SALE consolidated its hold on third spot on the Gippsland League football ladder with a 46-point victory over Traralgon at home on Saturday.
The floodgates opened in the final term for Sale, as the Magpies doubled their three-quarter-time score, kicking seven goals to win 13.6 (84) to 5.8 (38).
The return to the winner’s list after a hiccup against Moe in round 11 was “pleasing” for coach Shane Fyfe, who said the foundations were laid early against the Maroons.
“The weather was at its worst in the first half, but we just managed to kick it forward and get it going,” he said.
“It was really a grind, but we were able to get some goals simply by kicking the ball, hitting it forward and playing simple footy.”
Fyfe said his side “adapted well” to the wet and windy conditions.
“It rained all day and was windy and we didn’t take to against Moe, but we did (on Saturday) and that was pretty pleasing,” he said.
The Maroons were missing playing coach Mark Collison through a knee injury and playmaker Jackson McMahon through a foot injury.
The Magpies welcomed back ruckman Jack Lipman from injury and defender Zac Hurley from Gippsland Power duties.
Because of the conditions, it took seven minutes for any team to get a breakthrough, courtesy of a long entry with Jarrod Freeman roving smartly off hands to snap truly.
Senior Magpies Chris Laverty, Kane Martin and Fyfe set the tone of the day, their composure and smart decisions in slippery conditions a telling factor. The Magpies were pressuring well, forcing the Maroons to bring numbers up at the football.
Repeated stoppages ensued, and the scrappy play was suiting the Magpies.
A ball spilled out to Jayden Allison, a deep entry came where Jack McLindin applied great pressure for Mitch Dowse, who roved off the pack and dribbled a goal.
The Magpies kicked two goals, keeping the Maroons goal-less, and secured a 10-point lead at the first break.
Jordan Dessent was outstanding — it seemed every chance Traralgon had he seemed to be involved in preventing it.
As Dessent gained another clearance, a smart pick up by Allison saw a snap-goal extend the lead out to four goals.
The half-time margin was 31 points as Traralgon was limited to one goal for the half.
The Magpies expected some resilience — the Maroons kicking with the advantage towards the hospital end were always expected to come back hard. In the third quarter, they did, and a more concerted effort to maintain their structure and spread up forward saw the Maroons kick the only two goals of the term to draw back the margin to 19 points.
The Magpies kicked the first seven goals of the final quarter to put the match out of the Maroons’ reach.
As the Maroons’ big men began to tire, Lipman who stood tall, as the Magpies took advantage of his tap work.
Two late Traralgon goals brought the margin back to 46 points.
Jordan Dessent was the clear best-on-ground, his two goals and ability to have an influence with and without the ball in hand was fantastic. Laverty, Allison, Martin and Brad McKay were all terrific.
The win was important for the Magpies, who now have a two-game break from Moe. The Magpies have played each team in the top five twice, and if they can continue their good form, will give themselves a good chance of securing the double chance during the finals.
Ahead of a home game against Morwell, the Magpies will sit out the first half of the split round this weekend.