Maffra down in Moe mud

MOE defeated Maffra for the first time since 2011 on a cold and wet afternoon at Ted Summerton Reserve.

The Lions' 5.12 (42) to 3.4 (22) win on Saturday saw them join both the Eagles and Sale as the three teams equal on points at the top of the Gippsland League football ladder

and battling it out for the minor premiership and hosting rights to this season's second semi-final.

Wild weather had plagued most of the day in the lead-up to the senior game, with the under 16 match called off at three-quarter-time as concerns were raised for the players' welfare.

Things did not get off to a good start for the Eagles, who were forced to bring up two players from the reserves to fill late omissions.

Five brave Maffra under 18 players, who had already been through an entire game in the mud, commendably doubled up to help the reserves who were left with only 13 adult players.

Moe welcomed back star onballer Bernie Vince, Victoria Country under 19 Grady Cocksedge and interleague forward Ash Dugan to the side which was eager to rectify a poor showing against Sale the week prior.

The Eagles took some ascendency in the early stages of the match, and kicked the only goal for the first quarter. It was much the same in the second term as the ball became water-logged and kicks were only travelling 30 metres at best.

Both teams kicked one goal each in the second quarter, with Maffra holding onto a four-point lead as the half-time siren sounded.

The third quarter proved to be the difference, as Moe kicked four goals and kept the Eagles to two behinds.

The Lions were able to get on top around the ground and locked the ball inside their forward 50 for extended periods of time.

A clever Ash Dugan soccer goal provided a highlight, before two high chaos balls were marked in close range by Spencer White and Peter Ainsworth. The former guided the ball home from straight in front, while veteran Ainsworth steered truly from a 45 degree angle.

With the Lions holding a 14-point advantage, Tyson Biffin bobbed up to kick just his second goal for the season, with the rebounding defender getting good purchase on the ball out of a pack to send it home off two steps.

At three-quarter-time Moe were ahead by 21 points with the game still up for grabs. Given the conditions, Maffra's usual short kicking-high possession-ball retention style was unable to be used as the Eagles tried desperately to take the game on in other ways to create some scoring opportunities.

In the finish, the three-quarter-time deficit proved too much for Maffra to overcome, with the Eagles only managing one goal for the term as Moe closed out the game by virtually the same margin as it had led by when the fourth quarter began.

Moe ruckman Ben Morrow, who was among his side's best players, said it was pleasing to respond after the previous week's effort against Sale.

"The boys dug in deep and we played the conditions well and fought hard, at quarter time it was a 50-50 game but we just kept cracking in," he said.

"Through the third quarter we played a really good patch of football where we piled on a few quick goals to what was probably the non-scoring end which really helped us.

"The plan in the last was to just keep going, we knew they would come hard, they're a good team and have got a lot of good players so we just had to keep doing what had worked in the third quarter."

The Lions will now travel to Leongatha in what will be an intriguing contest as the Parrots appear to have the majority of their quality players back at the right time of year.

Maffra will finish the home-and-away season with a tricky fixture, facing fellow finalist Drouin this weekend before taking on the always competitive Traralgon.

Interestingly, Saturday was also the first time in many people's memory Moe had enjoyed a clean sweep across all four football grades against Maffra.