Alinta Energy Gippsland League – Round 5 Preview

The Record cover said it all as the perfect Parrots enter round 5 at the top of the A Grade and Senior football ladders. This week they take on Morwell in the Gippsland Live match of the round at Morwell Recreation Reserve. The Senior Parrots haven’t lost to Morwell since their 2014 premiership season. While the last few years haven’t been blow outs they have been comfortable margins and all signs point to this again. As was mentioned last week Luke Bowman and Tom Marriott stepped in on que and continued their dominance in the middle. Bowman leads the League MVP race and should be a handful for the young Tiger midfield. Morwell will take confidence from their victory over Warragul and sit with two wins so far in the season. They have shown a lot of desire early and Tristen Waack, Boyd Bailey and Brandon McAuliffe have been solid contributors so far. The Parrots will be red hot favorites to continue on their 11 match streak against the Tigers. It’s the A Grade match of the round as the top 2 sides so far in 2022 lock heads. Along with Moe, these two look the clear contenders for the A Grade premiership from their performances so far this year. Morwell accounted for Warragul despite being without star Daisy Hill showing their depth off. Leongatha goaler Jess Edgar leads the Shooting Star award but will face a different level of challenge this week with the three-pronged defensive wall including current MVP leader Shannon Freeman that Morwell has. The result of this one will go along way to shaping the story of 2022. We can only hope that it lives up to all expectations.

Moe's Harry Pepper leads the JC Lawless Goalkicking Award after another 5 goals in round 4

Bairnsdale welcome both Moe sides that are flying high already this season. In contrast the Red Legs sit at the bottom of the table in both major football and netball grades. Moe managed to get over Traralgon by a solitary point last week and continued their unbeaten start to 2022. They will go into the match with supreme confidence that they can continue that against Bairnsdale. The Covid affected Red Legs had their first blow out of the season on the road to the premiership favorites Leongatha last weekend. They will be hoping to get a number of players back for Round 5. They managed to beat the Lions at home in 2019 but since then have suffered 3 heavy defeats. Harry Pepper leads the League goalkicking and will be eyeing off another bag of goals. Ben Daniher spent more time in the midfield last week and looks to be growing into his role with the Lions. Bairnsdale were competitive in the first 3 weeks and will be hoping that they can cause the upset in this weekend. Thomas Hudson who won the Thirds League goalkicking in 2021 stepped in for his senior debut and kicked all 4 majors against the Parrots. If he can duplicate his effort and give the Red Legs another opportunity to kick a winning score they may just be an outside chance. The netball looks like it could be another one-sided affair. The win less Red Legs will be hoping Moe have some unavailability to give them an unlikely chance to come away with 4 points. Macy Gardiner has been in form for Moe while Georgia Moody should be polling well in the Hutchison Medal voting. Tilley Gordon has been a huge plus in goals for Bairnsdale while Alison Dwyer performed admirably in their Round 4 loss at Leongatha. Moe at full strength should be too much to handle over four quarters.

Drouin pulled of one of the upsets of the season last year when they defeated the highly fancied Sale side. The Magpies will be pleased to have this one on home soil as it looms as a danger game. All signs point to a heavy Sale win but the Hawks win over Warragul in Round 3 looms large in the mind. Sale have managed to get home over local rivals Maffra and Bairnsdale and at times look like they will run away with matches but can’t do it over four quarters yet. Jack Leslie has been dominant so far while Shannen Lange was the TRFM Player of the Week in Round 4. Brad Dessent kicked two last week but needs a big bag to get his season going. If he does it the Magpies should win convincingly. The netball looks set to be a one sided affair with the Hawks again being one of the top sides in 2022. They sit third with just the one loss so far and got a vital four points against Wonthaggi Power last week after coming back from a ¾ time deficit. Wonthaggi got the points by over 45 goals against Sale in round 1 which doesn’t set a great from line for the Magpies chances this week. April Bethune and Kym Diston have been featuring prominently in the MVP voting so far and form a quality defensive pairing which the young Sale shooters will find it hard to penetrate. Rachel Ronaldson has been battling hard in defence for the Magpies and will have her work cut out this week as they look to cause the upset.

The Eagles make the trip to South Gippsland to meet Wonthaggi Power. The Power managed to get a crucial four points away to Drouin last week by a convincing margin. Their sights are set on September action and need to prove it this weekend against Maffra. The Eagles look to be improved from 2021 and they sit at 2-2 after honorable losses to Moe and Sale in the last fortnight. Wonthaggi have been effective in bursts but like Sale need to perform over four quarters and tighten up their star studded defence. Jack Blair has been in fine form while their bigs Staley, Thomas and Huther look threatening. Maffra should match up well against the Power with both being very physical sides. Wonthaggi the favorites at home and should get the job done over four quarters. The Power will also go into the netball as favorites. They blew a good chance against Drouin last week letting a ¾ time lead slip and missing 8 of their last 14 final quarter shots with the Hawks piling on 14 of their final 16 attempts to get home by 6 goals. They should look to win this game comfortably against a young Maffra side. The Eagles have two wins so far against their East Gippsland rivals. The Power will be a different challenge and Abbey Pleydell and Jasmyn Hennig will need to perform again to shoot a winning score. Zali Anderson has been superb for Wonthaggi and their goaling trio of the three C’s, Countney Young, Chelsa Bowman and Courtney Brann, should be too much for Maffra to handle.

Traralgon and Warragul round out the weekend’s matches with Western Park and Burke Street Courts to host the games. The Maroons go into the A Grade match winless in A Grade for the first time in recent history (if ever). Their draw has been loaded against what will arguably be the top 4 sides in 2022. They have been in every game and could have pinched 1 or 2. Warragul are a tough opponent and they will be looking for some continuity in their front court with several players being unavailable over the first month. Only Jaime Rollinson has featured in all matches in goals with at least 5 other players being in and out of the ring with her. Traralgon will be confident going into this one and if they can replicate the 47 goals from their round 4 loss against Moe they will get the four points. Matilda Van Berkel has been a star through the middle while they will need a big game from Amy Harrison in defence this week. If Warragul are at full strength the match is a line ball call. It will come down to what team performs on the day. The Senior Maroons will be ruing last week. Their 1point defeat to Moe may come back to haunt them in the final tally count come the end of August. They have been great in patches but like a few others need to tighten up their defence. Brett Eddy went goalless which looks to be an anomaly based on his credentials. Expect him to bounce back this week. The Maroons will be hoping Luis D’Angelo is available as he is proving vital to their midfield with his classy hands around the contest. Nick Graham was one of the Gulls best and will need to stand up again. The Gulls hit a high point in round 2 against Wonthaggi Power but since then have been disappointing with heavy losses to Drouin and Morwell. Traralgon should win and win well but the Gulls have shown they are capable. They will get first use of the ball around the ground and with a home ground advantage they may just pull out the win. The Maroons should come away with the win and look a 1-2 goal a quarter better side on form.