ROUND 3 PREVIEW – Alinta Energy Gippsland League

Rivalry round comes to Alinta Energy Gippsland League with matches spread across Saturday and Sunday. Wonthaggi Power and Leongatha headline Saturday action with bragging rights in South Gippsland up for grabs. The Power sit at the top of the A Grade ladder after big wins over Sale and Warragul in the first two rounds. The Power look like the real deal in 2022 and will be taking on one of the favorites in Leongatha who are also 2 from 2 to start the year. The Parrots will like their chances and with the likes of Taylah Brown and Hanah Flanders in form they have both ends of the court covered. The senior match is set to be another classic. Leongatha again look to be the team to beat after dismantling Sale away from home in round 2. Wonthaggi played out one of the most entertaining draws in recent memory against Warragul with both sides finishing on 106 points a piece. The points between these two sides were split last season and their matches this year will be vital to the final make up of the five. Tom Marriott and Cade Maskell were in top form in Round 2 and with Jack Hume and Aaron Hillberg getting plenty of supply they look capable of kicking a winning score. Wonthaggi will need to lock down the Parrots big bodied midfield if they are to get the win.

East Gippsland honors are on the line with Bairnsdale hosting Sale on Saturday. The Red Legs will be backing up against another Eastern rival after their round 2 matches against Maffra. Both sides come away empty handed from the trip and will be eager to try and get the first win on the board. The A Grade match will be intriguing with both young sides on the rebuild it is one of the few chances they will get to come away with a win in 2022. Sale have come of back to back heavy defeats against the South Gippsland sides who should both feature in finals action while Bairnsdale were beaten by premiership favorites Morwell in Round 1. A toss of the coin game which will have plenty to play for. The senior Red Legs are coming off two disappointing losses. They were in the game for large parts against Maffra leading in the first half and controlling the last quarter however they leaked goals which led to a comfortable defeat. Sale have faced the premiership favorites in both matches and their round 2 result was unexpected being beaten by 11 goals at home to Leongatha after a strong start. They will need to sort out the forward line and their ball usage which was well below Gippsland League par in round 2. Sale will want to win and win comfortably to get their season started.

Maffra make the trip to Ted Summerton Reserve in the final of the Saturday matches. The two senior sides side 1 & 2 on the ladder and have built up a competitive rivalry over the past few seasons. The Lions stamped their premiership credentials in 2021 at Maffra with a big win and will be hoping they can do the same at home. The Eagles still have an elite core group of players and the first two rounds have showed what they are capable of. This will be their first big test of the year and it will be interesting to see the contrast between youth and experience play out. Moe will be slight favorites at home and will rely on their young stars Riley Baldi, Brock Smith and Harry Pepper who is coming off back to back 5 goal games. Moe’s A Grade side are coming off a defeat in a high class round 2 match against fellow premiership favorites Morwell. The Lions have talent across the court and will be hard to beat especially for a travelling Maffra side. The Eagles managed to take care of business against Bairnsdale to get some positive form going into the match.

Moe's Harry Pepper has kicked consecutive bags of five goals in the first two rounds

The Western Derby will feature on Sunday with traditional rivals Warragul and Drouin set to renew their hostilities on the field and courts. Warragul go into the match after a memorable draw with Wonthaggi Power which will give them plenty of confidence that their gameplan stacks up against the best. The young Hawks are coming off two heavy defeats and will not be keen on the prospect of facing a team with Jed Lamb and Brayden Fowler in the forward half. The Gulls should win the match and will need to if they have ambitions of pushing towards that hotly contested finals spot. Drouin A Grade look to be one of the big improvers in 2022 and they will get another chance to prove that on Sunday. The Hawks sit 2 from 2 with wins over Traralgon and Maffra. Warragul will be disappointed to be winless however have faced off against two of the anticipated top sides for this year. April Bethune and Kym Diston have been excellent for Drouin and will look to shut down the Gulls shooters while the battle between Renee Cook and Stacie Gardiner may just decide the result for either team.

The final match of the round is the AFL Victoria Worksafe Game of the Month between Traralgon and Morwell. The match was originally scheduled for Saturday night however the Council has still not been able to supply the necessary utilities for Traralgon to utilize their home venue. The Maroons had a huge win over Drouin in the football with Brett Eddy kicking 10 goals in the victory. There would have been some heavy discussions in the Tigers match committee on how to combat the Traralgon forward line. Morwell started positively against Moe with the Tigers sticking in the game in the second term but were blown away in the last half. Nathan Noblett and Tristen Waack were shining lights for the Tigers last week and will be heavily relied on again. Traralgon should get the points over the four quarters but the rivalry between these two Gippsland League clubs will undeniably throw in a few curveballs during the day. The rivalry extends to the netball courts with the 2019 Grand Final rematch taking place. The Maroons are a different looking team from that match and the Tigers will also feature new stars. Morwell were classy and tough against the Lions in Round 2 and their defense looks as strong as any Gippsland League side in recent history. The Tigers should be too good but as with the football rivalry expect anything to happen on the day.