Sale, Bairnsdale to battle under lights

SALE can’t afford to underestimate Bairnsdale at home on Saturday night.

The match, beginning at 6.20pm, is part of second and final split round of the Gippsland League football season.

The Magpies will be looking to rebound from their loss at Leongatha.

That 76-point loss pushed the Magpies out of the top five.

With a tight battle for fifth spot, dropping tomorrow night’s match against the eight-placed Redlegs will hamper the Magpies’ finals chances.

Injuries have again reared their head in the Sale camp. Coach Travis Ronaldson and Tom Hams both left the field with leg injuries within the first five minutes of last weekend’s match.

The Redlegs has also been plagued by injuries this year, last year’s club best-and-fairest Stephen Henshaw and David Donchi among the victims.

Bairnsdale has lost its past eight matches against the Magpies at Sale, a streak running back to 1994.

In the nine home and away matches between the teams since the Redlegs returned from the East Gippsland league in 2011, the Magpies have been victorious eight times.

In round six, the teams were close in three of the four terms, but Bairnsdale let Sale get away in the third quarter allowing the Magpies to win by 23 points.

A LOT rests on Saturday afternoon’s match between Drouin and Morwell.

The Hawks moved into the top five with victory at Moe, a game clear of sixth-placed Sale and Morwell in seventh. A win tomorrow, and a loss for Sale, will have the Hawks sitting more comfortable in fifth place.

The Tigers were out-classed at home by ladder leader Maffra, trailing from start to finish. The 62-point loss pushed the Tigers to seventh on the ladder.

Earlier this season, the Hawks highlighted their improvement this year with their biggest win at Morwell, 24 points.

A WIN at Traralgon will move Wonthaggi past the Maroons into the top three.

The third-placed Maroons are a win ahead of the Power, which has a superior percentage. Both sides are outside chances to claim top spot.

The Maroons last weekend notched a fourth successive win, thumping Bairnsdale by 92 points.

Wonthaggi has won its past two matches, last weekend defeating Warragul by 80 points.

These teams have a habit of playing close games. The Power won the round six contest by 12 points, while their meeting at Traralgon last year was a draw.

THE split round will conclude next weekend with Maffra at home to face Moe, and Warragul travelling to Leongatha.