Sunday special for Gippy Girls

Pakenham's Abby Hobson was praised for her aerial work by Talent Lead Scott McDougal. 402284 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS.

By Jonty Ralphsmith

Gippsland’s girls played out a hard-fought win against Greater Western Victoria Rebels at La Trobe University, Bundoora, on Sunday.

A three-goal first quarter set the tone for a 7.5 47 to 1.3 9 result.

The Rebels broke even in the inside 50 count which reflected the evenness of the contest, with the gulf in inside 50 efficiency the difference throughout the day.

Gippy’s three stars, Ash Centra, Ella Stoddart and Jas Sowden, all had a major say on proceedings.

Stoddart, typically a rebounder, was played mostly off half-forward for her development as a footballer and gained plenty of metres and played with her usual spark and drive.

Bunyip’s Bec Fitzpatrick moved well, while Warragul Industrials pair Lilly Leighton and Luka Butters were among the best.

Leighton and the gritty Zali Gallagher, who attacks the footy with vigour, have both started the season strongly as speedy impact players, while Zahri Burn and Maya Crestani’s development as rucks has been impressive.

Pakenham’s Abby Hobson kicked the last goal of the day after presenting well as a forward throughout proceedings despite getting less rewarded than in previous weeks.

“Her ability to lead up and give us a focal point is important and team-orientated,” said Power Talent Lead Scott McDougal.

Meanwhile, the boys were outplayed 10.12 72 to 17.7 109 by the same opponent.

After conceding four of five first quarter goals, Jesse Craven was the beneficiary of a clean centre clearance to start the second quarter.

Craven finished with 19 disposals and eight inside 50s, with McDougal impressed with the 19-year-old Tooradin winger’s output after his games for Gippsland were limited last year by school footy.

“He’s one of the first names you put on the board because you know what you’ll get from him: he’s consistent, clean and competitive,” McDougal said.

“He’s having lots of impactful moments.”

That would be Gippy’s only goal of the quarter, though, as they went in to the main break trailing by 33 points.

Despite mounting a charge late in the third quarter, they left themselves too much to do late.

Midseason draft prospect Tom Hanily’s finishing polish was excellent as he grows his understanding of the forward role to complement his likeable attributes as a midfielder.

Asher Eastham worked hard all day amid poor delivery inside 50 as he continues to press his Vic Country claims, while bottom-ager Brodie Atkins is another with a strong first month of footy behind him.

“Brodie’s really competitive and his attack on the ball is really good: he’s got some upside and won’t leave any stone unturned,” McDougal said.

Warragul Industrials’ Alix Tauru was cautiously held back as he nurses a minor injury, while Warragul’s Ricky Mentha sat out much of the game with a minor rolled ankle.

The match was Jehi Esler’s first back from a hamstring injury and he will look to use it as a launchpad to play some consistent footy as a key defender.


Dandenong’s boys, meanwhile, went down 13.15 93 to 6.7 43 to Tasmania at Launceston.

Forced to defend for much of the first quarter, Berwick’s Kane Hurst and Charlie Orchard led the persistent Stingrays, minimising the margin despite the momentum.

Hurst took three intercept marks and had five intercept possessions, locking down excellently in the first quarter, which set the tone for another strong day for the Vic Country aspirant.

Orchard laid his fist into everything early and laid a goal-saving tackle on the last line, while Berwick’s Raiden Bergman was also staunch, carrying on last week’s form.

Harry Doughton – who brought his trademark pressure all day – laid a strong tackle on the wing which forced a turnover and allowed Coren Giliam to get Dandenong on the board.

Tassie, however, won the territory battle throughout the day which prevented the Rays from ever seriously threaten a comeback.

The girls also had the trip to the Apple Isle, but came away with a 6.7 43 to 3.7 25 victory.

A five goal to zip first term set the platform, with Kate Terri continuing her strong vein of form with 30 disposals and eight tackles, while Zoe Besanko played a well-rounded game as a forward and secondary ruck.

The match was Tahlia Sanger’s first back for the Rays since an ACL injury in May 2023 and she finished with 10 touches.