WITH the exception of Josh Hopkins, who is still a number of weeks away, Cam Stone a week or two, Mitch Bentvelzen a hammy and Aaron Hillberg, starting to step up his training; Leongatha had close to a full-strength line-up against Drouin on Saturday.
And it showed against the lower-ranked visitors.
Luke Bowman was back to add some grunt at the centre bounces and stoppages and with some serious ball-getting ability from the likes of Aaron Heppell, Tom
Marriott and young gun Jake Van Der Pligt; they were generating tonnes of quality ball for the forwards.
With the exception of Drouin onballer Chris Robinson, the Parrots were completely on top at the stoppages.
Looking across the lines, there’s plenty of proven talent now with the possible exception of there being no real power forward to hit the packs and bring the ball to ground.
How good would Jarryd Roughead fit into that mix? Maybe next year!
But the return of a fit-looking Jack Ginnane to the forward line was certainly a help, kicking four, and otherwise there looked to be a dozen Parrots capable of kicking goals; Aaron Heppell off the leash racking up nearly 40 possessions and six goals, Cam Olden also four and both Cade Maskell and Jack Hume constantly on the move for their three goals each.
The Leongatha forwards threatened to run riot at stages and it was to the credit of Drouin defenders Clayton Kingi and Ryan Taylor that they were able to limit
Leongatha’s scoring, especially after half time.
In fact, coach Paul Carbis wasn’t all that pleased with the way Leongatha eased off in the last quarter, allowing both sides to finish with four goals apiece.
“I just thought we lost concentration a bit in the last quarter but to Drouin’s credit they were able to retain possession and slow it down a bit,” said coach Paul Carbis afterwards.
“We went pretty hard early, so there could have been a bit of fatigue there, and we did have Luke Bowman off managing him a bit, plus CJ (Maskell) copped a bit of a corky.
“But I liked the way we reasserted ourselves and kicked three or four at the end to at least win the quarter.
“But yes, we’re looking more settled which is good and we’re enjoying seeing the younger guys come on.”
Leongatha meets the winless Morwell at Tigerland next Saturday but after they pressed Wonthaggi hard all day in a tight affair at Wonthaggi, the Parrots will be wary of taking the match lightly.
As Carbis acknowledged, however, Leongatha has traditionally enjoyed the chance to play on the excellent surface at Morwell and will be looking forward to the challenge.
Full football coverage in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.
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