SATURDAY’S Gippsland League football match of the day became a mismatch, with Moe too strong for Sale.
Sale was jumped in the first quarter at a slippery Ted Summerton Reserve, as Moe slammed on 4.3 (27) to no score.
From there, the Magpies played catch-up football and weren’t able to reel the margin back in, eventually going down 12.10 (82) to 5.6 (36).
A huge downpour on Friday night had players and spectators fearing the game would turn into a mud wrestle, however the ground held up reasonably well.
On a day where long-sleeved jumpers and chest marks were a feature, Moe made the ground appear big as it transitioned the ball forward, with metres gained the most important key performance indicator.
Lions skipper Jacob Wood personified the method of keeping the ball moving forward with a flying mid-air kick out of congestion in the third quarter.
The highly-anticipated midfield battle didn’t reach any great heights, as Moe’s Grady Cocksedge did a fine job blanketing Sale midfielder Shannen Lange for most of the game.
As the game wore on and Moe edged further ahead, arguably the most telling difference between the two sides was how the ball was transitioned inside 50.
The Lions were able to stay patient and wait for something to unfold, whereas the Magpies tended to bomb the ball long, which allowed Moe defenders like Declan Keilty and Scott Van Dyk to take multiple intercepts.
Sale’s rough day at the office was probably best summed up late in the final quarter, when the ball bounced over the head of Luke Di Ciero in the goal square and landed in the hands of Moe forward Kristian Jaksch, who accepted the easiest of gifts.
James Blaser was best-on-ground, while Cameron Manuel kicked four goals. Keilty, Van Dyk, Lucas Forato and Mitchell Stanlake also performed well. Best players for Sale were Will Leslie, Jamie Sweeney, Di Ciero, Jack McLindin, Nathan Whitford and Jack McLaren.
The reserves match produced a few talking points, with Melbourne Renegades wicketkeeper Brayden Stepien playing for Sale.
MAFFRA created unwanted history at Leongatha.
The Eagles’ final score of 1.6 (12) was the second lowest round five score in Gippsland League history, as they suffered a huge defeat to the Parrots, who scored 11.12 (78).
Players and coaches had no reason to suspect anything drastic was going to happen after quarter-time, when the Eagles led 1.2 (8) to one behind, however, the events which took place from then on were extraordinary.
Maffra registered only four more behinds for the remainder of the match, while Leongatha kicked 11 goals in the next three quarters.
Kim Drew led the way for the Parrots, and received good support from William Littlejohn and Jackson Harry.
Ben Brunt, Winston Gieschen, Lachlan Channing and Tom Gray were Maffra’s best in a tough day for the Eagles. While the Eagles were without key forwards Daniel Bedggood and John Butcher, no one in their right mind would have thought Maffra would only return one goal for an entire match.
On the other side of the coin, Leongatha’s outs were perhaps even more significant, as the Parrots didn’t have Cade Maskell, Cameron Olden or Luke Bowman. Given Leongatha is currently in third position and with a percentage of more of 200, the inclusion of the three players could paint a scary picture for opponents in weeks to come.
TRARALGON put together another strong performance, defeating Warragul by 34 points at home.
The Maroons won 11.11 (77) to 6.7 (43), making it three wins in their past three games to now site inside the top five.
Matt Northe was again prolific, racking up touches throughout the day. Connor Ambler and Nick Lowden also found plenty of the ball, while playing coach Jake Best kicked four goals.
Warragul battled hard but again found the going tough, with Sean Masterson, Mitch Nobelius and Tom Hobbs putting in honest efforts.
MORWELL again lost a close game.
The travelling Tigers fell 10 points short of Drouin, 7.6 (48) to 5.8 (38) – their third loss by under 10 points in five games so far this season.
The Hawks led at each change of ends, but only kicked one goal in the final quarter, which proved to be enough as the Tigers could only conjure up four behinds.
WONTHAGGI made it a very long trip home for Bairnsdale following a resounding 87-point victory, 19.13 (127) to 4.16 (40).
The Power caught the Redlegs napping in the first quarter, as it scored 7.3 (45) to 0.3 (3). There was no coming back from there for Bairnsdale, which had to play the remainder of the game out as best it could.
Troy Harley booted six goals for Wonthaggi, while Jack Blair and Mitch Hayes dominated.