Home' The Great Southern Star : September 27th 2016 Contents “THE STAR” Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - PAGE 51
FOOTBALL | SPORT
FOOTBALL | SPORT
By Tony Giles
HAVING reached its second grand final
in a row Leongatha once again fell at the
final hurdle, this time at the hands of Ma-
ffra in a match that was close all day.
In scenes that were strikingly similar to 2015 against
Traralgon, the defeated Parrots players and faithful
could do no more than look on forlornly as the Maffra
players accepted the medals and gathered to hold up the
What made it even more painful this year was the
fact Leongatha gave it a genuine crack and played on
a level with Maffra all day, the Eagles just proving too
solid all ‘round.
The final margin of 21 points didn’t reflect how
close this match was either with Maffra getting two
goals right at the end of the game. For the most part two
goals separated these teams for the entire day however
the Eagles just managed to keep its nose in front almost
Maffra played similar tactics as in its victory over
Leongatha in the second semi final by harassing, pres-
suring and tackling Leongatha from start to finish, hard-
ly allowing the Parrots a clean break.
But Leongatha was up to the challenge this time as
the recent game against the Eagles told them it was go-
ing to be more of the same. This time Leongatha was
able to match the pressure and physical stuff and didn’t
allow Maffra to bust the game open like it did in the
third quarter, two weeks prior.
However Maffra didn’t allow Leongatha the op-
portunity to run freely such was the relentless pressure
The problems started at first in the middle; the huge
Maffra ruckman Trent Knobel was able to control the
centre tapouts and hence Maffra was able to secure the
bulk of the clearances.
Leongatha’s Luke Bowman and Zac Vernon were
the Parrots’ best around the contest but the best play-
er for Leongatha was co-captain Chris Verboon who
played superbly up forward with strong marks and goals
at crucial times to keep the Parrots in the match. Aaron
Hillberg was another of the Parrot forwards who tried
The Parrot defenders had their hands full and
fought gallantly with the best of these being Jason
Tomada and Aaron Coyle who performed solidly de-
spite the crucial loss of Joel Sinclair, injured in the
Danny Butcher and Kelvin Porter ran amuk for the
Eagles picking up loads of possessions to be their best
players along with big man Knobel, Sam Walker and up
forward the presence of Daniel Bedggood, four goals,
and Mitch Bennett, four goals, was invaluable given
how hard it was to score goals.
• Gippsland League Grand Final - Leongatha v Maffra
Grand Final pain-again!
Parrots fall at consecutive grand finals
Sunny conditions prevailed at Moe and the ground
was in perfect condition for the grand finals with a slight
breeze blowing across the ground.
Leongatha would suffer two selection blows when
it was revealed Brock Davidson was out with a broken
arm and key defender Joel Sinclair had a leg injury.
This paved the way for the inclusion of Lochie Du
Mont, returning from injury, and talented Under 18
player Kaj Patterson came in.
The match started with good intensity as Maffra
managed the first three goals of the quarter with Mitch
Bennett bagging the first and Daniel Bedggood the sec-
Aaron Hillberg was getting several touches for Le-
ongatha but Maffra’s harassing technique was evident
It took until the final minute of the quarter to bring
up the first major for Leongatha with a run down the
centre opening the way for a Zac Vernon goal. Quarter
Time Maffra 3.3 .21 to Leongatha 1.2 .8.
The dangerous Danny Butcher combined with An-
drew Petrou and Lachlan Channing for another Eagle
Chris Verboon stood up for the Parrots with a crunch-
ing tackle which landed him the free and a subsequent
goal. Verboon would continue his class up forward all
day as Leongatha started to lift.
A free kick downfield landed Verboon his second
goal within minutes and he narrowly missed another at-
Jason Tomada marked a beauty on the last line for
the Parrots and up forward Dunne shot a point after a
It was a solid second term by Leongatha, trailing
by two points at half time; Maffra 4.4.28 to Leongatha
Early in the third term Aaron Coyle marked strongly
down back for the Parrots and a chain of possessions
saw Verboon narrowly miss.
But Verboon bobbed up again and he passed to Hill-
berg for a Parrot major and the Parrots led for the only
time in the match.
Soon after Maffra would begin a purple patch which
would include four unanswered goals; while Bedggood
missed the first easy attempt, he made no mistake only a
minute later. Further goals to Renooy and two to Mitch
Bennett would see Maffra out to the biggest lead of the
game as the Eagles seemed to own the centre clearances
at this point.
Leongatha stopped the rot soon after fortunately
when Ben Willis shot the ball over to Chris Verboon and
on to Cade Maskell for a pressure relieving goal.
When Pat McGrath and Chris Dunne combined for
a major the Parrots were on the way back. Hopkins with
a free for too high unfortunately missed a very gettable
shot while Hillberg scored two behinds from set shots.
This may have put Leongatha on level terms or even
in front at the final break but it was still close at the last
change; Maffra 8.7 .55 to Leongatha 6.11 .47.
A costly mistake in defence saw a Leongatha player
caught and a resulting goal to Mitch Bennett for Maffra
to start the last quarter.
Chris Verboon received a free and with a long kick
goals to lift the Parrots hopes.
The ball was going end to end but it was Maf-
fra which goaled to open up a 13 point lead midway
through the final term.
Marriott and Maskell combined for a top, long goal
to Maskell and the Parrots were just eight points down.
Bedggood marked and goaled at the 21 minute mark
and at 13 points up the Eagles looked to have done
However the last roll of the dice for Leongatha saw
Hopkins dribble one through for a goal and suddenly it
was eight points again; agonizingly close but seemingly
impossible to reach.
But the Eagles were able to answer every challenge
and a couple of late goals, one to Bedggood again, saw
them deliver a 21 point victory.
Best Parrot: with a giant leap and a rock solid mark, Chris Verboon was easily the best
Leongatha player on the ground, backing up these marks with three goals. More photos at
the Parrots’ Luke
to be the best of
the centre players
making the most
of the limited
number of centre
Forward focus: Leongatha’s Aaron Hillberg
takes a safe mark. Chris Verboon was the
best of Leongatha’s forwards with Hillberg
having a solid contribution.
Maffra goals: M. Bennett 4, D.
Bedggood 4, K. Renooy 2, W.
Gieschen 1, L. Channing 1, S.
Leongatha goals: C. Verboon 3,
A. Hillberg 2, C. Maskell 1, J. Hop-
kins 1, Z. Vernon 1, C. Dunne 1.
Maffra best: D. Butcher, K. Porter,
T. Knobel, S. Walker, D. Bedg-
good, S. Pleming.
Leongatha best: C. Verboon, J.
Tomada, L. Bowman, A. Coyle, A.
Hillberg, Z. Vernon.
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