Parrots dare to dream

Leongatha are on the hunt for a third consecutive senior flag in the Gippsland league. file photograph
Leongatha are on the hunt for a third consecutive senior flag in the Gippsland league. file photograph

Leongatha

Coach: Paul Carbis

2018: Premiers

In: Aaron Hillberg, Justin Pellicano, Nick Nagel, Steve Forrester

Out: Julian Lockwood

Leongatha will feel they are primed to secure a hat-trick of premierships in 2019, with the acquisition of a number of significant players into the already star-studded line up.

Former Leongatha players will return this season, including Justin Pellicano and Nick Nagel, who is back after four years away from the club, and forward Aaron Hillberg, who is returning after a season in the West Gippsland league.

The Parrots have lost the services of premiership player Julian Lockwood, but otherwise are largely unchanged.

With the Parrots' reserves also winning the flag last season in stunning fashion, Leongatha should again be one of the league pacesetters in 2019.

Moe

Coach: Lachlan Sim

2018: Fourth (elimination final)

In: Lucas Jenkinson, Spencer White, Jordan Ceppi, Lachlan MacLeod, Bernie Vince, Leigh Montagna

Out: James De Virgillio, Jai Massesse, Ryan Farmer, Rylan Henkel, Harrison Pepper

Despite not getting past the second week of finals for the last two seasons, Lions coach Lachlan Sim is confident he is building a competitive list to challenge the league's top-performing clubs.

Coming in for his third stint as senior coach, he will replace James Blaser, who will continue as a player after three years in the job.

The Lions secured the big name signing of the summer, landing former St Kilda key forward Spencer White, who has since been joined by fellow AFL players Leigh Montagna and Bernie Vince.

Sim is shooting to win and plans to finish top three.

Morwell

Coach: Denis Knight

Captain: Ryan Tatterson

Last season: Ninth

In: Josh Hecker, Liam Charles, Patrick Charles, Jack Hudson, Brad Brereton, Harrison Pepper, Jake Proctor

Out: Daniel Hutchison, Brandon McDonald, Kane Grinstead-Jones, Luke Van Rooy, Pat McGrath, Jack Callaway

THE highly-credentialed Denis Knight will take over a relatively young Morwell side for 2019 and will be looking to give further senior football exposure to a number of players.

Jack Hudson will be available if he is not required for Casey while former Moe player Josh Hecker has some Gippsland League experience and should fit in well.

The Tigers will need to cover the losses of goal scoring trio Brandon McDonald, dual premiership player Daniel Hutchison and the experienced Kane Grinstead-Jones who is off to coach Yinnar in Mid Gippsland.

Knight is keen to "lay the foundation" in a year he expects will "really be a teaching year".

"Hopefully we can improve on what we put out last year and make some reasonable sort of steps this year," he said.

Traralgon

Coach: Tim McGibney

Captain: Jackson Hall

2018: Fifth (preliminary final)

In: Trent Morrow, Chris Thuring, Tom Dunn, Sam Le Lievre, Troy Forrest, Jake Bishop, Cameron Whiteoak, Ben Johnson, Michael Jacobsen, Matt Williams, Gavin Stevenson, Jason Garrett

Out: Michael Burge, Nick Quenault, Jay Neagle, Tim Northe, Rohan Hildebrand

Traralgon will take confidence heading into this season, following the side's admirable performance in last season's finals, where the Maroons came from fifth place to just miss the grand final after Maffra held them off by three points in the preliminary.

Traralgon have been busy on the recruiting front, targeting players from the VAFA and North Gippsland league.

New coach Tim McGibney will inherit a talented side with a good mix of youth and experience.

Younger players rising through the ranks will be called on to help drive the game, McGibney said, with Jackson McMahon and Cody Wilson returning with some VFL experience to add to the team.

Maffra

Coach: Wayne Butcher

2018: Runners-up

In: Joel Lambourn, Jack Egan, Curtley Nettleton, Ari Fleming, Harry Conway

Out: Patrick Jones

WAYNE Butcher will oversee another season in charge at Maffra.

Joel Lambourn returns to the Eagles from Queensland, while Jack Egan comes down from the Murray region.

With an experienced list at his disposal, and with the majority of Maffra players having played more than 100 games together, Butcher will be eyeing off another top three finish to again make an assault on the Gippsland League premiership.

Club favourite Jeremy Jones has accepted the role as senior coach at North Gippsland club Cowwarr.

Sale

Coach: Shane Fyfe

2018: Third (semi-final)

In: Tom Hams, Will Leslie

Out: Andrew Quirk, Brad McKay, Jack Mapleson

The Magpies finished the home-and-away season in third position, but were haunted by a rampaging Traralgon who got over them by 10 points in the first semi-final.

Fourth year coach Shane Fyfe will feel he has the ingredients for another good season, with limited player movement demonstrating that players are happy at the Magpies nest.

The senior team will have Kyle Dunkley available when he is not on duty with Gippsland Power.

Warragul

Coach: Ben Hughes

2018: Sixth

In: Ben Hughes, Toby Bransgrove, Ty Jackson-Miller, Simon Fairbairn, Tim Stoll, Declan Bagot, Luke Tynan, Will Jolley, Jack Nuttall, Jack Symes, Shaun Beecroft, Jared Lane

Out: Tyssen Morrow, Ash Di Ciero, Jack Deen

Warragul have picked up a few players from the neighbouring Ellinbank and West Gippsland leagues, and, given their liking to tough conditions, should produce some winning results as the winter months get closer.

Key player Luke Tynan will be available for selection when he is not required for VFL side Casey.

Bairnsdale

Coach: Darren Martin

2018: Seventh

In: Brett Waddel, Charlie Bryan, Max Rowe, Adam Rees, Peter Jenner, Keenan Hynes, Christian Ferretti, Ryan Pedretti, Jesse Glassborow, Matt Carstairs

Out: Connor Steel, Austin Hodge, Alex McLaren, Zac Kellow, Tom Calvert

With one of the strongest home ground advantages in the league, and strong juniors coming through from its under 18 grand final team of last season, the Redlegs should be raring to attack 2019 full of fight.

Drouin

Coach: Jordan Kingi

2018: Eighth

In: Todd Beck, Harry Wans, Chris Robinson, Bailey Beck

Out: Jeb McLeod, James McKellar, Sam Piner, Trent Kearney, Jayden Fairlie

AFTER finishing 2018 with three consecutive wins, Drouin would have taken some motivation heading into preseason, as the Hawks set about continuing to build after some challenging times.

The evenness of the competition was on full show in round 16 last season, when Drouin upset eventual premier Leongatha on their home deck, in what may well be on the minds of players wearing the Hawks jumper throughout 2019.

Wonthaggi

Coach: Lee Rowe

2018: 10th

In: Jarryd Blair, Fergus O'Connor, Lachlan McKinley, Tim Knowles, Mitchell Hayes, Tom Guyula, Mitch Betson, Jake Thomas

Out: Dean Wylie (Dalyston), Byron Dryden (Dalyston), Aloysio Ferreira (Inverloch-Kongwak)

DESPITE collecting the wooden spoon in 2018, Wonthaggi were far from disgraced in many of their matches.

The Power were only comprehensively defeated on five occasions, and defeated preliminary finalist Traralgon along the way.

Proving to be more than a handful at home, the Power will be hoping their investment in juniors, which saw the under 16s reach the second last week of finals, will reap rewards in seasons to come.

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