RELATED: Big win for Maffra
SALE recorded its sixth consecutive win, defeating Bairnsdale 16.9 (105) to 10.13 (73) in round seven of Gippsland League football.
The conditions at Sale Oval on Saturday led to a great start for both teams, as the ball freely moved from end to end. Both teams struggled to put any real defensive pressure on the other due to the ball movement.
Sale kicked the first three goals through Brad Dessent, Corey Oliver and Jack McLindin, but Bairnsdale fought back hard and seemed a little more desperate up forward.
Sale were controlling the play by foot, looking to penetrate the Bairnsdale gaps, and despite leading by 10 points at the break, the style of play wasn’t what coach Shane Fyfe was looking for and he urged the players to take more risks.
Sale played its best football in the second quarter, with strong pressure through the forward half exemplified by a big fair hit in the contest on Russell Cowan by Brad Dessent.
As the pressure stepped up, the goals began to flow, quick smart ball movement out of the Bairnsdale forward half by Jayden Allison and then Ben Jones to Fyfe, who got on the end of a rare opportunity to kick a goal.
It seemed the game would blow out as Sale kicked six goals to one and opened up a 39-point lead at half-time.
Bairnsdale made some adjustments at half-time and its style of play meant it had the ability to kick goals quickly. The Redlegs tried to limit Jordan Dessent’s influence on the game, and began to read Jack Lipman’s hit-outs more effectively.
Sale didn’t kick a goal as skill errors hurt forward of the centre.
Bairnsdale pushed hard and kicked four goals to none to bring the lead back to 18 points at three-quarter-time.
A free kick and subsequent 50 metre penalty gave McLindin the chance to kick his third early in the final term. It was the goal Sale desperately needed and broke the shackles, as it kicked the next two to effectively put any chance of a Bairnsdale comeback to bed.
The game still had plenty of feeling as Bairnsdale continued to push hard, but Sale held reasonably strong as wayward kicking and good defensive structures meant the shots were from wide and far.
Kicking five goals to two, the Magpies did enough to run out 32-point victors, and secure second position, a game clear of Leongatha on the ladder.
Lipman took advantage of Bairnsdale’s weakness in the ruck, his hit outs and ability to mark strongly around the ground were noted and he was clearly best-on-ground.
The Sale midfielders, trying to cover the injury sustained to captain Kane Martin, all played good football in patches, but it was Adam Wallace who was very consistent, and Jordan Dessent, who also kicked two goals, continued his great form.
Zac Hurley created well out of the backline and showed his ability to play on small and tall players, while Andrew Quirk limited any influence his opponents had with great defensive work.
Jack Mapleson continues to improve after injury last year, his ability to be strong in the contest and smooth outside saw him kick three goals.
While coach Fyfe will be happy with the amount of goalkickers, patches of really good play and win, the work and tactics by Bairnsdale saw Sale put in a slightly inconsistent performance.
The coach and playing group will realise it needs to play more consistent football to be a top finals contender, as the next three matches are big tasks, Warragul away, Leongatha at home and Maffra away.