MAFFRA overcame Drouin and trying conditions to move the top of the Gippsland League football ladder.

In wet and muddy conditions at Drouin on Saturday, the Eagles won by 61 points, 11.16 (82) to 2.9 (21).

Both of the Hawks’ goals came during the third quarter.

Sam Pleming led the way for the Eagles in defence in a best-on-ground performance.

Mitch Bennett kicked four goals for Maffra, out-scoring the Hawks off his own boot. Bennett has kicked a league-leading 13 goals over the first two rounds.

Daniel Bedggood and Alex Carr also made major contributions across the forward line, linking well with midfielders Daniel O’Brien and Jack Johnstone.

The Eagles led by 10 points at quarter-time, before booting five goals in the second term to take a 39-point advantage into the main break.

Both sides kicked two goals during the third quarter, but Maffra’s lead was extended to 45 by the final change of ends. The Eagles added three unanswered goals in the fourth term.

David Braithwaite

Gippsland Times

SALE opened its account for the Gippsland League football season, defeating Moe by 38 points at home on Saturday.

The Magpies put in an even team performance to win 11.14 (80) to 5.12 (42).

Moe, who was hoping to end a ground losing hoodoo dating back to 2002, could not match the Magpies, who effectively ended the contest by half-time.

In trying conditions, including consistent rain and a strong wind favouring the southern end of the oval for most of the day, Sale kicked five goals with the breeze to put the Lions on the back foot early. Even though the score did not reflect the contest, the Magpies’ back line, in Zac Hurley and Andrew Quirk, had its work cut out controlling the forward entries the Lions did have.

John Gooch, playing his 100th match for Sale, marked strongly and goaled late in the quarter to open up a 25-point lead.

The Magpies’ structure in the second quarter saw the Lions struggling to utilise the wind advantage.

Lachlan Ronchi’s kicks from defence had Moe’s midfielders under pressure, and a long kick to midfielder Jayden Allison was quickly moved to Gooch, who created a contest for Corey Oliver to rove smartly and goal.

Coach Shane Fyfe was also effective in the back line, working hard in the Sale press.

Undisciplined play by Moe, with high tackles and a 50 metre penalty, gifted goals to Jack Mclindin and Jordan Dessent.

The Magpies had control of the match and at half-time, had kicked eight goals to Moe’s one.

A Moe turnover began the second half in the worse way for the Lions, with Ronchi from 55m out scoring a long goal on the boundary.

Jack Lipman controlled the centre bounce, working well with Kane Martin, Dessent, Brad McKay and Mitch Dowse, limiting Moe coach James Blaser’s influence on the contest.

Sale continued to pepper the Moe defence in the air through Brad Dessent and Gooch, who created good contests to allow Oliver, Jack Mapleson and McLindin to exert pressure at ground level. The Magpies wasted these opportunities, kicking 3.7 to be 56 points up at three-quarter-time.

In the fourth quarter, the rain began to slow and so did the Magpies, who were feeling the effects of a six-day break and the tough conditions on the day. Moe, with the advantage, kicked two unanswered goals, but it wasn’t enough as Sale’s excellent work in the three previous quarters saw it comfortably win.

In a good team performance, including nine individual goal kickers, multiples went to Ronchi and Oliver.

Lipman was best-on-ground with his work in the ruck and ability to be involved around the ground, and Jordan Dessent was valuable in his role up forward and on ball.

Jayden Allison continued to impress in the midfield, and there was good games from defenders Nic Dowse, Ronchi and Zac Hurley.


Sam Anstee

Gippsland Times

A composed and focused second qtr carried Warragul to its second win from two games in strong winds and on a slippery surface due to rain at Wonthaggi on Saturday.
The Gulls ran out winners 10-8 to 7-7 after losing ground - and their lead - in the second quarter. They are one of only three teams to open the season with two wins and sit second on the ladder behind Maffra on percentage.
Warragul started promisingly getting out to a two-goal lead at quarter time. But they took their eyes off the ball a bit in the second term when Wonthaggi played with plenty of physicality. At the long break Power had wrested the lead 5-5 to 4-2, Warragul adding only one behind for the quarter.
The message at half time from coach Steve Kidd was strong -“lower the heads and concentrate on the ball”. Kidd was delighted with the response.
“The players took the message on board. It was a game we’d probably have lost last year", he said.
The result was still touch and go beginning the last quarter with the Gulls 11 points up but Wonthaggi with what benefit the strong wind provided as it blew towards a forward pocket.
But Warragul held firm adding 2-2 to Power’s one goal. The Gulls made two changes to the line-up that scored a first round win over Morwell. Ex-Bunyip player Matthew Ross and Darwin recruit Mick Coombes came into the side. Ross kicked a goal in a sound game but due to his role as a fitness adviser with Gippsland Power TAC Cup and representative sides may only be available periodically throughout the year.
Coornbes also showed some good signs in a rugged introduction to a Gippsland winter. Acting captain Sam Russell showed great leadership and was superb in defence over four quarters to be Warragul’s best on the day.
Kim Drew, James Davidson and Mitch Nobelius were great on the ball taking a lot of the pressure off Nate Paredes. Drew is only young but has shown in the two games so far he is well up to senior level and has been among the Gulls’ best in both.
Nic Mulqueen and Jed Serong were also among Warragul’s better players. The goals were spread around. Drew, Davidson and Jed Serong each got two and singles were scored Russell, Paredes and Dan Giardina.
The start of the season has been as good as Warragul could have hoped for. Wonthaggi was seen as one of the sides the Gulls need to finish ahead of to make finals.
Next Saturday they can take another big stride forward if form holds up and they can overcome another potential finalist in Moe on home turf at Western Park. Key player Brayden Fowler may be only 1 another week or two away after recovering from surgery and the club is hopeful that Tom Muir, named captain this year and now back training, will be available in a few weeks.
Warragul & Drouin Gazette

Match review to come...

Traralgon sent an early warning to other Gippsland League clubs alter a strong win over defending premier Leongatha on Saturday night.

The clash christened Traralgon’s new powerful ground lighting but it was tough going on a good but slippery surface and in strong wind. But the senior match missed most of the day’s heavy rain, only a few showers during the game.

It was a tight first half, the Maroons leading 2-4 to 2-0 but an eight-goal third term settled the result in their favour. Final scores were 11-11 to 7-4.

Even more worrying for other sides is that Traralgon won without three of its best players coach Mark Collison, Jackson Hall and new recruit Connor Ambler. Former Neerim South player Kody Wilson, in his second game for the Maroons, starred in Saturday’s victory.


Warragul & Drouin Gazette

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