clubs

ALEX SCOTT & STAFF
WEST GIPPSLAND FOOTBALL
NETBALL COMPETITION

Pubished on 27 June 2022
THE CHALLENGERS

By David Nagel

Can anyone stop Tooradin-Dalmore and Phillip Island from colliding in an expected grand final showdown in West Gippsland football this year?

And the take away from all this?

Inverloch-Kongwak remains the team most likely to cause the Seagulls and Bulldogs some serious heartbreak this season, while Cora Lynn is closing the gap slowly on Nar Nar Goon for the number-four ranking.

And the Dusties…well the cupboard is bare against the top-six teams this season so stealing a finals win might be the best they can hope for!

Inverloch-Kongwak proved marginally too strong for Nar Nar Goon on Saturday, putting its defensive structures to good use in a 12.14.86 to 10.6.66 victory at Inverloch.

The Sea Eagles began the better, kicking 3.3 to 1.0 in the opening term, before the Goon bounced back to level the scores at half time.

The Sea Eagles then kicked 8.5 to 5.3 after the main break to secure a solid victory on their home deck.

Inverloch is a classy team…with credence given to that via its best players list on the weekend which included gun midfielders Corey Casey, Oscar Toussaint, Ethan Park and ruckman Marcus Toussaint.

Throw in the rugged approach of Xavier Hughes, and the wily experience of Shem Hawking, and the Sea Eagles are certainly not lacking for quality.

But it’s their overall team structure that is extremely difficult to break down and the reason why they are currently the clear number-one challenger to the top two.

Even in its two losses this season, 11 points to Phillip Island in round five, and 37 points to Tooradin in round seven…there were some real positives to take away from both contests.

It took Phillip Island until very late in the game to overhaul Inverloch, while an undermanned Sea Eagles side matched motors with Tooradin until the floodgates opened in the final term.

But both sides had seven scoring shots each in the final quarter…Tooradin kicked 5.2 while Inverloch blazed away with seven behinds for the quarter.

In our humble opinion, they’re in the premiership race right up to their ears!

Toby Mahoney and Tristan van Driel kicked three goals each for Inverloch on Saturday, while Dermott Yawney and Troy McDermott matched that output for the Goon.

Gifted midfielder Trent Armour was once again superb for the visitors, while exciting young tall Tex Marsham continues to develop at a rapid rate.

Defender Sam Blackwood is all quality, while skipper Brendan Hermann will be better for the run after his first game back from a collarbone injury that kept him sidelined for three rounds.

The Goon will bounce back to the winners list this week in a home-game against Garfield, while the Sea Eagles head to Kooweerup for a game they should also win.

And have no doubt…both Ben Soumilas (Inverloch) and Luke Young (Nar Nar Goon) will both have high hopes of being the party-poopers in September!

Cora Lynn continues to steadily build momentum with the Cobras making it six wins on the bounce with a 17.7.109 to 10.9.69 victory over Warragul Industrials.

The Dusties stayed with the Cobras during a high-octane first quarter – where 11 goals were scored – but couldn’t match motors after quarter time.

The Cobras built a five-point lead to 24 points at the main break, and extended to 33 points at the final change of ends.

The Cobras then rubber-stamped a good day at the office by winning their fourth quarter for the match with a three-goal-to-two final term.

The Cobras big guns all fired in front of the big sticks, with Nathan Gardiner making it 34 goals from his last six games with a five-goal haul, while speed-machine Jaxon Briggs and the classy Cory Machaya bagged three goals each for the afternoon.

Machaya has mirrored Gardiner’s improving form, kicking 12 goals from his last four games and proving a real headache for opposition defenders to deal with.

Rylan Smith and Brent Urwin backed up solid games against Kooweerup last week with further starring roles, while Tristan Warkuss, Tom Stiglich and gun-Casey-recruit Jimmy Munro were also effective around the contest.

The Dusties were once again competitive against a fellow top-six contender, but are just lacking that little something that will see them take the next step.

They have now lost all five games against the top teams, with a 22-point loss to Nar Nar Goon in round seven the closest they have got all season.

But the Dusties, under coach Harmit Singh, are still one of the better stories of the year, considering where they’ve come from…and the direction they’re heading in.

Mason McGarrity continued his staggeringly consistent output with four goals, while classy left-footer Travis Ogden made a solid contribution with two.

Winger Bailey Beck was once again a driving force for the Dusties, while Matt Herbert and underrated tall Jackson Mockett certainly took things up to the Cobras.

Cora Lynn will be desperate not to take a backward step when it hosts Bunyip this week, while the Dusties host Phillip Island in another huge test for Singh and his improving list.