THE screws holding the Gippsland League ladder together were tightened at the weekend.

A quartet of teams went equal on points after Round 11 action, while only one win separates second from seventh.

MAFFRA climbed to fourth on the ladder.

The Eagles broke away from Bairnsdale after an even first half, running away with the match in the end to win 18.14 (122) to 5.8 (38).

Knowing percentage may well determine its finals fate, Maffra kicked five goals to one in the last quarter to see the margin bleed out to 84-points.

Very little separated the sides at quarter time at Bairnsdale City Oval, with Maffra only one point ahead.

The Eagles did most of their groundwork in the second, adding five goals to one, which set them up for the resumption once the respective sides re-entered the field of play.

Maffra successfully put the stops on Redlegs livewire Brayden McCarrey, who was held goalless for just the third time this season.

The Eagles defence of David Adams, James Read and James Huts seem to know how to play McCarrey well, as he has not kicked a goal on both occasions against Maffra this season.

Hudson Holmes was again best on ground for the victors, and received good support from partner in crime Kade Renooy.

Others to play well were Lachlan Channing, Ben Brunt, Ryan Auld and Danny Butcher.

For Bairnsdale, Kieran Vickery, Logan Austin, Andrew Nelson, Simon Deery, Daniel Preston and Charles Mein battled manfully.

While finals might still be mathematically possible, you can just about put a red line through the Redlegs for season 2022, who have now lost nine games.

Historically speaking, in a 10-team Gippsland League competition, you can’t lose more than eight games in order to qualify for finals.

SALE proved its capability against Leongatha.

Despite going down 13.4 (82) to 9.10 (64), the Magpies more than held their own against the best team in the competition, and will surely take plenty of stock out of the performance.

Travelling to Parrot Park, the visitors kicked against the scoring end, and saw their opponents slot five goals to start proceedings.

Sale however then had its turn, and was able to score four goals to go into half-time only two points behind.

The combatants traded blows in the third, each managing two goals, to see the margin exactly the same at three quarter time as it was at the main break.

Leongatha though was able to finish strongly, and bookended its game with as many goals in the last quarter as it had in the first.

Ned Hanily played well for the Parrots, as did Ben Willis, Aaron Hillberg, Jack Ginnane, Travis Nash and Kim Drew in his first senior game for the season.

Best for Sale was Lachlan Todd, Cooper Whitehill, Brad Dessent (four goals), Jack Leslie, Shannen Lange and Mitch Bown.

Having lost to the two top teams in the last fortnight by a point (Wonthaggi) and now 18-points, the Magpies will feel confident knowing they are close enough to beat any team in the competition.

In the back of their mind, Sale might be welcoming the chance to get a South Gippsland team on a dry Latrobe Valley ground on a hot September day – conditions surely more suited to a Wellington-based team.

ELSEWHERE, Morwell emerged as a genuine finals contender after defeating Moe.

The Tigers had the better of the Lions, winning 13.16 (94) to 13.6 (84).

Ill-discipline certainly cost Moe, who gave Morwell consecutive shots on goal from 50 metre penalties in the last quarter.

The Lions are well and truly in a tailspin, having lost five of their last six games to drop from second to sixth on the ladder in that time.

Morwell meanwhile has slowly but surely tracked closer to the top five, and is now only out by percentage.

Ryan Hearn was best for the Tigers at the weekend, along with Brandon Mcauliffe, Tristen Waak, Brandon McDonald, Dan Musil, and the man with the ball drop that defies they laws of physics, Cody Macdonald.

Moe found solid contributions from Trent Baldi, Grady Cocksedge, Justin Morrow (four goals), Ben Morrow, Declan Keilty and Brock Smith.

TRARALGON remained a game clear in third after easily accounting for Drouin.

The Maroons did as most predicted, stretching their lead to a 14.19 (103) to 7.5 (47) victory at the finish.

Coach Jake Best and captain Dylan Loprese each kicked four in the win, and had good support from Conor Little, Liam Farley, Tom Schneider, Mark Collison and Luis D’Angelo.

Outgoing Drouin coach Jordan Kingi was best for the Hawks.

Kingi recently announced he would be stepping down at season’s end, having coached for the last five seasons.

Replacing him will be Brent Clinnick, who has been an assistant coach at Phillip Island in the last three years.

WONTHAGGI won by three figures against Warragul.

The Power slammed on seven goals to one in the second term, and a further six to none in the third to see itself to a 21.9 (135) to 5.4 (34) win.

Jordan Staley sent through half a dozen majors and was named best on for his effort. Others to play well for Wonthaggi were Ryan Sparkes, Noah Anderson and Andrew Murray.

Nick Graham, Sam Whibley and Lucas Monacella persisted for the Gulls.