IN THE context of the 2022 West Gippsland football season, with the two teams sitting one-two on the senior ladder, the contest between Phillip Island and Inverloch-Kongwak at Cowes on Saturday shapes as pivotal to ultimate outcome of the year.
Phillip Island coach, Beau Vernon, acknowledged, after the clubs announced their line-ups on Thursday night, that the game had attracted a lot of local interest.
“It’s huge, yes for sure. I think both clubs are really looking forward to it,” said Vernon.
“There’s a lot of respect between the clubs.”
Vernon said he also respected the way IK coach Ben Soumilas “goes about it”.
And he said the match would provide a good indication about where the teams are placed this year.
“It’s probably a bit hard to line up the form except to say we played Cora-Lynn in Round 1 and won by five points. They played them in Round 3 and won by 120 points.
“What has changed since then I guess we find out on Saturday.”
Beau Vernon also has an eye on the weather on Saturday.
“I think the three times we’ve had them over here (at Cowes) it’s rained. I think they’re talking 15-25mm on Saturday. Hopefully we don’t get that during the game.”
Both clubs have made changes.
Ins for Phillip Island: Daniel Pearce, Mark Griffin, Cameron Brown, Ben Taylor. Outs: Tarquin McMillan, Coby Olarenshaw, Jack Papas and Hayden Smith.
Ins for Inverloch-Kongwak: Lachie Scott, Jenson Garnham. Outs: Gareth Park, Lachie Johnson.
Recruited from Fish Creek, Gareth Park has been a regular goal kicker for IK this year and will be missed but both teams are close to full strength for the all-important match-up.
There’s also considerable interest in the other football grades where ladder positions are:
* Reserves: Phillip Island 2nd v IK 4th
* Thirds: IK 1st v Phillip Island 7th
* Fourths: IK 1st v Phillip Island 2nd
* A Grade netball: IK 3 wins, Phillip Island 4 wins.