Strong start sets up Sale

SALE asserted its authority over Morwell from the first bounce and had the game all wrapped up by quarter-time to record its 10th win of the Gippsland League football season.

The Tigers were made to look listless in the opening term and could only watch on as the Magpies converted six of 10 scoring shots to lead by 39 at the first break. The Magpies went on to win at home by 79 points, 16.17 (113) to 5.4 (34).

The eighth ranked Tigers were hoping to break a losing streak at the “Nest” that dated back to 2010, in similar ideal conditions to when the two teams met earlier in the year in Morwell, the question was whether the smaller Tigers could get enough of the ball to push the stronger Magpies. It was the Magpies who broke the game open early, kicking into the slightest of breeze, by the eight minute mark three majors were on the board.

The Tigers were scrambling to match-up on Magpies key position players Brad Dessent and John Gooch, who were looking dangerous, both kicking early goals. This was freeing up Jarrad Freeman, who was playing an important part as a lead up forward.

The Tigers couldn’t register a goal in the opening term, as the Magpies, through a long goal on the siren by Jordan Dessent, opened up a six-goal lead to by 39 points at quarter-time.

The game was getting played in Sale’s front half, with the Magpie press in full effect, Morwell was forced to stay composed by foot, limiting any risk, most Tiger forward entries were quickly transferred across the ground, with Sale defenders Lachie Ronchi, Jack Mapleson and Shane Fyfe managing to spread well from behind and get the ball forward.

Accurate goal kicking saw Sale register four goals for the quarter, including a perfect shot by under 18s player Max Reeves.

Morwell gained a lucky goal over the back to score its first with Sale leading by 56 points at half-time.

Shots for goal were wayward from the Magpies to begin the third quarter, Jordan Dowsett missed under pressure from the top of the square, with Freeman and Brad Dessent also missing set shots.

With tensions rising and a few melees breaking out, it was clear the Tigers were frustrated. A lack of rotations through injuries on the day, and the Magpies dominance on the ground saw the Tigers fall further behind on the scoreboard.

The Magpies had injury concerns of their own, with coach Fyfe suffering a head knock, while Brad Dessent limped off to only return shortly after.

While the medical team was busy, the strength of Jordan Dessent, Chris Laverty and Mitch Dowse around the ball and the running play of Jayden Allison, Kane Martin and Brad McKay on the field was outstanding.

The constant entries gave the Magpies’ forwards every opportunity, but errant kicking for goal cost them a greater lead — three goals and 10 behinds was not a great reward for effort.

With Sale leading by 77 points at three-quarter-time, both teams faded into the final term, but Jack Lipman still stood tall. Lipman had a mammoth 107 hit-outs for the game, including 30 in the fourth, ensuring that the advantage through the midfield was going the Magpies’ way.

While the Magpies were comfortably in front, the cue had definitely gone into the rack, with the intensity of the game over the spectacle wasn’t at its peak, skill errors from both teams meant the game drifted along.

The Magpies and the Tigers kicked three goals each to finish the game.

Lipman’s hit-outs, particularly to advantage, ensured midfielders like Jordan Dessent and Mitch Dowse could gain easier access to forward thrusts.

Kane Martin, Brad McKay and Jayden Allison were dominant over the ground, with their abilities to find space, use the ball and break the lines breaking the Tigers apart.

Gooch ran rampant up forward, kicking four goals, while his work rate and ability to take contested marks were highlights. Gooch was ably-supported by Jarrod Freeman and Brad Dessent. With Jack Mapleson prominent across half-back, fellow defender Lachie Ronchi’s foot skills were on show all day.

“I felt our younger players played really well and stepped up. Some of our 21-and-under players who haven’t played a lot of senior footy, but they played their role really well and that helped the team,” he said.

The result was four points for the home team, a percentage boost and consolidation on a potential top three finish. The win means Sale stays two games clear of Moe and in touch of ladder leaders Maffra and Leongatha, but Fyfe said there had been little talk of finals in the Magpies’ camp.

“We want to get through the next three and then reassess, but we’re probably getting to the stage of trying to work out what our best side looks like, so the players need to be on their guard and need to do everything right to stay in the side,” he said.

TRARALGON coach Mark Collison said it was time the Maroons “returned to our best footy” ahead of Saturday’s clash with Wonthaggi, and his side did just that.

The Maroons brushed aside the Power with relative ease, winning 11.11 (77) to 5.8 (38) at home.

“We wanted to get back to better footy (and) I thought we did that. Overall, it as a good, consistent performance I thought, which was pleasing,” Collison said.

The round 13 fixture was a must-win for the Maroons in their hunt for a finals berth, and they remain in fifth place, ahead of Warragul on percentage.

Defender Adrian Slottje made a triumphant return for the Maroons in game 100 after more 12 months out.

“Adrian had a knee reconstruction and he was exceptional down back. He went really well and didn’t look out of place at all, so it’s going to be really exciting the next four or five weeks because without a doubt he is one of the best players in the competition when he’s up and going,” Collison said.

Bailey Cameron enjoyed a stand-out game for the Maroons down back, while Collison said Tate Marsh “was awesome” on the wing.

WARRAGUL led at Drouin at every change on Sunday to win by 32 points to conclude the split round.

There was no joy for Hawk Bob McCallum in game 200 as the Gulls skipped to a 23-point lead at the first break.

Brayden Fowler and Nathaniel Paredes were on song for Warragul, kicking three goals each in stand-out performances.

The win helps Warragul move three games clear in sixth place on the  ladder.