Maroons out-run by Maffra

David Braithwaite

RELATED: Magpies hold off Gulls     Parrots win big at Bairnsdale

MAFFRA kicked 12 goals to two in the second half to hamper Traralgon’s quest for a spot in the Gippsland League football finals.

The Eagles won a scrappy match at home on Saturday by 78 points, 16.15 (111) to 5.3 (33).

The Eagles remain on top of the ladder, ahead of Leongatha and Sale on percentage. With the Parrots and Magpies playing each other in the final round this Saturday, the Eagles will have to defeat Moe to claim the minor premiership.

Traralgon is still in fifth position, with a better percentage keeping them there ahead of Warragul. The Maroons will have to defeat Morwell on Saturday to secure their spot in the finals.

In his 200th senior game, midfielder Kel Porter was best-on-ground, relishing the damp conditions.

Kieran Jones had the better of the ruck contests, giving his teammates first use of the ball at stoppages.

Porter and Jones were major factors in the Eagles’ dominance of the centre clearance count.

Mitch Bennett out-scored Traralgon off his own boot, finishing with seven goals, while teammate Kade Renooy kicked three.

Lachlan Channing also provided a strong link between the midfield and forward line.

Sam Pleming and James Huts were outstanding in defence, making many contested marks and spoiling Traralgon making attempts.

The Eagles were restricted early, as the Maroons kicked the first goal through Jackson McMahon six minutes in.

Twenty minutes into the term, Ed Carr took a mark going with the flight of the ball at half-back.

This began a chain of possessions which ended by with Bennett kicking the Eagles’ first goal.

The Eagles controlled the second half of the first quarter, but couldn’t adjust their kicking for goal with the cross breeze.

A Porter spoil and gather set-up Bennett’s second goal to give the Eagles a 10-point advantage at quarter-time.

The margin increased slightly to 11 points by the main break after both sides kicked two goals during the second term.

Opposition pressure and a short shower saw neither team being able to create fluent passages of play.

A heavier downpour at half-time made things more interesting.

The Maroons kicked the opening goal of the third term to reduce the deficit to six points.

Daniel Bedggood kicked a goal after receiving a favourable bounce to restore the Eagles’ 12-point advantage.

The ball was in the Eagles’ forward half for most of the quarter, driven by consecutive centre clearances, as Bennett added two goals and Renooy one to see the home side leading by 31 points at the final change.

Maffra ran out the match strongly in the fourth quarter, kicking eight goals to one, adding vital percentage points.

Haydn Hector worked hard to stem the tide in the midfield for the Maroons, while half-forward Conor Little and full back Adam Jaensch had their moments.