WITH two 100-plus point victories behind it, Sale should have more of a test at home against Drouin tomorrow during round two of Gippsland League football.
Such were their dominant displays against Bairnsdale and Moe, the Magpies have a percentage of 378, 175 points higher than the next best, Leongatha. But tomorrow’s opponent, Drouin, should be a tougher task having pushed Maffra at home last weekend.
The Hawks trailed the Eagles by only three goals at three-quarter-time before going down by 36 points.
Pat McGrath, Sam Proctor and Daniel Barrand were among the Hawks’ best and will need to be on song against the strong Magpies’ midfield, led by Luke Collins.
Drouin was able to keep Maffra, with its potent forward line, to 15 goals, which could have been more if not for the Eagles’ inaccurate kicking. A similar effort will be needed against Matt Ferguson, Kane Fraser, Brenton Martin and John Gooch, who kicked 18 goals between them against Moe.
The Hawks have won six of the past seven meetings against the Magpies, including their last two trips to Sale.
Last year the Hawks ruined any thoughts of an undefeated season for Sale with a thrilling four-point win. Like season, the Magpies are flying high early, but will want to avoid a repeat of that round seven 2011 clash.
The Hawks produced their biggest ever victory over the Magpies in winning last year’s qualifying final at Moe.
MAFFRA will head to the western end of the league for the second time in as many weeks when it plays Warragul.
On paper it would appear a Maffra side, coming off wins over Morwell and Drouin, would be clear favourite against Warragul, who finished last in 2011, but the Gulls are set to put four good quarters together and surprise a more fancied opponent.
Ben Hughes has returned to the Gulls after a spell in the ACT, adding more skill, height and experience to a young line-up which has shown improvement from the past two seasons. Against Morwell last week Hughes kicked seven goals in a best-on-ground performance.
The Gulls had their chances to defeat Morwell, including two fourth quarter shots for goal from Hughes which hit the post, but the Tigers held on to win by four points.
The Eagles overcame Drouin and inaccurate goal-kicking at times last week in recording a six-goal win.
A negative to come out of the match was a shoulder injury to Kal Killoran.
Maffra has won its past six encounters against the Gulls, but had to fight back to win in round 17 last year after trailing at the final change.
Originally scheduled as a twilight fixture, tomorrow’s match will be played in the regular afternoon time slot due to the lights at Western Park not being ready.
IN other Gippsland League matches, two teams who just missed the finals last year, Moe and Wonthaggi, will meet, Leongatha will be at home against Morwell, and Bairnsdale will host Traralgon tomorrow night.
For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.