Luke Bowman rises high to take a nice grab in an early indicator of good form.


LEONGATHA and Phillip Island had a great tune up for the coming season, in fine warm conditions at Leongatha on Saturday and both teams seemed to get what they needed out of the day.

And there was also a big crowd in attendance.

There were all age matches across netball and football and it was noticeable that both clubs were trying out positional changes and systems to make sure they are cherry-ripe for the opening round.

After an excellent result against Wonthaggi the week before, it was back to his old hunting ground for Island coach Beau Vernon, brother Zac and their talented Phillip Island team.

And the match-up against Leongatha proved to be a very good test as well with Leongatha near full strength but also adding some talented youngsters from the successful 2019 thirds team, while the Island looked to be near full strength as well.

The Bulldogs got the sort of hard, contested match they were looking for, and after a tight first quarter, Leongatha got enough clear air on the scoreboard, with ever-reliable Cade Maskell providing a good focal point up forward and Chris Verboon leading the defensive team down back, to try out some new combinations and also to take a look at new inclusions.

It was evident, Phillip Island retains a strong core of its 2019 premiership team, no doubt refreshed by the year off, while the Parrots had plenty of new talent on show.

Among those getting the senior call-up on Saturday and sure to add pace and vigour to Leongatha included Jake Vander Plight, Kim Drew, Jordan Easton, and Luther Juric with the likes of Jack Hume, Travis Nash, Jackson Harry, giving Ben Willis a chop out in the ruck and others doing well and coming under consideration for the first round, against Traralgon on Saturday, April 10.

Phillip Island look ready to start their premiership defence, albeit a year late, against Kilcunda-Bass on Easter Saturday, April 3.

Both Leongatha and Phillip Island demonstrated good depth with strong reserves sides as well.

Netballers from both clubs got a lot out of the Phillip Island versus Leongatha match-up.