Taking the long trip to Bairnsdale did have the benefit of avoiding the weekend’s wild weather and providing a big win for Wonthaggi Power.
Coming in, Power were missing some big names, with Huther, Knowles, Hayes and Cade Waters out – the remaining team and coach Lee Rowe banded together for four quarters of peak football.
It was a defensive show of talent, with Power’s conviction to follow the coach’s instructions highlighted by fullback Steven Scott. Scott’s marking ability whilst under immense pressure led the way to inspire his team-mates up the field.
Ruckman Jordan Staley played a big role, running out most of the game, he did well without the help of Huther.
The strong wind persisted throughout the day and though to the disapproval of local farmers, there was no rain.
Power’s resilience was on show in the third term as they came in to half time five points down. Going into the wind, the playing group summoned a three-goal two-point offensive haul, to the Redlegs’ mere four points. Capitalising on this was the youngster Noah Anderson who kicked a goal in his first senior appearance.
Power continued to dominate the game over head, with many contested marks falling in their favour it seemed a number of their training principles had come to fruition. The fit side also applied great pressure when they didn’t have the ball. The locals struggled to find room to breathe all day. The final term wasn’t the prettiest, but through continued determination and a few rushed behinds, Power came away with the win. Power’s performance was a shared load, with four multiple goal scorers and a behind the scenes led by captain Aidan Lindsay guiding the way.
The Redlegs finished the contest with two more scoring shots than the Power, however they were somewhat flattered by the result, unable to tackle the wind, turning the ball over time and again in crucial positions, the third quarter proving pivotal as Wonthaggi kicked three goals, two of which stemmed from turnovers.
For Bairnsdale, Link Robinson was outstanding playing as a lead-up half forward. He took numerous marks, laid crunching tackles and was the side’s only multiple goal kicker in a small forward line. Nathan Dennison – who played full forward most of the afternoon – came to life after a quiet first quarter and provided a final quarter spark both in the air and at ground level, as well as applying pressure. Nic Bulmer was a major ball winner all around the ground and Keenan Hynes was important in the back half. Making his senior debut, Tyran Rees got better as the afternoon went on. He played a variety of roles, but was most dangerous at half forward in the final term where he kicked his first senior goal for the Redlegs.South Gippsland Sentinel Times and Bairnsdale Advertiser
It was a hard, relentless slog but Drouin got the job done and with some other results falling in its favour locked in the fifth place in the Gippsland League finals.
The Hawks won 3-8 to 2-3 against one of its challengers for 5th, Morwell, on a Drouin ground that became a muddy, slippery slush after heavy rain on Friday and Saturday.
But Drouin just hung on as Morwell kicked two last quarter goals, both by Nathan Noblett from marks on the end of scrambled kicks forward, a reward for playing in front.
The condition of the ground was unusual, to say the least, for the Tigers that train and play on a first-class surface even when its wet.
Drouin’s scoreboard control, not that it had a big lead at any stage, over the first three-quarters eventually home.
It led 3-7 to 0-2 at three-quarter time.
Understandably there was no flow to the game.
Teams took minutes to force the ball any way they could from one end of the ground to the other.
The Hawks were boosted by the return of star on-baller Eddie Morris, a bit of a surprise so early after what could have been a season ending injury.
He got through okay even though he’d done little onground training over the past five weeks and importantly for Drouin made his mark on the game.
Just his presence on the ground may have been enough to lift some of his team mates.
But the biggest influence on the result was Drouin ruckman Bob McCallum.
His sensible ruck work, punching the saw it ball to defensive spots, around-theground work, marking of the slippery ball, and positioning to cut off Morwell stood out.
David Olsen, also returning from injury, kicked the only goal of the first term using his experience to get ahead of the ball and break in to space and give a target for Will Collins that had beaten two opponents to win possession.
Ten minutes into the second quarter Collins got a goal of his own from a kick off the ground in a goal square scramble.
The Hawks went to the long break leading 2-1 to 0-2.
They also had the better of the third term but didn’t take full advantage - six behinds beside one goal from youngster Fletcher RobertsonEdgar after he chipped in to mark a kick-in.
The lead at that stage – 3-7 to 0-2 looked enough given Morwell hadn’t a goal to its name.
But the Tigers got their first only three minutes into the final term and another at the 18-minute mark.
There was still time left for Morwell but Drouin dug as deep as it could to contest, tackle, crawl, slide and push the ball forward by any means to see off the threat.
It took a team effort but the reward was big.
McCallum was terrific all day, Todd Beck again well to the fore when a touch of quality was needed, Tom Barr typically in the thick of things as was Morris, and Liam Anderson continued what has been an excellent season as a key position backman.
Nathan Guy took on a new role, onball, where his strength in the congested ground level play was an asset and enabled Clayton Kingi and Harry Wans to return to their important roles in the back lines.
Ryan Taylor, with added responsibility with full back Brendan Dower missing from Saturday’s side, also stood up under the pressure.
And they had plenty of mates that didn’t leave anything in reserve.
The Morwell players also gave their all, none more than onballer Anthony Rosato who was a thorn for Drouin from start to finish, James Jacobsen, Judah Leak and Noblett.
Sidelined Drouin coach Jordan Kingi, who anxiously paced the boundary in front of the coaches’ box as the tension grew in the last quarter, gave an appropriate and very brief post-game talk to the cold and mud-caked players.
“We got the win we wanted, it looks like we can’t go out of the “five” (cheers!), go and have a shower”.
Moe toppled Maffra in a mud scrap on Saturday, joining the Eagles as one of three teams leading the competition on 12 wins with just two rounds to go in the season proper, 5.12 (42) to 3.4 (22).
Just a single goal was scored in the opening term as both sides struggled to adjust to the conditions, Maffra edging ahead at the first break by seven points as the Lions posted one behind.
Play was no more free-flowing in the second quarter as Moe converted their first goal for the day and the Eagles added one straight goal to retain a slender four-point lead at half-time.
A big momentum swing the way of the home side came at an opportune time in the third term.
Ash Dugan and Spencer White goaled within two minutes to restart play and Peter Ainsworth and Tyson Biffin joined the party in the closing stages of the quarter to make it four goals to none and give the Lions a handy 21-point lead.
Moe were struck with a case of the jitters in the final term and kicked five behinds from as many scoring shots, however, it was enough to hold off the Eagles who managed just one major for the quarter, courtesy of Jarryd Clohesy.
Among the best for Moe in the win were Darnell Grech, Jacob Wood, Tom Fleming and Mitch Stanlake.
With a top three spot in their sights, Leongatha used an impressive second quarter to overcome Sale away from home on Saturday.
The Parrots outscored the home team 30 to 13 in the term on their way to a 75-62 win. They are now one step closer to the top three and undoubtedly have the attention of the league’s finals teams.
Coach Paul Carbis was satisfied with the way his team took control in the second quarter. “They came out flying but we managed to settle, and I thought we took control around the contest from the second quarter onwards, which was pleasing,” he said.
“We were cracking in and either winning the ball at the contest or making a tackle.”
This effort at the contest saw Carbis’ side erase a 21-15 quarter-time deficit and take a 45-34 lead into the main break.
Marriott and Stone were again strong for the Parrots at the contest and on the ball, and these players used it well to spread the play and run, overwhelming Sale.
“We knew that to have a chance we had to switch it and come out through the other side of the ground, and we did that,” coach Carbis said. “The boys really grew confidence from that, and playing that way probably set up the win for us.”
Half-forward CJ Maskell benefited from this play, booting five goals for the game and ensuring his side got over the line against a tough opponent.
He and the rest of the team stepped up in the final two terms to hold on and get over the line with an important win.
“CJ’s movement was really good inside the forward half and it was good to see him get some reward for effort,” coach Carbis said. “I was happy with how we maintained discipline and held on. The hardest team was always going to win and that was us.” Sitting just a game outside of the top three, the Parrots will take on Moe at home this week with a chance to leapfrog them should they win. With the team in strong form, coach Carbis believes they can beat anyone and have a successful run into finals.
“We’ve knocked off challengers and now we face another team in the top three, so we’re really looking forward to it,” he said. “We got the confidence against Sale that we can keep knocking off strong opponents.”
Sale remained positive and broke even with the Parrots in the third quarter, with both teams registering two goals.
The final quarter saw players put their bodies on the line, with Sale scrapping its way to within seven points.
Disaster struck for the Magpies with about two minutes to go when Kane Martin was tackled and slung to the ground by fellow league best-and-fairest winner Tom Marriott.
Concerned onlookers paused in shock as Martin was knocked unconscious and lay facedown for a few minutes. Sale teammates gestured to the bench to get out onto the ground frantically before an ambulance arrived shortly after.
Martin was taken off the ground, but gave the crowd a thumbs up as he was lifted into the ambulance and taken to hospital where he was released later that night.
The game resumed after about 15 minutes and Leongatha kicked a goal to seal victory.
Ruckman Jack Lipman was Sale best player, while Brad Dessent was excellent up forward, finishing with four goals after some strong marking.
Veteran Chris Laverty worked hard all day and Ollie Collins made a welcome return to the senior side. Martin was also productive, as was Jackson Glenane.
A no-quarter-given final 15 minutes saw Warragul upset Traralgon at Traralgon on Saturday.
In a low-scoring game in persistent rain and on a wet although well grassed slippery surface the Gulls held on for a well-deserved 5-7 to 4-5 victory that ended any hopes Traralgon had of squeezing into the “five”.
Warragul’s 2-3 to 0-1 lead in the first quarter proved crucial.
They were still 14 points up at the three-quarter time break after each side had managed a goal apiece in the second and third terms.
The Gulls’ lead was out to 20 points and a win looked almost “in the bag” when James Davidson barrelled a kick from 50 metres that sailed through the goals five minutes into the last quarter.
It was the type of kick usually reserved for some more lighthearted times at the end of training sessions during the week but it proved a match-winner on Saturday.
Traralgon still had only two goals to that stage but added another two in a couple of minutes to put the result in doubt with about 15 minutes remaining.
It was hard, tight and desperate play by both sides until the siren, each side managing just one behind after the Maroons’ last goal.
Warragul adapted well to the wet conditions and was a bit better on the day.
Nothing flashy, just good committed attacks on the ball with all players doing their bits and playing as a team.
The Gulls did that from the opening balance until the siren sounded on their fifth win of the year.
Three changes were made to the Warragul side from the previous week.
Ned Tworkowski and Liam Giliam went back to the Under 18s for their important clash with Traralgon and Daniel Giardina, a big improver this year and important ruck relief, missed due to a knee injury suffered the previous week and appears likely to need surgery.
That gave the opportunity to promote another first-gamer Ben Mackie.
His selection recognised his steady improvement and good form in the reserves.
Mackie played in defence and showed enough to indicate he’ll more than likely play out the year at senior level.
While it was a good team effort by all 22 players the usual suspects certainly put their hands up to get Warragul the win.
On-baller Kim Drew, defender Jake Hughes, Brad Hefford, ruckman Sam Whibley, Mitch Nobelius and Matt Ross headed the list.
The goals were kicked by coach Ben Hughes, Tom Kelly, Tim Stoll, Ross and Davidson.
Missing finals is something of a rarity for Traralgon that lost plenty of experience off-season, had its share of injuries and has played many under-age players during the course of the year.
There were six from the junior grades in the Maroons’ senior team on Saturday.
Warragul has had its injuries, including long-term ones to some of the key players on its list.
Even so, it will be looking to at least another win before the season ends.Warragul & Drouin Gazette
LADDER AFTER ROUND 16
LEADING GOAL KICKERS AFTER ROUND 16
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Bairnsdale v Wonthaggi match review contains excerpts of articles published by South Gippsland Sentinel Times and Bairnsdale Advertiser. To view original articles in full online subscribe to SGST here and Eastvicmedia here.
Drouin v Morwell and Traralgon v Warragul match reviews published by Warragul & Drouin Gazette. To view original articles in full online subscribe to WDG here.
Moe v Maffra match review written by Kate Withers reporting for Latrobe Valley Express. To view original article in full online click here.