Sale victory in Footprints footy

Sale toppled a previously unbeaten Maffra in the “Battle of the Birds” Gippsland League round 10 clash at Maffra, winning by 37 points, 11.5 (71) to 3.16 (34).

It was the first time Sale had won at Maffra since 2014, breaking a seven game winning streak, and in doing so, the Magpies managed to keep the Eagles to their lowest score since 1991.

Both teams on paper weren’t at their absolute best, with the Eagles missing Sam Pleming, Michael Coleman and Tom Jolly through injury, whilst Alex Carr (VFL duties) and Sam Walker through work commitments were also unavailable.

The Magpies had late withdrawals in Jack Mapleson and Brad Dessent through injury, and Zac Hurley called out to Gippsland Power.

This didn’t prevent the typical intensity and feeling the Sale-Maffra match generates, as both teams looked to exert their influence on a windy day at Maffra Recreation Reserve.

Andrew Petrou got the Eagles off to a good start, a mark from a turnover saw him slot the first goal for the match.

The game was a stranglehold for the first part until the Magpies, through a free kick and subsequent good shot on goal by Jordan Dowsett, got on the board.

Despite this, it was the Eagles who were controlling play, mainly through the efforts of Jarryd Clohesy, in charge of any Sale exits.

The Eagles’ efforts were in vain as they kicked inaccurately, four points in a row saw them lead at quarter-time by four, as both teams couldn’t register another goal.

In the second quarter, the Eagles started the momentum, with a strong pack mark by Petrou leading to another behind.

While the Eagles were moving the ball nicely — Lachy Channing and Ed Carr gaining lots of possessions — it was the Magpies who were making a difference on the scoreboard.

Maffra’s Hudson Holmes was sent off for abusive language, and the Magpies seized the opportunity to capitalise.

Sale’s Lachie Ronchi, courtesy of a lucky bounce, kicked a goal from the centre square, and Ryan Pendlebury, returning to the side for the weekend from VFL, kicked another from 55 metres out.

A lead up, mark and goal to hard-working Jarrod Freeman and suddenly Sale was opening up a handy break.

Jack Lipman was influential around the ground, his strong marking and clever tap work gave the Magpies the first opportunity.

Things went from bad to worse for the Eagles, when a long chase by Sean Day saw him limp off with a hamstring injury, testing the rotations Maffra had in place.

 A turnover followed, and Freeman passed to Allison, resulting in the fourth goal for the quarter, for a lead of 21 at the main break.

Maffra coach Wayne Butcher made some changes — Jack Johnstone went deep forward while Dan Bedggood slipped into the backline — this seemed to help, as again it was the Eagles who started well, but the home side couldn’t get that breakthrough to put the pressure back on.

A point meant Sale, through Ronchi, Olly Collins and a forward entry from Chris Laverty to Jordan Dowsett kicked the opening goal.

The Eagles began to get their hands on the ball, Danny Butcher and Ed Carr again providing enough in the middle but it was Sale who were getting the breakthroughs, and when Freeman passed to Allison again, the margin jumped out to 31 points.

A long shot by Johnstone and another by Channing courtesy of a turnover hit the post — symptomatic of the Eagles on the day.

The Magpies went to the other end through Allison again, who kicked another goal.

A defensive effort by Sale’s Andrew Quirk saw the ball fall to Eagles’ Mitch Bennett — he capped off a long, quick entry by Kade Renooy by snapping truly, it was reward for effort, as the Eagles were gaining plenty of forward entries.

The margin at three-quarter-time had grown again, the Magpies leading by 28 points.

Coach Wayne Butcher was composed at three- quarter-time; despite the match scenario, his words were concise.

Maffra’s last quarters had been their best and Sale would have been aware of the need to keep their pressure up, as Maffra had been in similar situations in the past, a win was not beyond them.

Mitch Bennett responded with the first goal for the Eagles.

His battle with Nic Dowse was intriguing; while Dowse had kept Bennett relatively quiet so far, he now looked very dangerous.

As Bennett loomed large, and with Bedggood forward again, the Eagles were coming, but again they let themselves down with poor kicking at goal.

A strong turnover spoil by Chris Laverty saw the ball bounce back to him, the snap goal from 35 probably broke the camel’s back.

A Jackson Glenane entry saw Freeman kick another and the margin went out to 32 points again, and it was game over.

Sale would kick another when Fyfe hit a running Allison, and Gooch juggled a mark, the siren sounded shortly after and the crowd had seen a good game of pressure football; Sale winning by 37 points

Sale coach Fyfe congratulated the players, praising their pressure and work around the stoppages.

“We haven’t won there since 2014, so I’m just happy that we had a plan and executed it pretty well,” Fyfe said later.

“We were able to hit the scoreboard better than them, and they kicked a few behinds, but it didn’t feel like that with them.

“In the last [quarter] they kicked the first goal and had a couple of opportunities, but around the footy conditions were pretty tough and our midfielders played well.

“But it was just a real hard contest and we had to be quite accountable against them, if you give them time and space they’ll cut you apart, they’re such a good side.”

The match, which was accompanied by a function run by the Footprints Foundation, awarded the best player medal to Jack Lipman, who responded well from last week’s defeat taking strong marks and giving Sale plenty of first use in the ruck, whilst the Carter Hill Medal went to Jayden Allison for his three goals and multitude of disposals as a midfielder.

In the Eagles best were Jack Johnstone, Ed Carr, Butcher and Channing, who gave the Eagles plenty of run and carry through the middle, whilst James Huts battled hard down back despite illness.

Chris Laverty played another solid game for Sale through the middle, with Quirk and Jamie Sweeney effective down back — their shut down and intercept efforts a highlight.

Freeman, through hard work, was prominent on the day and Dowsett showed glimpses of his talent and defensive efforts as a forward.

The win gives the Magpies (third) a two game break on Moe and Traralgon, who they face in the next two matches, whilst the Eagles, who would lament their poor kicking, still sit clear atop the ladder.

A SIX-GOAL second term has helped Traralgon move a game clear of Moe on the Gippsland League senior ladder, with a win over Bairnsdale in round 10, 19.12 (126) to 7.5 (47).

Traralgon playing-coach Mark Collison said the Maroons had emerged “a better side” after a “down patch” of three consecutive losses and a “frustrating” defeat to Maffra in round eight.

Connor Ambler was key through the midfield and added two goals for the Maroons in the win over Bairnsdale, as did Jay Neagle, Cory Stockdale, Mitch Mustoe and Lee Stockdale.

Traralgon come up against defending premiers Leongatha in round 11, and after disposing of the Parrots in round two, Collison said the side was “feeling confident”.

THE journey to Drouin was no problem for Moe, which moved a game clear in fifth position on the Gippsland League ladder with a mammoth 93-point win over the Hawks in round 10, 21.13 (139) to 7.6 (46)

No less than 13 players hit the scoreboard for the Lions in the win — a facet of the game coach James Blaser was rapt with.

Moe will make the trip to Sale in the headlining match of round 11, while Drouin will face ladder leaders Maffra.

WARRAGUL have dealt a blow to Morwell’s hopes of a post-season berth and move two games clear of the Tigers, after recording a 22-point win on Saturday, 9.16 (70) to 6.12 (48).

For the Gulls, the victory keeps them in touch with the top five — just a game off the pace of Moe in fifth.

Electric midfielder Nathaniel Paredes was key for the Gulls in the win, and finished with two goals, as did Tyssen Morrow and Brayden Fowler.

The Tigers will hit the road to face Bairnsdale in round 11 while Warragul will host Wonthaggi.

DEFENDING premiers Leongatha continued their march towards finals in 2018 with an easy win over Wonthaggi on Sunday, 8.9 (57) to 3.5 (23).

Many of the usual suspects reared for the Parrots, including Chris Dunne and John Ginnane, who each bagged three goals, and Josh Schelling, who was again instrumental down back.

Leongatha come up against Traralgon in round 11 action this weekend while Wonthaggi travel to take on Warragul.