Eagles win windy clash

Jack Lipman and Kieran Jones go up in the ruck during Sundays Battle of the Birds.

Jack Lipman and Kieran Jones go up in the ruck during Sundays Battle of the Birds.

MAFFRA moved to the top of the Gippsland League football ladder with a 16-point win at Sale on Sunday.

The Eagles are ahead of the Magpies, who have a game in hand, on percentage following their 6.4 (40) to 3.6 (24) victory.

Both of Sale's losses this season have been to its local rival.

The match supported local breast cancer support charity the Footprints Foundation, with the Magpies wearing a special pink and white jumper and pink socks, and both teams sporting pink armbands.

A strong breeze across the ground made accurate kicking difficult for both teams, but Maffra adapted to the conditions better.

Sale had enough of the ball, but was let down by decisions when going into attack.

Maffra moved the ball through the middle of the ground and along the grandstand wing, which was partly sheltered from the wind, more often, and was rewarded.

The Eagles went into the match without David Adams, John Butcher and Sam Walker, but welcomed back Ed Carr.

The Magpies included Tom Hams, but were missing experienced duo Kane Martin and coach Shane Fyfe.

The match was largely an even contest, with plenty of pressure, as to be expected for a top of the table clash.

It took until the seventh minute for a score, when Mitch Bennett judged his kick well with the breeze to boot a goal for the Eagles.

The Magpies responded a minute later when Hams goaled.

Scoring was difficult because of the breeze, with play scrappy at times.

The Eagles claimed what turned out to be a vital break late in the first quarter when Bennett and Alex Carr (with a long kick) booted goals to give the visitors a 12-point advantage at the break.

Sale had more of the ball in the second quarter, but was held out by a stern Maffra defence.

The Magpies broke through when John Gooch's long snap just covered the distance to the goal, reducing the deficit to five points 15 minutes into the term.

Running the ball into their forward 50, the Eagles looked set to kick their first goal of the quarter deep into time-on, but was thwarted by an errant handpass.

Their major came when Ben Brunt sent the ball to Tom Jolly, who took a good one-handed mark in a one-on-one contest. The half-time siren sounded as Jolly's kick was floating in the air on its way through the big sticks.

Despite Sale having more of the ball in its attacking area for the quarter, Maffra led by 11 points at the main break.

Both teams could only manage two behinds each during the third term.

Again, Sale had more of the ball, but struggled to find an avenue to goal through the Guthridge Parade side of the ground.

The Magpies were not out of the match, and knowing they'd need to at least double their goal tally in the final term, coach Fyfe urged his players to "take the game on".

A run of play along the grandstand wing was capped off when Brad Dessent kicked a goal off the ground in the goal square. The margin was five points, and it was game on.

However, that was as close as the Magpies got, despite their best efforts.

The Eagles were marking the Magpies' long kicks into attack.

At the 15-minute mark, Andrew Petrou kicked a goal to put the Eagles 11 points ahead.

With the Magpies continuing to push for a goal to get back into the match, the visitors kicked one on the break late, when a knock-on from Jarryd Clohesy set-up Petrou's second major.

Michael Coleman stood out for the Eagles in defence, taking intercept marks and setting up attacks.

James Read was also strong in defence, while Jack Johnstone was dangerous across half-forward.

Midfielders Ed and Alex Carr were valuable in the crucial moments.

Jamie Sweeney was Sale's best player, forming a solid back line with Zac Hurley and Chris Laverty.

Nic Dowse provided a strong link between defence and the midfield, Mitch Dowse was the pick of the Magpies' onballers, while Jack Lipman had the better of the ruck contests.

Gulls upset Hawks

WARRAGUL'S 18-point win at Drouin keeps the door ajar for teams in the bottom half of the Gippsland League football ladder to enter the top five by season's end.

With teams having as many as six games to play, the fifth-placed Hawks are three wins ahead of Morwell, Bairnsdale and Warragul.

The Gulls defeated their local rival on Sunday, 9.10 (64) to 6.10 (46), leaving at each change of ends.

Daniel Giardina and Nick Mulqueen led the way for Warragul, with Jack Hughes kicking three goals. James Ferguson was Drouin's best player.

FOURTH-PLACED Leongatha moved a game clear of Drouin after defeating Wonthaggi by 63 points at home on Sunday.

The Parrots kept the Power goal-less in two quarters to win 10.18 (78) to 2.3 (15).

Chris Dunne kicket three goals for Leongatha, while Luke Bowman led a strong midfield brigade which combined well with ruckman Ben Willis.

The Parrots welcomed back last year's league best-and-fairest Tom Marriott, whose start to this season has been hampered by injury.

AFTER trailing by one point at half-time, Moe defeated Traralgon by 16 points on a wintry Saturday.

The Lions kicked three goals to one in the second half to win 6.12 (48) to 4.8 (32) to consolidate the home side's hold on third place.

The work of Jaydan Van Dyk and Ben Maslen in defence was crucial in the Lions' victory, while Ben Morrow was solid in the ruck.

Traralgon's best player was defender Conor Little.

MORWELL jumped into sixth place on the ladder with a three-point win over Bairnsdale.

The Tigers won a low-scoring match at home, 4.11 (35) to 4.8 (32).

Scores were level at three-quarter-time, but the Tigers kicked the only goal of the final term.

Centre half-forward Dan Musil was best-onground for Morwell, which was also well-served by forward Josh Hecker.

Bairnsdale forward Matt Corbett worked hard to give the Redlegs a chance of winning.