THE Gippsland League kicks into gear this weekend, after the Easter pipe-opener between Wonthaggi and Drouin, with three games in the traditional Saturday timeslot and one on Sunday.
In the match of the round, the Paul Carbis-trained Leongatha Parrots play the Jake Best-coached Traralgon at Traralgon with Best lining up in his customary position at full forward.
The journeyman, former Foster sharpshooter, is well-known around football circles in Gippsland, as a former premiership player with the Tigers and for stints at Leongatha and Inverloch before going on to win two flags at top suburban club Vermont. He certainly deserves a good deal of respect around the goals.
Leongatha welcomes back Aaron Heppell from his stint at Essendon and will be strengthened by several of the club’s homegrown products, some of them coming through from the 2019 Premiership Third 18 side.
The Parrots retain the nucleus of their competitive teams of the past five years, but there has also been a healthy turnover as well.
From the team named on Thursday night, there are several gaps still to be filled, possibly by players waiting late clearances or as a result of fitness tests.
As always though, any trip to Traralgon is one of the biggest challenges a Leongatha team can face during the season and such is bound to be the case on Saturday.
In other games Moe hosts Morwell and Warragul meets Bairnsdale with the big game on Sunday being the battle of old rivals, Sale versus Maffra at Sale on Sunday, a contest that’s sure to draw the biggest crowd of the weekend.
Here is the Leongatha team (incomplete) made public on Thursday night:
Backs: Tim Sauvarin, Sean Westaway, TBA
Half backs: Jackson Harry, Chris Verboon, Jake Mackie
Centres TBA, Tom Marriott, TBA
Half forwards: Luther Juric, Cade Maskell, Cameron Stone
Forwards: Nick Nagel, Jack Hume, TBA
Rucks: Ben Willis, Aaron Heppell, Jake van der Plight
Interchange: Will Littlejohn, Jordan Patullo, Travis Nash, TBA.
New players: Aaron Heppell Northcote Park/Essendon VFL, Jordan Patullo Phillip Island West Giuppsland FC, Luther Juric Glenrowan Ovens & King FL.
New: Jake Best Vermont Eastern FL, Daniel Reid Upper Ferntree Gully Eastern FL, Jeffrey McDonald Big Rivers FL (Northern Territory), Matt Northe (returning) Knox Eastern FL, Tom Northe (returning) Knox Eastern FL, Harvey Neocleous (returning) Morwell.