Sam Anstee and Liam Durkin
SALE defeated Drouin by 24 points in round five action of Gippsland League football at Sale on Saturday.
A number of changes occurred from last week’s side that defeated Traralgon – the Dowse twins and Cooper Whitehill (off at under 16 Victoria Country) were unavailable, but the inclusion of bottom-age thirds player Daniel Byron in his debut match for Sale seniors, and Will Leslie, who was returning from injury, bolstered Sale heading into the clash.
The billing of second versus third brought plenty of anticipation to the game, for spectators and players alike.
While conditions weren’t conducive to great football, the match was played with great intensity and spirit.
Sale kicked the first two goals, and, in what set the day’s tone for the forward group, a strong tackle and bump from Brad Dessent gave him his first for the day.
A smart snap goal from Jarrod Freeman would see Drouin lift its intensity, and when Hawks legend Bob McCallum kicked a goal right on the quarter time break, the visitors gained momentum to hold onto a five point lead.
An unfortunate incident occurred early in the second quarter, holding up play – a Drouin player was stretchered off after being on the blindside of a fair tackle by Jack McLindin in the centre of the ground.
McLindin showed great decency when he saw the state of the player, immediately calling for assistance – a testament to both teams who played the game with a high level of respect.
When proceedings resumed, Freeman would be on the end of a long Tom Hams kick, and kicked truly.
The signs were ominous for the Magpies, but Drouin did not relent – Sale’s inaccuracy keeping the Hawks interested.
Brad Dessent would be on the end of a clean gather from Jack McLaren after a strong tackle by Jackson Glenane – the big forward again getting on the end of another via a beautiful clearance by brother Jordan.
Jack Lipman was causing headaches for Drouin – his contest with McCallum particularly enthralling.
Lipman’s mark behind play and long kick saw Jayden Allison rove brilliantly, but despite Sale’s efforts, its half time lead of two points didn’t do justice to how many opportunities its players were creating.
A strong contest by Daine McGuiness and follow up sharp hands would see Jack Allman kick a banana goal to start the third quarter.
A strong mark and goal from Brad Dessent would see the ascendancy go to the Magpies, but Drouin were relentless, capitalising on Sale’s mistakes in front of goal.
A shot after the siren from Freeman would go behind the stick, and the margin sat at six points.
Brad Dessent was looking dangerous for the Magpies – when he wasn’t marking in aerial contests, he was creating plenty of opportunities to the Magpies’ smaller players, and he would kick the Magpies’ first of the last.
Sale coach Shane Fyfe took a strong mark on the wing, handing the ball to first gamer Byron, who moved it slickly to John Gooch.
The big man used his speed to nail a long goal from 55.
Sale was suddenly hitting its straps, and a smart tap from Freeman found the elusive running Kane Martin – the veteran cool under pressure as he snapped on the run to seal the game for the Magpies.
Jack McLaren would kick two late goals – the first from an electric clearance and the second through pure work rate, as he followed up a centre clearance to kick truly on the run from 40 metres out.
At the final siren, it was Sale 14.16 (100) over Drouin 12.4 (76).
The final margin of 24 points left the Magpies at four wins and one loss – securely positioned in second spot headed into the bye this weekend.
The form of Brad Dessent was on show – his five goals were good reward for his efforts in the forward line.
Jarrod Freeman was again elusive and showed good pressure at ground level.
Jack McLaren was scintillating all day; his skills on both sides of his body and composure as a first year senior player culminated in his best game for the season.
Midfielders Kane Martin, Jordan Dessent and Jayden Allison kept the ascendancy over the Hawks.
In defence, coach Shane Fyfe was solid, while the athletic efforts of Zac Hurley and return of Will Leslie gave the Sale back six a different look, and enabled them to work the ball well from the back half.
This week, the league has a bye because of the interleague clash in the AFL Victoria Community Championships, but a top of the table clash at Moe the week following will certainly give this Magpies group a clear indication of exactly where it is at for season 2019.
MAFFRA got back to basics with a win over Warragul in its round five match of Gippsland League football.
Any confidence the Gulls gained following their win over Leongatha the previous week evaporated quickly, as the Eagles slammed on six goals to none in the opening term.
Maffra stretched its lead out to 50 points by the main break, as its defence proved impossible to penetrate.
Warragul could only manage one goal in the first three quarters before some consolidation goals in the last reduced the final margin to 64 points.
Andrew Petrou kicked four goals for the Eagles to be named in the best, along with Tom Jolly and the Carr brothers, Ed and Alex.
On a day where the Gulls were brought back to reality, Kim Drew, Sam Whibley and Shaun Beecroft put in commendable efforts.
BAIRNSDALE gave its home crowd something to cheer about, handing Moe its first loss for the season.
Having run second in a number of close matches to start the 2019 season, the Redlegs would have felt some justice in their eight point victory over the Lions.
The first half provided a good showing of fast, free-flowing football, as both sides went into the half time break with nine goals to their name.
The match tightened in the second half, as both sides enjoyed periods of dominance, as momentum ebbed and flowed.
In the finish, Bairnsdale was able to preserve its three quarter time lead, doing enough to hold on for its second win of the season.
Kieran Vickery was judged best for the Redlegs, with his four goals telling.
Brayden McCarrey also continued his strong start to the season, kicking three to take his season tally to 20.
Dylan Farrell played a mighty game for Moe, and was assisted well by Jordan Ceppi and Scott Van Dyk.
TRARALGON broke through for its first win in 2019, getting the points over Wonthaggi.
The match was a fairly dour affair, with only 10 goals kicked by both teams for the entire game.
After leading at quarter time, the Maroons were able to do enough as the match progressed, to win by 14 points.
Running machine Haydn Hector was best on for Traralgon, along with Connor Little and Cameron Whiteoak.
Aiden Lindsay, Fergus O’Connor and Steven Scott were Wonthaggi’s best.
LEONGATHA did what it had to do, defeating Morwell in what was the Parrots’ first win in three weeks.
Leongatha burst the game open in the first term, kicking seven goals straight to shellshock the Tigers.
The Parrots quietened down after their high octane start, as Morwell slowly made inroads into the deficit.
The Tigers cut the margin to 26 points at half time, and reduced it further to 20 points by three quarter time.
A war of attrition ensued in the final quarter, as Leongatha kicked the only goal for the term to eventually win by 28 points.
Best players for the winners were Cameorn Olden, Chris Verboon and Justin Pellicano, whilst Zach Anderson, Anthony Rosato and Isaac Abas played well for Morwell.