By Sam Watson
THE race for the local goalkicking titles is still on and if seasons can resume, there will be some exciting games ahead.
So, let’s look at all the local leagues and who’s in the running to take home the respective titles.
* West Gippsland
CORA Lynn’s Nathan Gardiner is in prime position to take home the West Gippsland goal kicking title for the second year in a row.
In 11 games, the powerful full-forward has booted 50 goals, putting him 11 ahead of Phillip Island’s Max Blake.
Blake, who is in his first year at the Bulldogs, was off to a hot start but his goal kicking output has dropped off in recent rounds.
He was on 26 goals after five rounds. In the next six games, he managed 13 goals, but there still may be time for him to recapture the lead.
If the season can resume soon, Blake will get the opportunity to catch up but Gardiner will likely hold his lead.
Blake will comfortably top Phillip Island’s goal kicking list, and Taylor Gibson looks like he will win Kilcunda Bass’.
Tristan Van Driel leads Inverloch Kongwak’s tally on 19, thanks to a bag of eight against Nar Nar Goon but Tom Hams is only one behind.
If the Sea Eagles are to seriously challenge Phillip Island, they’ll need to find a consistent goal kicker in the finals series.
Korumburra Bena’s goal kicking title will likely be taken by Daniel Willis (17), but Rhys Dixon isn’t far behind (14), and veteran Wayne Luke (10) looks set to secure Dalyston’s goal kicking award.
* Gippsland League
FORMER AFL player, Kristian Jaksch is currently leading the Gippsland League’s goal kicking race.
The Moe Lion has booted 36 goals in 10 games, and he leads Traralgon coach Jake Best by six goals.
Best last won the Gippsland League goal kicking in 2015 when he booted 91 goals for Leongatha.
Behind Best is Wonthaggi’s Troy Harley, who’s kicked 25 goals in eight games.
The long-time Power forward started off slowly, managing just four goals in his first three games.
But it didn’t take long for him to start hitting the scoreboard significantly, kicking 21 goals in his next five games.
If he didn’t miss two games with injury, Harley could’ve been a big chance to become the Power’s first leading goal kicker in Gippsland league history.
Two goals behind Harley is Leongatha young gun Jack Hume.
Hume handed Wonthaggi their first loss of the year when he snagged six majors in their round 11 clash.
With Leongatha now looming as the flag favourites, opposition teams will be putting a lot of time into the youngster, who heads up the Parrot’s potent attack.
Both Harley and Hume are set to win their respective clubs’ goal kicking awards and they will play crucial roles in their teams bid for the flag.
* Mid Gippsland
THE Mid Gippsland goal kicking race is shaping up to be a pearler.
Hill End star Chase Saunders currently leads on 35, but Joel Mitchell from Newborough is only three behind on 32.
The Newborough sharpshooter has had a fantastic season, especially with his side only registering two wins for the year.
Fish Creek’s Joel Mitchell also isn’t out of the race, and he sits on 31 with two games remaining.
Jordan Shaw (27) has also had a fantastic season up forward for Fish Creek and the dominant duo will be a force to be reckoned with in the finals.
Benjamin Humphrey currently leads Foster’s tally, snagging 20 goals from just five games.
Only one behind him is teammate William Flavelle and Mirboo North’s Liam Nash looks poised to secure his team’s goal kicking trophy, also on 19.
MDU’s Stephen Hawkins (19) is also in the box seat to top his club’s count.
Matthew Williams (17) and Julian Patterson (16) will be in a battle for the Tarwin Sharks’ number one sharpshooter and Matthew Baxter (14) should comfortably win it for Toora.
FORMER Kilcunda Bass Panther and Koo Wee Rup Demon, Jason Wells has almost got both hands on the Ellinbank goal kicking trophy.
In his first year with his brother Danny at Longwarry, the exciting small forward has kicked 47 goals in nine games, headlined by a 14-goal outing against Yarragon.
His other big bags include nine against Lang Lang and eight against Nyora, putting him 15 ahead of Lang Lang’s Daniel Lewis.
Nick Visser will likely top Poowong’s tally on 19 and Adam Jamieson currently leads Nyora’s on eight goals.
Visser has been helped up forward by Trevor Hooker and the two will play a crucial role in securing a finals berth for the Magpies.