YOU could have sworn Wayne Butcher was still coaching Maffra.

The Eagles showcased the hallmarks that saw them win five senior premierships under Butcher at the weekend, as they mercilessly destroyed Moe 27.7 (169) to 6.8 (44).

While Maffra might have a new coach in Anthony Robbins, those watching the game at Maffra Recreation Reserve on Saturday could have been forgiven for thinking they were watching the Eagles of old.

It was all there for Maffra: Tons of pressure, numbers at the ball, run from behind, handball chains, high scoring, and a ruthless hard edge – the last perhaps being the most telling.

At quarter time the score was 27 to two behinds – at the six minute mark of the second it was 45 to two behinds.

Not one to rest on their laurels, Maffra kept their standards high for the entirety of the contest.

Danny Butcher kicks to brother John, who finished with seven goals in Maffra’s big win over Moe.

A tackle from Tom Jolly on Lions skipper Jacob Wood denied the latter a scoring opportunity just before the half-time siren, while at the other end, a bone crunching effort from Daniel Bedggood saw the dreadlocked dynamo rewarded with a holding the ball decision in front of goal at a time when the margin was well over triple figures.

Speaking of dreadlocks, Maffra midfielder Danny Butcher was almost unrecognisable without his. The older Butcher, John, kicked seven goals.

Butcher’s effort was backed up by Mitch Bennett (five goals) and Tom Thatcher (four).

Moe threw the magnets around for the last quarter, sending Matt Heywood into the middle along with Trent Baldi and Harri Sim. The Lions managed to get some good looks going forward. A link-up play involving Lucas Fry getting a deep entry to eventual goal kicker Nathan Wheildon provided something to applaud.

Baldi and Sim were best on for the Lions, while Ben Morrow, Wood, Grady Cocksedge and McGrath battled manfully.

John Butcher was in the best for the winners, as was Kade Renooy, Alex Carr, Bedggood, Dylan Alexander and Hudson Holmes.

Victorious coach Anthony Robbins said it was good to see everything come together.

“It is all down to the players, their work rate. They had promised to play like that at times during the year, and everything worked well today. They did play a really good style of footy I felt,” he said.

“The way we moved the footy, the way we defended, then the way we got separation inside forward 50, our forward structure worked really well.”

Having gone from an honest side to a potential top three side in the fortnight, Robbins highlighted a few areas he felt had led to this improvement.

“I think it is just a bit of self-belief, following the structure and the process, and trusting each other and really working together,” he said.

“I think our ball use is the other thing, we have cleaned that up a lot, that has probably been the key thing.”

With their sudden change in form, Robbins said it was important to keep things in perspective.

“We won’t get carried away, we know there is still some quality opposition around. Moe were very undermanned with a lot of injuries, quality footballers out, with all of those players in that Moe side, the result would look very different,” he said.

“No one can play their best footy when they have that many people out. We are very pleased with the way we are playing footy, but there is some good footy sides out there that we’ll need to play just as well, if not better, to get close to and get over.”

The Lions are well and truly the walking wounded at present, with no less than 12 senior players on the sidelines.

Heading the list are James Blaser, Tyson Biffin, Harry Pepper, Scott Van Dyk, Ben Maslen, Tom Long, Matt Barrand, Dylan Brooks, and now playing-coach Declan Keilty, who was added to the casualty ward at the weekend.

A tale of two Ben’s is seen in this photo, as Maffra’s Ben Brunt lines up on the left, while Moe ruckman Ben Morrow is on his hunches in the background.

Speaking to long time Moe supporters, they cannot recall a season that has seen so many players go down.

While some might argue a long injury list does not excuse a 125-point loss, in fairness to Moe, the players sitting out do leave gaping holes.

Blaser is a league best-and-fairest winner, Long an interleague rep, Biffin a VFL player, and Keilty and Pepper AFL players.

Pepper was leading the league goal-kicking early in the season, and Keilty is arguably the best intercept mark in the competition.

To have both bookends not playing certainly leaves a side vulnerable.

SALE shook off a determined Bairnsdale.

The Redlegs took their underdog status to Sale Oval, and competed admirably for a half before the Magpies went on their way to record a 50-point win.

Just two goals was the difference at the main break, but Sale then kicked 10 goals to five to win 19.22 (136) to 13.8 (86).

Spectators were treated to a pretty high scoring game that saw Brad Dessent nail five for the winners. Sale midfield gun Shannen Lange kicked four in a best on ground display, and received good support from Mitch Bown, Will Leslie, Jack Leslie and Jesse Collins.

Sale’s Ryan Pendlebury in action against Bairnsdale.

A familiar face also kicked three on Sale Oval, but unfortunately for the Magpies, he was wearing a Bairnsdale jumper, that being John Gooch.

The game had the makings of shootout at quarter time, as 10 goals were on the board, but the work of Sale’s defenders in keeping Gooch and Brayden McCarrey quiet ensured the Magpies kept their opponents in-check.

Bairnsdale was well-served by Austin Hodge, Randall Stewart and Ricky Tatnell.

All in all, Sale got out of the match what it needed, with a near 10-goal win keeping it on track to gain a double chance come finals.

THEY can’t put a foot wrong at Morwell lately.

The Tigers made it three wins in a row, and five out of their last six, after defeating Traralgon 10.12 (72) to 7.14 (56) in Round 12 of the Gippsland League.

In what was arguably Morwell’s best win for the season, defeating the third-ranked team, the Tigers led from start to finish, and are now all of a sudden only two points off second spot.

Possibly the biggest positive for Morwell was the fact it was able to keep the Maroons’ star-studded forward line of Jake Best, Brett Eddy and Dylan Loprese to just two goals for three quarters.

Traditionally, whenever Morwell and Traralgon face off, ladder positions are taken out of the equation, as players tend to find another gear.

This may well have been the case for the Tigers, who broke the game open in the third quarter, kicking three goals to one to build on their 14-point lead at half-time.

The Maroons however refused to go down without a fight, and piled on five goals in the final term, but it wasn’t enough to reel Morwell in.

Tristen Waack was again best for the winners, as was Boyd Bailey. Max Linton did a great job in the back six keeping the Traralgon ‘big three’ at bay, while at the other end, Brandon McDonald took his season tally to 35 goals after a second consecutive four-goal game. Tyler Hillier and Tayler Weatherill also had a big say in the result.

For Traralgon, Tye Hourigan, Luis D’Angelo, Tom Schneider, Mark Collison, Tom McMahon and Loprese were named best.

Away from the game, there was a good display of clubs working together, as Morwell made the trip to Traralgon but took home-team billing – making up for the trade that saw the opposite take place in Round 3 while the Maroons’ home ground was still unusable.

Traralgon also used the day to officially announce their ground will now be officially known as the Terry Hunter Oval.

Hunter is regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the Gippsland League, and his name adorns the Hunter/Stanistreet Cup, played for between Traralgon and Morwell.

IN case you didn’t already know, Leongatha is going to take some beating.

The Parrotts turned what many thought to be a grand final preview into a fizzer, brushing aside Wonthaggi 15.2 (92) to 5.6 (36).

For a battle between one and two, the contest was anything but. Leongatha had seven goals on the board at quarter time – Wonthaggi hadn’t even scored.

Travis Nash, Aaron Heppell and Ben Willis were best for the Parrots, while the visiting Power was well served by Toma Huther, Jack Hutchinson and Flynn Anderson.

THE Western Derby saw Warragul defeat Drouin.

The Gulls prevailed in a competitive Sunday match, winning 14.9 (93) to 11.8 (74).

Jed Lamb singlehandedly won Warragul the match, kicking 10 of their 14 goals.

Lamb was helped by former Carlton teammate Nick Graham, who kicked two.

Jarrod Marshall, Tim Hancock and Kye Quirk were best for the Hawks.