SWOOPING season came early at Sale Oval.

Sale won the Battle of the Birds clash against rival Maffra, in a 16.14 (110) to 10.6 (66) effort.

In keeping with clashes between the two sides, Sale was made to work hard for the points, as only two goals separated the combatants at the last change.

A six goal to one final term however made sure of the result, and now has Sale firmly in the running to secure a double chance come the end of the season.

Maffra meanwhile slipped out of the top five, and are now a game behind the team above.

After an even first quarter, the Magpies looked set to cruise to a relatively easy win after leading by 36-points at the main break.

The Eagles however hit back, kicking five goals to one in the third to set-up a pulsating last quarter.

An epic last quarter did not eventuate, and Sale, again through the work of Shannen Lange, Jack Leslie and Ryan Pendlebury, were able to break away.

Somewhat ironically, the Collingwood Magpies featuring Pendlebury’s older brother also provided a scare on the same day, before getting over the line against lowly North Melbourne.

Others to play well for Sale were Cooper Whitehill, Mitch Bown and Pat Tainsh, who has proven a handy recruit since coming across from Cowwarr.

The Magpies welcomed Jayden Allison and Jake McLaren back into the team, and found four goals from Jarrod Freeman – his most in a game this season.

While most of the attention on the goal-kicking list for Sale goes to Brad Dessent, the Magpies do have a lot of midfielders who can kick goals such as Lange, Kane Martin and Jack Johnstone.

Lange kicked four the week prior against Bairnsdale, Martin four against Morwell in Round 9, and Johnstone five against Warragul in Round 7.

Daniel Bedggood, Ben Brunt, John Butcher, Kade Renooy, Alex Carr and James Huts were best for Maffra.