CLOSE games highlighted round nine of East Gippsland football, with three of the matches decided by less than 10 points.
Stratford’s winning run came to an end at the hands of Wy Yung, which managed to have its nose in front at the final siren by nine points, 10.11 (71) to 9.8 (62).
A high scoring opening quarter saw both sides kick five goals before the Swans managed to head into the main break with a one-goal lead.
In the second half, neither side could manage to break away with any momentum, with Wy Yung ahead by just two points at the final change.
Just the one goal was kicked in the final term by the Tigers, but it proved to be enough, as they were able to record a confidence-boosting win on the road.
The victory puts Wy Yung equal in fourth alongside Lucknow, with only 0.49 percentage points separating them, while Stratford remains outright third.
Best players were Alex Crowe, James Beha and James Young for the Tigers, and Jordan Robertson, Ethan Albrecht and Lachlan Heywood for the Swans.
BOISDALE-BRIAGOLONG kept its unbeaten run intact, but nearly paid the price for inaccuracy in front of goal at home against a determined Lucknow.
The Bombers broke away from the Magpies in the second term to take a 26-point lead at half-time, and kept the deficit hovering around the same margin heading into the fourth.
By three-quarter-time, Boisdale-Briagolong had 23 scoring shots to 12, but could only manage a return of 7.16 (58) for its efforts.
Lucknow came hard in the final 20 minutes, scoring five goals, but the Bombers did enough in the finish with three final term goals of their own to record an eight-point victory, 10.18 (78) to 10.10 (70).
Best players in the win were Patrick St John, David McKean and Shay Ferguson, while for Lucknow, Joel McNamara, Dion Grace and James Sanford were best.
PAYNESVILLE almost suffered a huge choke in its match against Orbost-Snowy Rovers.
Leading by 34 points at the final change, the Gulls came close to torching the game when they allowed the Blues to kick five goals to one in the fourth quarter. Fortunately for Paynesville, the siren sounded before Orbost-Snowy Rovers could continue its onslaught, and it got home by nine points, 12.11 (83) to 11.8 (74).
If the match was played on a monopoly board, Paynesville would have definitely used a get-out-of-jail card, after it dominated proceedings for the first three quarters, leading at every change by sizeable margins.
Jack Haslam was best afield for the winners, kicking five goals, and received good support from Mitchell Willmott and Ashley Pescod. Hamish Nettleton, with four goals, was best for the Blues, along with Cody Robertson and Bobby Marshall who were serviceable.
LINDENOW was awarded the four points over Lakes Entrance in what was another traumatic game for the Seagulls.
With the Cats leading by 35 points during the third quarter, Lakes Entrance player Jordan Cullen was seriously injured, so much so the game had to be called off.
Under AFL Victoria rules, if a match is abandoned after half-time, the game is still declared official, meaning Lindenow was victorious – 7.7 (49) to 2.2 (14) – although no further score was added after the main break.
The situation was the second time a Lakes Entrance player has been serious injured this season, after William Virgil (Junior) Puruntatameri suffered a heart attack in round one.
Jeremy Woodward, Conor Harvey and Angus Fortune were Lindenow’s best, while Fraser Dostine, Michael Anson and Cullen, who was playing well before the incident, all performed admirably for Lakes Entrance.