In a round where only four games were played, the North Gippsland Football-Netball League sure did provide it all for spectators and participants alike: a draw, a nail-biter in a cracking local derby, and a couple of 30 goal or so drubbings all on the scoresheets.

And while all this was going on, the ladder-leaders and premiership favourites, Yallourn Yallourn North were cooling their Jets, so to speak, only for Churchill to, temporarily at least, grab top spot.

Yarram solidified their spot on the ladder courtesy of their three-goal win over fierce rival Woodside, which looks to have the Demons locked into at least fourth spot come season’s end.

Courtesy of their draw with Rosedale, Sale City leap-frogged the Wildcats into the top five, and now control their own destiny in terms of a finals berth.

THE drawn clash between the Bulldogs and Rosedale is the first of the year, and takes percentage out-of-play in the battle for the last spot in the top five.

While prior to the weekend, as many as four teams might have laid claims to fifth spot, after Saturday’s round it is now surely a race between Sale City and Woodside.

Sale City was again well-served by the league’s favourite medico Sam Davidson, who will likely have racked up another three votes in the league medal. He and Mitch Evans, who slotted five majors for the Bulldogs, led a second-half comeback that saw their side claw into the five.

With Rosedale leading by near-on 30 points at times in the second term and still holding onto a 21-point final change lead, it was going to take some last quarter heroics for the tri-colours to get the job done. And that’s precisely what they gave.

With Davidson in everything in the middle of the ground and senior statesman Ben Chivers patrolling the half-back line, Sale City strangled the Blues while piling on five goals, five behinds to level scores and grab a crucial two points when the final siren declared the game a draw Rosedale 12.5 (77) to Sale City 11.11 (77).

Rosedale was best served by Sam Tudor and the Rohans, Hildebrand and Diamond, with Declan Barnett heading the goal-kicker list with three.

Frazar Brouns and Brad Scott managed two each, but ultimately this is one that got away from the home side. Based on the respective fixtures of Woodside and Sale City, who each play the bottom three teams on the ladder in the run home, it is impossible to see the Blues making up the necessary margin to compete in the post season.

IN what was by all accounts a hard fought, highly entertaining south Gippsland derby, Yarram, for the second time this year, had local bragging rights over their nearest and fiercest foe, Woodside.

With just three points favouring the home side at the main break, it was game-on with the ramifications of a poor second-half huge for both sides.

A loss would have left Yarram vulnerable for a finals berth after spending a large portion of the year in the top three. A loss for Woodside however would see them potentially out of the five and relying on results to fall their way to qualify for finals action.

With so much to play for, it is hardly surprising those at the venue described the second-half as fantastic, hard-fought football.

There was pivotal one-on-one match-ups across the ground. These ranged from the talls, like the battle between Yarram’s Dan Vardy and Woodside’s Ryan Foat in the ruck, to the smalls with Wildcat Jeremy Morgan going head-to-head with Demon Corbin Sutherland.

Ultimately, it was the third quarter that saw the home side get the win. With Sutherland kicking two of his five in the premiership quarter, Yarram took all the momentum and a 19-point lead into the last break.

Woodside was encumbered by the early game loss of Josh Morgan, which was compounded when Darcy McAlpine and Jai Williams joined him on the casualty list, leaving the Wildcats only one rotation for the last stanza.

A huge last quarter saw the Wildcats come hard at Yarram. They booted five goals to get back within striking distance, but Yarram was able to steady and slot four of their own to hold-on for a crucial 13-point win, 15.10 (100) to 13.9 (87).

Wildcat coach Michael Duncan, playing his first game in five weeks, reflected after the game that his side had toiled manfully to get back into the contest in the last term, but paid full respect to Yarram who he said simply played better footy for longer.

Duncan was effusive in his praise for Ben Johnson, Mrs King’s boy Tom, and Luke LeBlanc on his own side, and noted the excellent performances of Boadie Motton and Tyler Chisolm from Yarram.

Yarram’s Corbin Sutherland also heaped praise on Motton post-game, while pointing out Yarram too were down a key part of their on-ball brigade with Jayden Shea unable to take the field in the second-half.

Sutherland himself was a stand-out with five majors, taking his season tally to 28 goals from his dozen games. When he is kicking bags of goals from a flank or a wing the Demons look an ominous side. And their record since entering the NGFNL says they know how to get the job done come finals time.

ANOTHER side with a happy knack of playing in and winning finals is Churchill.

The Cougars took Cowwarr apart on Saturday, register a huge 167-point victory, 32.14 (206) to 6.3 (39).

With 14 players kicking goals, including six multiple goal scorers, it was all one-way traffic for Churchill.

Ben Kearns again led the way with 10 goals, taking his season tally to 67 goals from just nine games.

In other good news for the Cougars, Joey Whykes returned to the field for the first time in months, and helped himself to a major in a hit-out that will do his preparation for finals a world of good.

Also returning to the Cougar line-up was Alan Chandler. While he might not be kicking the ball 50-plus meters these days, he still rarely misses a target and brings with him a wealth of experience.

For Cowwarr, the ever reliable Robbie Ferguson managed two goals, with Matt Bourke and Kyle Stammers named their best.

After grabbing their only win for the year a few weeks back, the task now appears to be for the Saints to keep their percentage higher than Gormandale’s to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon. Presently, just four per cent stands between the two battling sides.

GORMANDALE’S percentage was done no favours as they were beaten by a whopping 221 points by a ruthless Traralgon Tyers United.

The Bombers slammed on 10, 10, eight and seven goals across the four quarters, while holding their opponents to a solitary major which was kicked by Dylan Piening in the third term.

Kodie Owen and Trent Badlwin cracked in all day for the Tigers, but it was simply a case of one-way traffic as TTU reminded anyone who’d forgotten they are genuine contenders for the flag at season’s end.

On any regular Saturday, Beau White with six goals and Tom Fleming with five would have been in the headlines, but it was Brad Kelleher who banged home 13, stealing the show in a best-on-ground performance. The 13 majors brought his season total to 45 from just eight games.

Bombers star onballer Michael Jacobsen was the catalyst for the front-half carnage, racking up bulk possessions all over the ground, and his delivery to any and all of the TTU forwards was nothing short of elite.

Jacobsen is the perfect foil in the middle for his coach Jamie Aitken, as he can be part of a battery of big-bodied mids when the likes of Jye Neilson, Jayden Cutts and Mitch Mustoe go through the middle, or he can be part of a smaller, faster set up with Liam and Hayden Willaton keeping him company at the centre bounces.

Either way, he will be a player to watch as the home-and-away season draws to a close in the coming month and finals action hots up.

YALLOURN Yallourn North, Glengarry and Heyfield all had byes at the weekend.