Round 14 of the Gippsland League looks to be a test for some sides as they jostle for top five positions and the ever important double chance come finals time. Bairnsdale will look to right the wrongs of last week’s loss when they take on Traralgon fresh of a morale boosting win against Moe. Maffra will face another big challenge this week as they play the ever conquering tigers outfit looking to consolidate a top two position come finals time. Drouin will have another tough test this week when they try to compete with a finals bound Wonthaggi side. Leongatha and Warragul will look to play for respect and pride for the rest of the season but don’t count out the hunger of each side to record wins late in the season. Moe will also face a mammoth task on Saturday when they take on ladder leaders Sale.
Bairnsdale v Traralgon
Bairnsdale will be back on their home turf this week and looking to fight off a fast finishing Traralgon side who simply must win every match remaining this year for a chance of finals action come September.
Last time these teams meat saw the Redlegs put in what was probably their worst performance of the year which eventuated in a 47 point loss. The team may change a little from last week’s loss against Morwell having both Andrew Nelson and Wes Russell available who will be back from Victoria Country Duties.
After today, Bairnsdale has matches against fellow top five sides Sale and Wonthaggi, and their chances of a top three finish, which looked so promising after Round 10, could be in jeopardy if their mini-slump (2 losses in the past 3 weeks) continues. Traralgon has winnable games ahead, but also games against top five teams Maffra and Morwell. Should they lose to Bairnsdale today, and Wonthaggi win as expected, the Maroons will be three games and percentage behind the Power with just four games left – mathematically possible, but highly improbable.
Moe v Sale
Moe will be looking to regroup after consecutive losses to Morwell and then most recently Traralgon last week. Earlier in the year it was Sale who had the better of the matchups on the day going on to record a 70 point victory.
The Magpies’ best ever run of wins over the Lions stands at seven with that run having been achieved between 1980 and 1983. Sale’s brilliant form continued last week, their percentage now just over the 200 mark, the Magpies having won 12 of 13 games this year. They have won 24 of their last 26 matches and, since Round 7, 2012; they have the incredible record of winning 44 of their last 47 games. Moe fought on bravely at Traralgon last week, but their opening quarter effort of just five straight behinds meant they were chasing the Maroons all day long.
Moe’s Coach Adrian Burgiel will be looking for an improved performance from his chargers if he is to finish of the year on a high note.
Drouin v Wonthaggi
The sequence of six matches where the visiting team came home the winner has been broken the last two times these teams have met, both games having been played at Wonthaggi with the Power recording very big wins. While the Hawks continued to battle bravely on last week, Wonthaggi scored an important win at Leongatha on Saturday night.
In a tough affair the Power managed to hold off the Parrots to take the points and keep Traralgon at bay. A good win today and against Moe next week should assure Wonthaggi of their place in this year’s finals series.
Wonthaggi will be hoping results go their way this weekend so they can continue to climb the ladder and be a force come finals time. Their tall timber for the power has been dominating games of late and last time these two clubs met Earl Shaw put on a sparkling display booting nine majors in the powers big win.
Maffra v Morwell
Morwell has had the better of Maffra over the past couple of season including a crucial preliminary final win last season and a tough battle earlier on in the season which saw Morwell pushed all the way to the final siren with the final margin being 14 points.
Of the top six teams, Maffra has the most difficult run of them all, playing against four of those top six teams, meaning that their current third placing on the ladder, and the double chance in the finals that it comes with, could be in jeopardy. Both Bairnsdale and Wonthaggi, currently fourth and fifth, will have their sights set on a Qualifying Final spot and therefore avoid an elimination final. For their part, Morwell broke the 2013 win-loss pattern that they had replicated this year, with 8 wins, 2 losses, 2 wins and a loss in that order in 2013 being broken with the Tigers’ hard earned, but strong win over Bairnsdale last week.
Morwell Coach Harmit Singh seemed buoyed after its great team effort that lead to a win against Bairnsdale last week but knows there is a big challenge ahead this week for his team if it is to beat a battle hardened Maffra side fresh from a big win against Warragul. “We will prepare how we normally do each week but we need to be on our game as Maffra have a fantastic midfield and tall forward line, so they have lots of avenues to goals” said Singh.
This game will have a finals like atmosphere to it and will be entertaining write down until the final siren blows and will have a big say in terms of the final ladders at the end of the round.
Leongatha v Warragul
Leongatha has won four of its last five clashes against Warragul, but more importantly the Parrots have won their past five home ground clashes against the Gulls, the last three of those by margins of 120, 60 and 45 points. Leongatha made Wonthaggi earn every goal last Saturday night and, despite the fact that any thoughts of a late run at the finals are now long gone, there will be plenty for the Parrots to work with as they lay down their plans for next year.
Glenn Garner knows the challenges ahead for his team and knows wins are vital at the end of the season to hold them in good stead for season 2015. “In terms of the results, they will come. Our big focus is on improvement and building our structures for the rest of the season ready for next season” said Garner.
When speaking about this week Garner had this to say “In terms of preparation we will take it one week at a time, it was a hard slog against Wonthaggi last week in the mud and we have another couple of injuries to attend to this week so we will prepare the best side that we think will be competitive against Warragul”.
Warragul will be under no illusion of the challenge it faces on Saturday at Leongatha needing to win to gain some confidence for its younger players moving forward into next season.
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