SALE broke Traralgon’s six-game winning run against the Magpies, defeating the Maroons by 58 points in bitterly cold conditions on Saturday night.
Despite the cold and greasy conditions, the standard of the match was high, a credit to both teams’ skill. The $5000 gate takings was also a surprise.
Another young gun made an impressive debut with Josh Dunkley, son of Sydney Swans 217-gamer Andrew, coming into the side when Jamie Sweeney pulled out of the selected team. Dunkley joined Bohdi Walker (2011) and Brad Wynd (1992) in making their senior debuts for Sale at the age of 15.
Dunkley is a real talent and was not overawed by the occasion.
Magpies coach Matt Ferguson has put a lot of work into pre-game prepartion to make certain the team begins well, which was the difference at Wonthaggi a week earlier, and on Saturday night they kicked three unanswered goals in the first term through Kane Martin, Kane Fraser and the pacy Justin Mitrevski, who looks a real find.
Mitch Davis was in everything up forward, making up for the absence of John Gooch, who could miss three weeks with a shoulder injury.
The Magpies’ defence, led by best-on-ground Jordan Dessent, only conceded 1.6 in the first half. The defenders were cool under pressure and hit targets in the greasy conditions.
Goals were hard to come by at the Macarthur St end, but Zac Petrovic kicked one of the goals of the match when he goaled from 50 metres out during the second quarter.
The Magpies led by 39 points at half-time before continuing that form in the second half to win 13.13 (91) to 4.9 (33). The Maroons’ score was their lowest against Sale since 1972.
A more accurate Fraser was good up forward, finishing with three goals, Mitrevski also handled the conditions well to kick three of his own. Ferguson and Corey Scholtes kicked two goals each.
Jack Lipman had a good ruck duel with Traralgon Joe Caldwell, while at ground level, Scholtes, Martin, Mitrevski and Luke Collins had plenty of the ball.
It was good to see Dylan McLaren back on the ground after missing more than a year due a shoulder injury, giving Lipman a rest.
The Maroons’ cause was not helped when they lost goal kicker Dan McKenna just before half-time to a knee injury. This continued their horror run of injuries.
Jackson Hall and Jack Doderico were good around the pack for Traralgon, while Drew McGrath also picked up kicks.
The exciting finish in the reserves match was a good build-up to the senior match with the Maroons hitting the front with a late goal before Steve Pollard snapped a major to give the Magpies a three-point win.
The Maroons won a low-scoring under 18s match, while the Magpies won the under 16s.
MAFFRA returned the winners’ list, proving too good for Bairnsdale on Saturday night.
The 55-point away victory kept the Eagles in third place on the Gippsland League ladder.
With Daniel Stubbe back to provide a spark in the forward line, it was Daniel Beddgood who took charge in attack, booting six goals.
Ben Coleman and Kel Porter helped to control procedings in the midfield, with Winston Gieschen, Josh Stubbe and Patrick Walker in form against a Redlegs attack which was missing captain James Gibbs.
The Eagles set the tone for the match by booting five goals to one in the first term.
After leading by 30 points at half-time, the visitors kicked six goals to three in the second half to win 15.13 (103) to 7.6 (48) and avoid a third successive loss for the first time since 2000.
Cameron Streeter and Paul Bills tried hard in defence for Bairnsdale, while Bayden Ashwood and Luke Dyer did their best to get things going in attack. Jason Waddell playing well on the wing and Russell Soulsby contributed in the ruck.
LEONGATHA took care of Warragul at home, winning by 60 points.
The Gulls challenged the undefeated Parrots during the first half before the home side run away with a 13-goal to five second half to win 22.11 (143) to 12.11 (83).
Jake Best continued his outstanding form, kicking six goals, while Colin Sanbrook led the way in defence.
Warragul was best served by its tall players, Mark Bradley and Matt Gray.
WONTHAGGI dominated against Drouin, winning by 57 points, 16.14 (110), 6.17 (53).
After leading by 16 points at quarter-time, the Power kicked 10 goals to three for the remainder of the match. Kicking 1.10 in the second half did not help the Hawks’ cause.
MOE recorded its first win of the season, defeating Morwell 10.8 (68) to 8.11 (59) on Sunday.
The Lions won a tight tussle after leading at each change. The Lions are just a win outside the top five.