By Sam Watson
LEONGATHA has dealt Wonthaggi its first loss of 2021, moving to top spot on the Gippsland League ladder.
After losing to Power by 11 points at Leongatha in round two, the Parrots haven’t lost a game and they were desperate to make amends on Sunday.
But it was the home side who got the early jump as the rain came down, booting two goals in the first term to take a 10-point lead into quarter time.
Leongatha’s first goal came from Jack Hume, which was a set-shot that just cleared the hands of Shannon Bray on the goal line.
And Wonthaggi’s second goal came when Josh Schulz received a 50-metre penalty that put him directly in front.
They had another opportunity to extend their lead on the quarter time siren when star midfielder Aiden Lindsay had a ping from deep, but his best efforts didn’t quite get the journey.
The hosts kicked five points in the first quarter, making it seven scoring shots to two, leaving them thinking they could’ve had a bigger early lead.
After quarter time, Leongatha coach Paul Carbis obviously made the right adjustments, and his side came out firing as the weather began to clear up.
Two quick goals from Leongatha saw them level the scores halfway through the second quarter, but Wonthaggi were up for the challenge.
Jack Blair was finding plenty of the footy in the midfield and when Leongatha hit the front, he quickly responded to put the Power two points in front at half time.
Fergus O’Connor was providing plenty of run off halfback and his skills were well received by the Wonthaggi attackers, but it didn’t translate into as many goals as they would’ve liked.
At half time, Wonthaggi coach Jarryd Blair spoke about adjusting kick in and stoppage set ups, but he really emphasised his feeling that the match was going to continue to be an arm wrestle.
Blair was right, and the muddy conditions meant the slug fest would continue in the second half, but Leongatha looked more ready than Wonthaggi, as a dominant third quarter ensued.
Jake van der Pligt and Aaron Heppell were looking dangerous all over the ground, and the ruck work from Ben Willis was again proving to be a big advantage for the Parrots.
Kim Drew also was finding plenty of the footy and he was able to set up many Parrot attacks that resulted in goals.
A lot of those goals were kicked by Hume and his brilliance up forward saw Leongatha get a 31-point three-quarter time lead.
The Power failed to kick a goal in the third, while their opponents booted six and it would ultimately be the difference at the end of the day.
Wonthaggi had missed some easy opportunities in front of goal, but the Parrots were cleaner around the contest.
But the Power refused to give up in the last quarter and an early goal from Jarryd Blair saw them keep the door for victory slightly ajar.
However, Leongatha were able to respond kept Wonthaggi at arm’s length for the rest of the quarter.
Hume finished with six majors for the day, including the sealer on the run from almost 50 metres out.
The final siren sounded to signal Leongatha’s sixth straight win, this time by 29 points.
Next week Leongatha will travel to Drouin and Wonthaggi will look to bounce back when they travel to Morwell.
Full football coverage in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.
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