SEVEN goals from John Gooch led Sale to an 100-point Gippsland League football victory over Wonthaggi on Saturday.
The Magpies won at home, 18.14 (122) to 3.4 (22) in a milestone match for two players.
Chris Laverty, captain of the Magpies’ 2008 premiership side, passed Kane Fraser’s club senior games record, while Andrew Quirk celebrated senior game 150.
One of the league’s premier defenders, Quirk has recovered well from a serious knee injury last year.
Beautiful July conditions greeted both sides, which were forced to make late changes.
VFL player Jack Blair was a late exclusion for the Power, while Jack Mapleson pulled up lame from the warm up.
Interestingly, Wonthaggi chose not to replace Blair, while Sale was forced to call upon Ben Jones, who had played three and a half quarters in the reserves.
Despite the result, the game began with a high intensity, with the Power trying to exert its physicality early. Sale adjusted well, with Kane Martin everywhere, working hard through the midfield and forward line — a strong mark off a Brad McKay kick gave Martin his first goal.
Jayden Allison kicked a goal after turning nicely out of trouble to give the Magpies the break they hadn’t had in previous games. It took until the 27th minute for Wonthaggi to kick its first, but the Magpies led by 28 points at the first break.
Recording 24 tackles for the quarter, Sale’s pressure gave it the advantage, creating plenty of space for forwards Gooch, Jarrod Freeman and Brad Dessent to work into.
Most Wonthaggi forward entries were being repelled with ease, with returning coach Shane Fyfe and Zac Hurley reading the ball well.
A strong tackle by Nic Dowse resulted in a big gash in his knee, he would take no further part in the game, but the ensuing play through the midfield ended with a Gooch major to take the lead out to nine goals. Gooch kicked another goal soon after.
The Power responded as expected, making it hard for the Magpie score, despite not hitting the scoreboard itself.
With Jack Lipman out, Mitch Thacker and Brad Dessent played in the ruck. The forward line gained a new dynamic at times, with the Power unable to cover the attacking movement.
Gooch kicked four consecutive goals, a result of some scintillating forward and midfield play.
A defensive effort by Brad Dessent in attack caused the ball to fall to Freeman, who dribbled the ball through for a goal.
The Magpies led 91 points at three-quarter-time.
A big knock to Allison in a marking contest kick began the final quarter.
Forced to work hard, the Sale defence continue playing desperate football.
An example of Sale’s approach to the contest throughout the day, Ben Jones put in a great effort to stop a certain Power goal in front.
The game fizzled out, errant kicking late by the Magpies preventing the margin jumping out further.
The Power kicked a late goal, but it was the Magpies’ day as they won by 100 points.
Allison was again important, his skills on both feet and ability to hit the scoreboard were important.
McKay’s running prowess was on show, gaining plenty of forward 50 entries.
Up forward, it was Gooch’s day with seven goals, his workrate and ability to jump at the football resulted in a great day for the forward, while Freeman’s pressure and willingness to create space for his other forwards was excellent, ending the day with four goals himself.
Normally a defender, Thacker battled hard in the ruck.
Fyfe was excellent across the back line, the cohesion of himself Jamie Sweeney and Jones to work off their opponent and defend as a unit was telling.
Three wins and percentage clear of fourth-placed Moe, the Magpies are pretty much guaranteed a top three finish. A win next weekend at Bairnsdale will lock that in.