Two matches with similar margins but contrasting story lines came to us over the first weekend of the Alinta Energy Gippsland League Finals.

Saturday saw Leongatha prove any doubters wrong as they produced a vintage finals performance to book their ticket into the 2nd Semi Final. It was a brilliant team effort but one man stood out and nearly set a League record with 8 goals (9th on the siren disallowed). Cameron Olden was everywhere and his feat included two after the siren vital goals for the Parrots. A constant threat up forward, he ended the match with 15 disposals , 8 goals and 137 ranking points. The Parrots stars shone as bright as ever with Cade Maskell picking up 17 marks include 8 intercept and 3 contested grabs to compliment his 32 disposals. Aaron Heppell finished with 27 touches  while Noah Gown and Tom Marriott also were vital around the football. A starring role of sorts was played by Luke Bowman who usually is seen racking up tackles and touches in the middle but sacrificed his game in an attempt to shut down Lions coach and former Melbourne Demon Declan Keilty. Bowman had just the 4 handballs for the game but ended as one of the Parrots best as he curved a lot of Keilty’s impact in kept moments.

Tom Marriott wins another clearance in the Qualifying Final

For Moe it was a familiar sight at the top of their best players with Ben Daniher picking up 35 touches at 77% efficiency and 164 ranking points while Scott Van Dyk ended with 32 disposals, Riley Baldi 30 and James Blaser 23 in arguably his most influential game of the season. Blaser kicked 2 goals in the second term to keep Moe in the hunt in a quarter where they conceded 6 to the Parrots after a bright start. Without Blaser’s influence they could have gone in outside of reach. The margin was 23 at the half and would blow out early in the third but late goals kept Moe in the hunt at 28 points behind to start the last term. In truth the match lost sting towards the end as every Moe attempt was quickly answered either on the scoreboard or in general play. The game early was of the highest standard and a great showing of where the League currently sits in its premier grade.

Moe: 2.2, 4.2, 8.5, 11.7 (73)

Leongatha: 2.1, 8.1, 13.3, 16.5 (101)

GOALS: Moe: N. Prowse 3, J. Blaser 2, J. Wood 1, H. Sim 1, B. Gowers 1, J. Balfour 1, T. Baldi 1, T. Blackshaw 1,

GOALS: Leongatha: C. Olden 8, J. Garnham 2, N. Gown 1, M. McGannon 1, T. Marriott 1, T. Nash 1, T. Brill 1, A. Heppell 1,

BEST: Moe: R. Baldi, T. Baldi, S. van Dyk, B. Maslen, J. Blaser, L. Mulqueen,

BEST: Leongatha: C. Olden, C. Maskell, J. Harry, L. Bowman, N. Gown, B. Willis,

20. Ben Daniher3517182620164
16. Scott van Dyk3226611010141
09. Riley Baldi3015152180125
02. James Blaser231581442111
23. Ben Maslen21147341099
37. Jordan Ceppi22157065097
10. Trent Baldi21147143191
30. Nick Prowse1091302383
18. Chris Prowse734113071
04. Harrison Sim16610042171
05. Declan Keilty1064223071
27. Luke Mulqueen1376214071
42. Bill Gowers1486212170
03. Tyson Biffin16115140069
31. Jacob Balfour1064115159
49. Thomas Blackshaw1055031159
22. Ben Morrow743112046
06. Jacob Wood1165120146
17. Dylan Brooks1046133041
34. Tyler Pratt752120036
15. Brock Smith1266041034
29. Thomas Long431010015

23. Cade Maskell3231131400138
34. Cameron Olden151231608137
59. Aaron Heppell272070541109
14. Noah Gown231760621105
08. Thomas Marriott19127065192
04. Josh Hopkins18117054076
17. Jenson Garnham972212272
07. Jackson Harry1284142072
49. Mason McGannon14113050269
05. Tallin Brill15123092162
20. Benjamin Willis1174102062
42. Cameron Stone19136043056
22. Aaron Hillberg12111062045
03. Sam Forrester17125060041
31. Sean Westaway871030039
12. Steve Forrester660041037
35. Will Littlejohn844041032
38. Jesse Burns1055021029
15. Aaron Turton1156010028
55. Luke Bowman404022016
45. Travis Nash330011012
21. Jack Ginnane10100002

It looked like there would be no excuses on Sunday with the sun beaming down on Western Park, a traditionally high scoring ground, for the Elimination Final between Sale and Traralgon. Last years Grand Finalists Sale went in as heavy favorites with the Maroons on a four-match losing streak and the Magpies looking set to welcome their best team on paper for the year. Eight days earlier the Sale side had put away Traralgon at quarter time in their round 18 match and this couldn’t have been further from their minds when they went into the quarter time break goalless. The game was played with high tension and both sides for went their regular ball movement as it turned into a good old fashioned finals grind. The Maroons always looked the better team throughout the day and looked set to run away with the win until from nowhere Sale strung four goals together after only kicking 1 in essentially three quarters of football. The Magpies butchered chance after chance in front of goal and missed snaps (some barely registering a score) from inside 15 meters looked to deflate the team.

Brett Eddy slotting goal number 5 in his sides win in the Elimination FInal

After a slow third term, Jordy Dessent goaled after the siren to give a slither of hope at ¾ time as the Magpies cut the lead to 25 points. In the last Traralgon all but sealed the game with the first goal however a rush of three quick Sale goals cut the lead below 18 points with time remaining. Surprisingly the Magpies continued to move the ball slowly out of defense and bar a few players barely took the game on in the last stretch. Brett Eddy’s fifth goal sealed the game as he produced a trademark 50 meter bomb from the club room side pocket to put the game beyond reach. He along with Tom Hamilton, Tom Schneider and Luis D’Angelo were the difference. The Maroons mids won more of the footy and Hamilton was a wild card in the air and ground. He ended with 18 disposals, 6 contested marks and goal and 139 ranking points. Schneider had an all time finals stat line with 195 ranking points made up of 32 disposals (8 more than any other player), 17 contested, 7 clearances, 6 tackles, 7 inside 50s, a goal and 8 free kicks for. For the Magpies, Jack Leslie battled hard in the ruck and ended with 124 ranking points including 33 hit outs, 7 marks and 15 disposals. Young future star Tom Wrigglesworth finished with 17 disposals and 101 ranking points playing in an uncustomary half back role, he will be one to look out for in the future. Brad Dessent kicked 3 while Jordy Dessent kicked 2 which probably should have been 4 or 5.

Traralgon: 2.1, 5.4, 6.7, 9.11 (65)

Sale: 0.3, 1.4, 2.6, 5.6 (36)

GOALS: Traralgon: B. Eddy 5, T. Hamilton 1, B. Schilling 1, T. Schneider 1, C. Little 1,

GOALS: Sale: B. Dessent 3, J. Dessent 2,

BEST: Traralgon: L. D’Angelo, T. Hamilton, B. Eddy, M. Jacobsen, T. Schneider, J. McMahon,

BEST: Sale: J. Leslie, N. Whitford, T. Wrigglesworth, J. Dessent, P. Tainsh, J. Allison,

14. Tom Schneider3222100661195
24. Tom Hamilton181716331139
13. Jackson McMahon242042530126
01. Brett Eddy111104205124
04. Luis D’Angelo21138032090
17. Conor Little15105141180
05. Billy Schilling1293143177
30. Tye Hourigan14113122074
42. Joel Scholtes1358063073
10. Mark Collison17611012068
03. Max Jacobsen1349001067
32. Connor Ambler17116052059
11. Hugh Dunbar1459011056
15. Lucas Tripodi1082013047
18. Thomas McMahon1064052045
43. Joshua Hamilton1064211036
37. Bradley Kimberley972122036
35. Kade Ruyters1183030031
28. Tate Marsh642020022
23. Sammy Hallyburton312011021
26. Dylan Loprese532100011
22. Mitch Membrey431020011
22. Jack Leslie151411610124
24. Jack Johnstone231490940115
12. Will Leslie181711540107
10. Lachie Ronchi2118301020107
05. Jack Mclaren201820820104
16. Thomas Wrigglesworth171250510101
31. Nathan Whitford19136152098
66. Patrick Tainsh171250103096
02. Shannen Lange21813001089
27. Brad Dessent651211385
08. Jayden Allison1688052074
23. Jordan Dessent972230270
30. Cody Henness18108043061
43. Jordan Bourke1284032061
09. Adam Wallace1569041054
11. Jarrod Freeman1192043050
01. Kane Martin12102023048
14. Mitch Bown651030026
07. Cooper Whitehill642023014
35. Jonty McGuiness211001012
13. Harry Ronchi651110011
19. Harry Tatterson42200006


Contested Mark
Uncontested Mark
Ranking Points