LEONGATHA managed to cover the absence of six key players to forge a solid win over Traralgon by 37 points on Saturday.
The match was tight for three and a half quarters before the Parrots went away with the game in cold and slippery conditions at the aviary.
The Parrots were pushed all the way and the end difference was not reflective of the match as a whole. There wasn’t more than a couple of kicks between the two sides all day and when Traralgon goaled through Riley Loprese early in the last there was only two goals in it.
A free and subsequent 50 metre penalty to Josh Hopkins soon after seemed to take the sting out of Traralgon’s charge as the Parrots went on to forge a solid victory.
The Parrots had a lot of key players out; Chris Dunne and Julian Lockwood were up in Darwin to celebrate their selection in the North Territory Thunder team of the decade. Lockwood was named the centre half forward and Chris Dunne at half forward with former Adelaide Crows star Andrew McLeod on the other forward flank.
Pat McGrath is absent for about one month, Luke Bowman was nursing a sore shoulder, Jack Hume was playing with Gippsland Power and Chris Verboon is still nursing an injury.
Getting their chance in the seniors were Blake VanRooye and Harrison McGannon back in as well as Louis Riseley for his first senior game this year with Col Sanbrook also returning.
Some Parrots supporters were a bit nervous with their undermanned team facing a desperate Traralgon but the coaching team was confident in its charges.
Josh Hopkins was playing his 50th game and certainly made his presence felt all day.
The Parrots had the slight advantage kicking towards the pool end and started well with the first goal of the day. After that though it was almost goal for goal with Traralgon finishing the quarter with two goals and it was 3.1 apiece at quarter time. Ben Willis, Sam Forrester and Josh Hopkins scored the first three goals for the Parrots.
Josh Schelling hurt his ankle late in the opening term but stayed on the ground for most of the game.
The Parrot defence stood up well in term two with Traralgon having the favoured end. With Kyle Cooper, Sean Westaway and Josh Schelling leading the way in defence the Parrots restricted Traralgon to two goals while booting three itself. At half time it was Leongatha 6.4 to Traralgon 5.3.
Forrester, who was having a great game on the wing and into the forward line, scored another in term two with Cam Stone and Tom Marriott the other two.
Ben Willis was fairing very well in the ruck as Traralgon tried to shark his tapouts. Willis played another superb game and often showed his versatility by ruck-roving some of his own taps.
Traralgon’s Codie Wilson had a tag on Marriott and it worked pretty well, Marriott not having his usual dominating game.
The greasy conditions meant goals were hard to score because much of the ball was hitting the ground and not collected cleanly. This meant Leongatha could add just two third quarter goals through Riseley and Maskell to Traralgon’s one. Three quarter time saw Leongatha 8.8 to Traralgon’s 6.5.
The game was still there for the taking and there was plenty of end to end footy in the last as the Maroons tried hard to pull in a win.
Traralgon opened the goals in the last with one early after Leongatha had the early play with just several behinds scored. There were only two goals in it, still plenty of time for the Maroons.
Cooper, Westaway and Schelling were still working well in defence for the Parrots.
As the lights came on the Parrots attacked and Josh Hopkins was awarded a free for a push out and 50 metres to put him on the goal line; Parrots three goals up.
Hayden Browne, Jack Ginnane presenting well and Nathan Trotto combined for another Parrot goal to put the match beyond doubt. There were further goals to Josh Hopkins and the busy Cade Maskell to stretch the result even further.
The Parrots effort was pretty even across the whole team with the side able to stand up with so many key players out. James Lloyd, hand, and Josh Schelling, ankle, are the only injury concerns for Leongatha although not deemed serious.
Traralgon’s Jackson Hall did well across half back while Connor Little was excellent on the wing.
Powerhouse Maffra have bounced back from a round 10 loss to Sale and continued their march towards the 2018 post season with a clinical 65-point win over Drouin, 13.11 (89) to 3.6 (24).
Ten players hit the scoreboard with majors for the Eagles, led by league leading goalscorer Mitch Bennett who snared three to take his tally to 43 for the season – two ahead of Leongatha's Chris Dunne. The Hawks managed just three goals in the drubbing – two of which went to Jeb McLeod.
The win is the Eagles' 10th for the season and puts them a game clear of Leongatha.Kate Withers
A two-point win over an in-form Sale side has helped Moe move a game clear in fourth spot on the Gippsland League ladder, 11.8 (74) to 10.12 (72).
Coach James Blaser said the Lions "didn't have a great first quarter" but were able to regroup to secure a critical win over a classy opposition in the run towards finals.
"I was really pleased with way we bounced back and managed to play to the instructions given," Blaser said.
"All 22 players were on the same page for the day, which I think was half the reason we won." In "greasy" conditions at Moe Recreation Reserve, Blaser said the conditions played into the Lions' hands.
"It was a bit of a congested game and when we were able to get the ball on the outside I think we were a bit too quick for them," he said.
Dylan Farrell and Mitch Stanlake "were great" for the Lions, according to Blaser, while Jacob Wood and Tom Long "led from the front".
"It's great to have the senior guys and more experienced guys showing the way," he said.
"We had three under 18 players [on Saturday] and the kids are really starting to find their feet at senior level."
"We're a very young [team] so it's exciting when we have a win like that and can celebrate in front of a home crowd."Kate Withers
Morwell burst out of the blocks in the opening term in round 11 with a seven-goal first term to set up a 74-point win over Bairnsdale, 19.7 (121) to 6.11 (47).
Brandon McDonald bagged six goals to lead the Tigers to their third win of season 2018 and was helped out by Ryan Tatterson, Jack Callaway and Tyler Hillier, who all scored three each.
For the Redlegs, Link Robinson and Ethan East were the only multiple goalscorers with two each while singles went to Tomm Bryan and Russell Cowan.
Despite the loss, Bairnsdale are a game clear of the Tigers in fourth spot.
The Redlegs will travel to take on Drouin in round 12 action this weekend while Morwell will look to carry momentum forward into their clash with defending premiers Leongatha.Kate WIthers
Warragul have recorded win number five for the 2018 season at the expense of Wonthaggi in round 11, 10.13 (73) to 3.5 (23).
The Gulls' backline, commanded by Matt Rennie and James Davidson, limited Wonthaggi to just a single goal to three-quarter-time.
Brayden Fowler and Luke Di Ciero led the way on the score board for Warragul and finished the day with three goals each while Tom Kelly kicked two and Nathaniel Paredes one.
The win puts Warragul just outside the top five, a game off the pace of Traralgon, while Wonthaggi languish in ninth with two wins for the season.Kate Withers
Leongatha v Traralgon match review written by Sarah Vella reporting for The Great Southern Star. To view full original article online visit http://thestar.com.au/blog/parrots-grind-out-solid-win/
All other match reviews written by Kate Withers reporting for Latrobe Valley Express. To view full original article online visit http://www.latrobevalleyexpress.com.au/story/5487956/parrots-outrun-traralgon/?cs=1588
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