewsey with 38 disposals left almost unchecked collecting 26 of them uncontested, Tom Hobbs with 29 touches and 3 goals, Isaac Wallace, Tom Stern, Mitchell Smart, and Sean Masterson.

For Moe, Riley Baldi had 30 disposals, Ben Daniher with 33 touches, Ben Maslen, Jacob Wood, Declan Keilty, and 3 goals from Makepeace.

While at Warragul spectators were treated to the presence of three-time AFL premiership winning Richmond Tiger, Bachar Houli, who was spotted at Western Park.


Sale 18.8 (116) def Morwell 14.9 (93)

SALE continues an impressive start to 2024 with another hard-fought win over Morwell 18.8 (116) to 14.9 (93) in a game of many runs.

What a first quarter it was. The Magpies booted five of the first six goals of the game including two of his eventual six goals from Thomas Campbell, all in just over ten minutes of play.

Despite this start and appearing as if the Tigers’ might see out a loss away from home, they would pounce with a four-goal response to conclude the quarter and bring the margin back to a single point.

After a ten goal opening term, scoring would slow ever so slightly in the second with Sale pushing their lead back out to 12 points with two of the first three goals to start the quarter.

The Tigers continued to gain, however, to lead at halftime by 7 points, although they could have seen that margin balloon more kicking 3.5 (23) to 2.3 (15) for the quarter.

Morwell playing-coach Boyd Bailey would kick the first goal of the second half to extend their lead to 13 points before an immediate reply from the Magpies with the next five goals off the back off win-after-win off the half-back line and through the contest that gave plenty of opportunities for their forwards.

Four of those goals in that run came from Brad Dessent and Thomas Campbell who finished with seven and six goals respectively for the game.

Yet again, the Tigers wouldn’t back down with a goal late in the third quarter and two to open the fourth term (from Cohen Campbell, Tyler Hillier, and Brandon McDonald – the latter two with 3 goals for the match), Morwell had found themselves back in front by two points early on in the dire quarter.

Sale responded with great affect from, once again, Dessent and Campbell mixing it up with powerful leads ending in set shots and in-play pickups.

The Magpies converted on six of the last seven goals to win in the end by 23 points but it didn’t come easy as both sides continue to build sitting inside the top five on the ladder and as both sides have big games ahead of them with Morwell coming up against Traralgon this Sunday afternoon and Sale heading over to Bairnsdale.

Shannen Lange led the charge out of the Magpies midfield with 34 possessions, 14 clearances and a goal, Cody Henness with 28 touches and 10 clearances, Hudson Holmes getting on the scoreboard along with his 22 disposals and 7 tackles, the scoring duo of Dessent and Campbell, and Mitch Dowse.

Morwell featured top performances from Brandon Bailey, Burkeley Macfarlane, Jackson Burr with two goals, Zachary Anderson, Riley Loprese, and Tom Smith with two goals.


Traralgon 16.9 (105) def Maffra 10.12 (72)

TRARALGON move to clear second on the ladder after a cruising 33-point win over bottom-placed Maffra 16.9 (105) to 10.12 (72).

The sizeable lead was secured on no small part due to the first quarter efforts that the Maroons showed kicking 6.3 (39) to 1.4 (10) out of the gate including two of his five goals from Dylan Loprese.

That margin would remain relatively in place through to halftime even with the Eagles clicking more consistently in the second half and even outscoring Traralgon narrowly to conclude, once again, not tarnishing their strange percentage for a 0-8 side.

Dylan Loprese captured best on ground honours getting as many chances as he could get in the forward line as a giant nuisance for the Maffra backline with 24 disposals and five goals, Jordan Cunico with 29 disposals, Luis DÁngelo with 29 touches and a goal, Mitch Membrey, Max Jacobsen, and Liam Willaton.

Alex Carr still stands strong for Maffra with 33 possessions and 11 marks, John Butcher, Zach Felsbourg, Sam Robbins, Caleb Calwyn with 3 goals, and Henry Anderson featured prominently.


Leongatha 14.12 (96) def Bairnsdale 7.4 (46)

THE Parrots continue their onslaught on the competition with a 14.12 (96) to 7.4 (46) victory over the formidable Bairnsdale unit at the weekend.

The back-to-back premiers move to 7-1 on the year with their only blemish coming in Round 6 at Morwell whilst Bairnsdale dip outside of finals placement at 4-4.

The Redlegs conveyed a side that had a point to prove after starting the season impressively at 3-1 (before dipping recently with losses to Warragul and Moe in the last three weeks), they opened proceedings with a bang kicking the first two goals of the game within the first three minutes of action.

The young Bairnsdale unit appeared to be rushing the seasoned Parrots especially with their forward conversion, but perhaps they simply awoke the beast as Leongatha still managed much of the scoring shots for the quarter whilst their opponent didn’t get another one off after their first two majors.

Leongatha continued that trend into the second term managing three shots on goal (all behind however) before Bairnsdale could even get inside their forward 50.

The Redlegs somehow repeated that similarly quick scoring burst from earlier on with another two goals in succession including one from Lachlan Byrne-Jones (brother of Port Adelaide’s Darcy) that caused some fiery scenes in between the ball arriving from behinds the goals back to the centre circle eventually resulting in favour of Leongatha gaining a freekick in the middle.

Much to the same as the end of the opener, the Parrots would look most dangerous the rest of the way and controlled most of possession but still blazed away in front of goal.

Despite such a low scoring half, Leongatha would have had to suspect their mode would sharpen given they still dominated the scoring opportunities 3.8 (26) to Bairnsdale’s 4 goals straight.

That inner assertion would prove correct with the flag favourites parading out of the second half with six goals without response as the Parrots went up as much as 37 points before Bairnsdale weathered the storm ever so slightly to bring it to a four-goal game by ¾ time.

The Redlegs opened the final term with a goal from league-leading goal kicker Brayden McCarrey, his third for the day, to make spectators contemplate a possible comeback for the ages before Leongatha drenched those thoughts within minutes and would end the match kicking the last five goals to win by 50 points.

Jake Ginnane top off a ceremonious evening with the final goal in his 250th game in the green and gold.

For the day, Leongatha would more than double Bairnsdale’s inside 50 count despite losing the possession battle. They just know what to do and when to do it.

The Parrots’ best started with Jackson Harry with his four goals and 17 disposals followed by Aaron Turton in his 100th club game, Tom Marriot with his standard 34 touches and seven clearances, Luke Bowman, Jarrod Stewart, and Darcy Hume.

Bairnsdale had Logan Austin with his 39 disposals, Will Mitchell with 30 touches (15 of which contested), Tyran Rees with 29 possessions, Randall Stewart, Kieran Vickery, and Cooper Harvey.


Wonthaggi 8.13 (61) def Drouin 8.7 (55)

WONTHAGGI got their second win in three weeks in an 8.13 (61) to 8.7 (55) victory over Drouin.

The two bottom four battled it out for each of their third win on the year as the Power held the fort after being down at halftime 5.3 (33) to 4.5 (29) including an 9-point lead for the Hawks with sustained kicking from Kye Quirk, who finished with four goals for the day.

Wonthaggi’s Noah Anderson kick started their run of goals that saw them take the lead into the fourth quarter, 6.9 (45) to 6.5 (41).

In just a one-point game with minutes remaining, Jakeb Thomas tretched out for a massive mark in the Powers’ goal square handballing to Reeve Moresco for just his second major of the season.

Drouin mounted a last stitched effort with Quirk lacing out Edward Morris for a shot on goal forty-metres out on a tight angle on the bench-side boundary line which kept right for a behind.

Wonthaggi holding onto a win means wonders for their season as they make a desperate push for a late finals birth with a big chance against Moe away.

The best for the Power included Jaxon Williams with 20 disposals and two goals, Fergus O’Connor, Noah Anderson, Isaac Chugg, Kaj Patterson, and Aiden Lindsay.

Kye Quirk starred for the Hawks with 37 disposals and four goals along with Aden Quirk recording 30 possessions and 6 clearances, 37 touches and 9 clearances from Mitchell Cotter, Charlie Bethune, William Papley, and Tom Johnstone as key players.