Drouin ended an 18-game losing streak against Traralgon and gave its 2019 Gippsland League season the perfect shot in the arm with a 10-16 to 8-13 win at Drouin on Saturday.
In a terrific, fast and hard-fought contest that had a big crowd in strong voice from whoa to go – and especially in the last quarter – the Hawks scored a well-deserved victory, a great follow up to the three successive wins to finish off last year.
It had been a game of fluctuating control, Drouin a bit better but not able to really break the contest open.
Traralgon got the first goal but Drouin, with a slight aid from the breeze at the Victoria St end, did most of the attacking.
It kicked four behinds before opening its goal scoring through newcomer Bailey Beck marking a kick in.
Then it was three goals in a row to the Maroons but Drouin pegged the gap back to three points – 4-1 to 3-4 – at quarter time on the back of two fine conversions from marks by Ryan Taylor, returning after missing all but three or four games last year.
Rhys Salter put the Hawks in front soon after the start of the second term but scoring was tough for both teams for the rest of the quarter.
Drouin managed to be in front – 5-6 to 5-4 – at the half time siren after a late goal to the brilliant Eddie Morris.
The third quarter was the one where Drouin could have put the result beyond question, but didn’t.
Traralgon’s first foray into its forward 50-metre area did not come until the 25th minute – for a goal – after Drouin had dominated play but managed only five behinds in 18 minutes before goals to Salter, Todd Beck and Bob McCallum opened an important 8-11 to 6-5 lead.
Traralgon, aided by the breeze, started quickly reducing the margin by eight points.
Salter’s third goal for the game steadied Drouin’s ship briefly while Traralgon, with the better of the play, missed some good chances to get closer or even hit the front.
Drouin re-grouped and won back control but couldn’t settle the issue.
Five Drouin behinds, including four shots that hit the goal posts, had supporters of both sides on edge.
A Cody Wilson goal put the Maroons within nine points at the 24-minute mark and still in with a chance of snatching victory.
Drouin dug deep – relentless, fearless and selfless – although not “home” until a free kick and 50-metre penalty to Eddie Morris got the goal that closed out the game.
A minute later the siren blasted.
FANS didn’t have to wait long for a grand final replay between two of the gladiatorial teams of the past decade, Leongatha and Maffra, and they would have seen glimpses from the great contests of the past.
It was a doubly tough pill to swallow for Maffra, having to journey to Parrot Park for the first round of the Gippsland League and seeing two flags raised, both at their expense in September last year.
With reportedly 17 players missing from the Parrots senior training squad, it wasn’t a surprise to see Maffra gaining some revenge and overpowering the Leongatha Reserves but the Parrots Senior gave a very good account of themselves, albeit without the likes of Tom Marriott (shoulder), Haydn Brown (leg), Luke Bowman, Harrison McGannon, Nick Nagle, Cam Olden, Cam Stone and others. But their replacements performed well; Travis Nash lively all day, Justin Pellicano making his presence felt in the ruck and up forward, Brodie Easton also lively and Aaron Hillberg understandably a bit rusty after a year on the sidelines.
Josh Schelling with what turned out to be an absorbing battle against the dangerous Daniel Bedggood followed his opponent forward before kicking the first goal of the season from 40 metres and when James Lloyd followed up soon after, the Parrots were off to a lively start with the aid of the breeze to the ‘Chook Sheds’ end of the ground.
Cade Maskell continued on from where he left off last year firing in a long-shot from 50 for the Parrots’ third but it was also his ability to get back and be the extra man in defence when Maffra started to get on a roll in the second quarter that would have been noticed by supporters. Justin Pellicano also started well; Hopkins, Chris Verboon at half back or full back, Sam For rester on a wing or on the ball, Kyle Cooper off half back, Schells and Matt Borschman they all contributed to a 3-0 opening term. The Parrots’ backmen assembled to talk tactics at the start of the second quarter and they looked a strong unit; Schelling, Hume, Forrester, Verboon, Westaway and Kelly. On the ball, Kyle Cooper had his hands full with Danny Butcher while Hopkins and Borschman were up against Ed and Alex Carr. It was here that Kieran Jones started to get the better of Pellicano and with Butcher on the move, they kicked a run of three goals via Jack Johnstone and one to Andrew Petrou but they could easily have had a few more. It was game on. Stopping the rot down the pool end though was Jack Ginnane who produced a leg break delivery that dribbled through for a major and Leongatha was able to regain control, taking a 17 point lead to the half time break. In reality they were outplayed by Maffra in the second half but managed to keep them at bay to go on to a two -goal win. With players out, it was a good result but no one is under any illusions that Maffra will not be going away anytime soon. Final scores Leongatha 10.11 .71 def Maffra 9.5.59.South Gippsland Sentinel Times
Moe opened their season 2019 account as expected with a strong performance over Morwell at Morwell Recreation Reserve, 14.17 (101) to 8.7 (55).
The Lions increased their lead at each quarter from two goals up at the first break to three goals at half time and more than five goals at three quarter time before kicking on to win by 46 points.
Moe had multiple goalkickers in Darnell Grech and Spencer White who scored three each, Scott Van Dyk, Bryce Collings and Ashleigh Dugan with two apiece and singles to Bernard Vince and Thomas Fleming.
Dugan, White and Grech featured as best afield with Joel Bragagnolo, Thomas Long and Lachlan Macleod.
For Morwell Joshua Hecker, Daniel Siddle and Zachary Anderson kicked two goals each with singles to Burkeley MacFarlane and Kuiy Jiath.
Hecker, James Jacobsen, Ryan Hearn, Ryan Tatterson, Nathan Noblett and Jiath were named as Morwell's best.Latrobe Valley Express
SALE scraped home with a three-point win over Bairnsdale during the first round of Gippsland League football.
The Magpies won 16.16 (102) to 15.9 (99) in a high standard match, with both teams showcasing their pace and skill to good affect in front of a sizable crowd at Sale Oval.
The Redlegs, having won their reserves match, were looking to make it two open-age wins in the one day for the first time since rejoining the Gippsland League in 2010.
Scores were tied on 3.2 apiece at quarter-time, until Bairnsdale played better football in the second term, kicking six goals to four, to take the lead at half-time.
A Jack McLindin tackle and goal on the stroke of the half-time siren gave the Magpies some momentum heading into the main break.
Sale clawed its way back to be just three points down at the final break, as midfielders Kane Martin and recruit Tom Hams began to get on top in the midfield battle.
As the final siren drew closer and with Sale holding a narrow lead, it was Martin's class which gave the Magpies some breathing space, as the left-footer kicked a telling goal in red time to stretch Sale's lead out to 10 points.
A responding goal and scrappy behind from Bairnsdale brought the deficit back to three points, but the sounding of the final siren soon after denied the Redlegs a chance to go forward again.
Sale shared the workload with 11 players kicking majors. Jarrod Freeman kicked three, while Mitchell Dowse, Jack McLindin and Kane Martin added two each.
Brayden McCarrey opened his season account with five goals for Bairnsdale, followed by Ethan East with four.
Dylan Somerville and Brayden Radford were named the Redlegs' best.Kevin Hogan - Gippsland Times
WONTHAGGI Power opened its season with a bang, running over Warragul by 39 points. Although Power was missing five strong contenders from its side, it was looking forward to giving its young players a good run out on the field, including 16 year olds Josh Schulz and Kye Benson.
Benson was making his debut on the Senior side.
Power went into the match looking to be competitive and certainly delivered. Warragul kicked with the wind advantage in the first quarter but unable to capitalise. Wonthaggi set up a strong defence with Jordan Staley putting the pressure on in centre half back, backed by Tom Murray.
Timothy Knowles used the ball well and set up outstanding connections in the midfield to move the ball away from the back line. Power managed to kick two goals against the wind to be leading at quarter time. By the second quarter, Power had adjusted to match and was ready to pull away. Adding five goals to the scoreboard, Patrick Ryan was instrumental in providing Power with a comfortable lead going into the long break.
Mitch Betson and Toma Huther played well in the ruck, winning most of the clearances on the day. This fed the ball to captain Aiden Lindsay and Ben Eddy, who worked the ball through middle and found passages into the forward line.
The second half was a similar affair. Power kicked three against the wind in the third term. Betson contributed to the tally with three goals. Power began to slow by the fourth quarter, but the work had well and truly been done, resulting in a convincing win. The final score was Power 12.9 .81 to Warragul 5.12 .42 .The Great Southern Star
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Morwell v Moe match review published by Latrobe Valley Express. To view original article in full online click here.
Sale v Bairnsdale match review written by Kevin Hogan reporting for Gippsland Times. To view original article in full online click here.
Drouin v Traralgon match review published by Warragul & Drouin Gazette. To view original article in full online subscribe to Warragul and Drouin Gazette here.
Leongatha v Maffra match review published by South Gippsland Sentinel Times. To view original article in full online subscribe to SGST here.
Wonthaggi v Warragul match review published by The Great Southern Star. To view original article in full online subscribe to TGSS here.