STRATFORD powered away in the second half to record a 10-goal victory over Lindenow and all but stitch up the East Gippsland football minor premiership.
The impressive 16.9 (105) to 6.9 (45) victory sees Stratford hold a 12-point and significant percentage gap to second-placed Wy Yung with three rounds to play.
Aiming for a top two finish, the Cats were up to the challenge, pushing Stratford in the first term to go into quarter time just one point in arrears. But the Swans controlled proceedings from there, adding five goals in the second term to open up a handy 19-point buffer.
Despite only scoring one behind themselves, the Cats defended well in the third term and were hanging in, but the Swans put paid to any fightback with a six goal final term to run out 10-goal victors.
With Kieran O’Dwyer and Josh Kiss (three goals) kept relatively in check, Jack Bacon proved a livewire across half-forward, booting five goals in a best afield display. Josh Tollner is proving a handy addition to the side, booting two goals, while Michael Walker kicked a goal in his return to the side.
Liam Lemon continued his good form, while defender Lachie Heywood bobbed up in the forward line, booting a rare goal.
Midfielders Corey Scholtes, Jesse Broadbent and Kaine Allen set up attacking moves for the Swans, while Lewis Bolton provided plenty of drive. Lachlan Channing did his best work when managing to slip his opponent running forward, inflicting some scoreboard pain with two majors.
The Swans’ defence was also functioning well, with the Cats sourcing most of their goals from midfielders, Darren Allen the only multiple scorer with two goals.
Peter Jenner and Morgan Davies defended well, while Will Blackley, Todd Alexander and David Donchi did their best to keep the Cats in the game.
A SEVEN goal opening term set the tone for Wy Yung’s victory over Orbost-Snowy Rovers.
A further six goals in the third term was the impetus in Wy Yung’s 21.11 (137) to 9.5 (59) win, which moves the Tigers one game clear of Lindenow in second spot.
The Blues competed well in the second and final terms, matching the Tigers, and will rue the slow start. Forced to play catch-up football, the task of reeling in the Tigers proved too great.
Mark Sellings booted seven goals for the Tigers, while Daniel Perrin and Damien Pedder booted four goals each. Darby McCallum and Bryan Froud were named Tigers’ best.
Curtley Nettleton booted three goals for the Blues, while brother Hamish battled hard to stem the flow.
A STRONG first term helped deliver Paynesville the result it needed to remain in the finals race, accounting for Lucknow 15.10 (100) to 9.15 (69).
The Gulls booted six goals to one in the first quarter to set up the win, keeping the Magpies at bay for the remainder of the contest.
Keith Ritchie and Beau and Jack Haslam each booted three goals for the Gulls, receiving plenty of supply from midfielders David Ashworth, Jordan Farquhar, Brayden Radford and Damien Ashcroft.
Shaun Ryan and Tim Saunders each booted three goals for Lucknow, while midfielder Ash Smith was named the Magpies’ best.
LAKES Entrance had the bye.