ROUND 6 PREVIEW – Alinta Energy Gippsland League

Round 6 is here as the teams look to tick off the first third of the home and away season. Interestingly in the A Grade schedule it is the top 5 placed sides taking on the bottom 5 placed sides this weekend. Traralgon have their first home game of the season as they welcome Wonthaggi Power with both the major grades having plenty riding on the result. Traralgon let a game they would have penciled in against Warragul slip last week going down to the Gulls. They are clinging onto a spot in the five and will need to start picking up some games against fellow finals contenders. Wonthaggi Power got a crucial four points last weekend in conditions which have traditionally suited Maffra. Aiden Lindsay is in a rich vein of form, the former League MVP has been a star in the middle of the ground while Troy Harley managed four goals last week and should cause issues against Traralgon. Mark Collison has been back to his best for the Maroons and continues racking up huge numbers. Matt Northe has been seeing more time forward and kicked 3 goals and was their best last week. It has been a long time since the Power ventured to Traralgon Recreation Reserve as the favorites but they are starting to get going in season 2022 and a strong showing here would reward a lot of that hard work and for a top 3 spot come seasons end. The A Grade match should be a hotly contested game with Wonthaggi having an opportunity to put a three game break on the Maroons if they claim victory. Traralgon got their first win of the season over Warragul last week and look the most likely to jump into the five from the chasing pack. Wonthaggi have a golden chance to go 12 points clear of Traralgon and with 7th and 8th placed Maffra and Warragul taking on the top 2 sides the Power could see themselves two games and a lot of percentage clear in the five. That aside, Traralgon will be confident they can get the points at home. Matilda Van Berkel and Stacey Jacobsen have been excellent over the past few weeks and will have Jess Blair with her hands full through the midcourt. Wonthaggi should be strong in the goal ring and if they can be accurate it will go along way to help their cause. With so much to play for, Traralgon just to edge the Power out.

Drouin coach Jordan Kingi has his team on the up heading into round 6

The bottom two sides will meet in Drouin with Bairnsdale in desperate need of four points to get some reward for their work this year. The Hawks have been looking a lot better over the past few weeks and put in a competitive showing in Sale. Aden and Kyle Quirk have provided some spark while coach Jordan Kingi has also been in good form. A lot will depend on the availability of several senior Red Legs. Young stars Will Bromage and Randall Stewart have been doing their bit but for Bairnsdale to be successful they need more from their midfield. Drouin should win this one off the back of their recent performances. For Bairnsdale they will just need to be in the game at quarter time, a task they haven’t been able to do for the past few weeks. Drouin A Grade sit fourth on the ladder only on percentage with only one loss so far to their name. Their fixture gets significantly harder over the next three weeks so they will be keen to take care of business against Bairnsdale. It is the second best defense going against the side that has scored the least goals in 2022 so it doesn’t look like the Red Legs have much of a chance on the road. Bairnsdale will be hoping that their young side continues to learn and develop against the top sides and can pinch a few wins this season.

The battle of the ruck will be a key contest in the senior match

Leongatha host Warragul with bot senior sides coming off wins. The Parrots continued their unbeaten start against Morwell in torrid conditions and just keep getting stronger. Warragul held off Traralgon in similar conditions that suited their clearance game. Mitch Smart and Sam Whibley are performing as predicted and look to be the best ruck duo in the competition. Nick Graham hasn’t skipped a beat also as he put on another best on ground performance He will have his work cut out this week with arguably the best midfield duo at the minute in Marriott and Bowman. Justin Pellicano has been sensational in the back up ruck/froward role for Leongatha while Jack Hume will be eying off a bag of goals to move up the charts. Leongatha should be too strong with the margin reliant on the conditions. The A Grade game should be a great contest with wo of last years form sides set to fight it out. The Parrots were comfortably defeated by Morwell in a top 2 battle. They will be hoping to get some confidence back with a strong showing. They were one of the hottest teams in the first month and will be hard to beat all year. Warragul need to get a settled lineup together if they are any chance of finals action this season. They won the Western Derby but haven’t managed another win this year and see themselves in 8th spot. Renee Cook continues to be a rock in defense but they need to get some more in the front court and it will be hard against a settled Leongatha defense who will hopefully welcome back Laura Higgins. The Parrots should win and complete the double at home.

Morwell make the trip to Maffra for Round 6 and the A Grade Tigers go into the match on top of the table. They won easily against Leongatha in bad conditions and were without Rachel Tatterson who has started the year well on her return. They look a different class this year over four quarters and have the depth to cover absences. Shannon Freeman leads the MVP race by 4 votes and has polled 11 votes in just 5 games. It will be an uphill battle for Maffra who sit in 6th with two wins over their East Gippsland counterparts. Morwell by a decent margin. In the seniors it is 6th v 7th with Maffra being in a must win scenario to keep pace with the 5. The results fell their way last week and a win will see them set up a big round 9 clash with Traralgon. The Tigers have performed better than expected so far in 2022 and while they have beaten two sides below them they will be very much in the race for that fifth spot with a win here. Maffra look too good on paper and should win at home but the Tigers are one of the bottom five sides that a capable of surprises and have shown in patches they can match it with the top teams.

The final match of the round is perhaps the football game of the week with second place Moe taking on fourth place Sale. The Lions are undefeated sitting with 5 wins so far In 2022. The real tests come now with Sale, Wonthaggi and Leongatha all to come in the next month. Sale have been unconvincing for a team that was as well credentialled as any at the start of the season. The fact their percentage sits below 100 after 3 wins from 5 matches indicates they have a lot of work to go to secure that top 3 spot. The Magpies haven’t performed well at Moe in recent years and it may just lead to the Lions being favorites. Scott Van Dyk has been excellent down back again this season while the return of Tom Long adds another quality senior player to their mix. They should be too strong down back for Sale to kick a winning score at home. In the netball it looks like a one sided affair with the 3rd place Lions taking on 9th place Sale. Despite the weather, Moe pilled on 85 goals against Bairnsdale last week and will be aiming to clear the 50 mark again in Round 6. Their mid courters are playing well with Hollie Bugeja and Macy Gardiner getting plenty of the ball. Moe to win by 20 plus goals.