STRATFORD is on top of the East Gippsland football ladder after defeating Paynesville by 165 points.
The Swans were relentless in their 27.18 (180) to 2.3 (15) victory at home on Saturday.
The league’s current top goal kicker, Patrick Gordon, added six to his tally, including one with a dramatic soccer kick in the goal square, and Lachie Heywood, who stood out in ruck contests, also kicked six.
Jack Bacon was also among the players who out-scored Paynesville, with five goals.
All three players now lead the top goal kickers, with Rodney O’Keefe rounding out the top five.
Regan Tait was best-on-ground, using his reach to dominate contests across the field.
It was scrappy football, but Stratford was able to get the clearances and fight its way forward almost every time.
The Gulls kicked a single goal in the first quarter, with Stratford running away with seven goals.
Paynesville scored two points for the next two quarters, before a late rally in the fourth.
Zac Kellow and Tom McKay kicked a goal apiece for Paynesville, with Jessie Pescod the Gulls’ best.
In the reserves, Stratford won 28.21 (189) to 0, Jake Costigan kicking 14 goals.
Bombers on the board
RECORDING its first win for the season, Boisdale-Briagolong defeated Lakes Entrance 15.11 (101) to 14.9 (93).
In a thrilling finish, the Bombers dominated early to lead by 31 points at quarter-time, and kept the Seagulls scoreless for the third term, but had to fight it out as the Seagulls kicked eight goals in the final quarter to get nail-bitingly close to the win.
Coach Jeremy Reid led from the forward line with three goals, with Daniel Stubbe also kicking three.
Josh Stubbe was named best for the Bombers.
Josh Piper was best for Lakes, and Gary Puruntatameri and Brendan Bassett top-scored with three each.
WY Yung gave Lindenow its second defeat for the season to take home the Don Alexander Shield.
Winning 12.17 (89) to 4.8 (42), Wy Yung pulled ahead in the second term to lead by 25 points at half-time.
Inaccurate kicking cost the Cats, with only two goals from 10 scoring shots in the third term.
Brodie Anderson booted three for the Tigers, and Shaun Mooney was named best-on-ground. Luke Dyer top-scored for Lindenow, with Angus Fortune best.
LUCKNOW had a strong win at home against Orbost-Snowy Rovers, 19.20 (134) to 5.9 (39).
The Blues were floundering in the first term, and never quite recovered as Lucknow piled on the goals.
Jacob Green was the stand-out, kicking six, and William Siania was named best. Jayden Price was best for Orbost.