THE scores in the Leongatha versus Moe match at Leongatha on Saturday weren’t a fair indication of the differences between the sides.
The Parrots won by 73 points but it should have been a lot more.
Even without as many as six or seven players, who might yet force their way into this team, they looked a class above the opposition.
Actually it was Moe which got the first goal of the day, after a clever kick by Ash Duggan, which bounced and bounced through.
But the Parrots were in control in general play and they banged on the next four for the quarter.
Aaron Coyle was already marking strongly and dashing out of defence and he continued on that way for the four quarters. Together with Sean Westaway, Ryan Olden and others, with support from the midfielders, they were repelling any Moe attacks with ease, and setting up their own.
Parrots’ captain Hayden Browne and Zac Vernon were among those happy to work as hard in defence, as attack, and they constantly gave the home side plenty of drive.
Early goals to Jess Hickey and Justin Pellicano squared the ledger and with Hayden Browne, Tom Marriott, Jess Hickey and Cam Stone among those doing well at the stoppages, they were on their way.
Aaron Hillberg had made a welcome return to the team after a holiday overseas and he was quickly into the action, not only with those eye-catching leaps and dashing runs, but also linking up well around the flanks to create a problem for which the Lions really had no answer.
Good play by Cade Maskell and Jake Mackie had the ball forward to Brok Davidson for the Parrots’ third.
A highlight of the first quarter was a one-handed mark by Zac Vernon, and featuring great movement of the ball ahead of a goal by Josh Hopkins who was another doing well in bursts.
He got the next centre clearance and the Parrots were on the march again.
Hilly took a ‘hanger’ up forward. Ben Chalmers might have kicked a goal from a free and Darnell Grech might have pulled one back for Moe near the quarter time siren after a nice mark, but he botched it.
The wind was having something to say about the kicking for goal and field kicking but the Parrots stepped it up in the second quarter, adding six goals to three to take a stranglehold on the game.
Ben Chalmers, Chris Dunne, Justin Pellicano with a nice snap and Aaron Hillberg were among the scorers.
Hayden Browne was absolutely killing them at the stoppages and around the ground while Tom Marriott was dealing well with the close-checking of one of Moe’s better players from the week before against Traralgon, James De Virgilio, to constantly get the ball going the Parrots’ way.
Big Ben Willis didn’t appear to be at his best and eventually left the ground, paving the way for Josh Schelling to take on the ruck duties and he competed strongly, both on the ball and around the ground.
There’s something very like Jarryd Roughead about Schelling’s playing style which is serving the team well.
Chris Dunne had a good period of play, kicking one himself and having a hand in a few more, Louis Riseley and Pat McGrath were among those providing the Parrots with plenty of grunt and a gusty mark by Jess Hickey didn’t go unnoticed.
They had the match iced by half time and when they kicked the first three of the third quarter, via Vernon, Josh Hopkins running freely and Cade Maskell after the best lead-up play of the day; it was how far the Parrots.
But they took their foot off the accelerator and Moe responded leaving coach Beau Vernon with a statistic he’d rather not have seen on his whiteboard.
“You know we allowed eight intercept marks in that quarter, which is ridiculous,” he said at three quarter time, offering some advice on how to stay focused when the sting goes out of a contest.
After the restart, Hopkins made a slick pick-up before goaling and Hillberg capped off a fine, high-flying mark with a goal to get the Parrots rolling again but it was the effort in defence that really flummoxed the Lions who were unable to score at all for the term.
Aaron Coyle, Harrison McGannon and the rest of the back half were superb and the Parrots went on to a solid win.
Another thing to keep the Parrots focused when they have an opposition team by the throat it the competition that’s likely to come on for spots in the seniors when the likes of Chris Verboon, Luke Bowman, Joel Sinclair and others look to return so there’ll be plenty of incentive to play well, even against some of the lower sides.
The consolation is that the Parrots’ Reserves are already going very well at the moment and can only get better with a few senior players coming back.
They’d set up a winning lead against Moe themselves by three quarter time, however after Tim Sauvarin took a nice mark and goaled near the start of the last quarter, Moe came rattling back with a four goal to two last quarter to cut the margin.
Nonetheless, the Parrots had plenty of contributors in a strong display.
Full football coverage in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.
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