DESPITE a large list of omissions, Sale City has overcome fellow flag favourites Rosedale in a seven-point thriller in North Gippsland football.
Premiership players Jake Schuback, Josh Tollner, Joel Brayshaw, Jake Milham and influential new recruit Sean McGrath were missing from the Bulldogs’ line-up, but the side persevered and rallied from behind to snatch one of the most enthralling contests of the season.
For the better part of the match the Blues appeared flat throughout the majority of play and failed to stamp their supremacy.
Not even a best-on-ground performance by Justin Emery in his 150th senior match could lift his side.
Rosedale led by seven points at three-quarter-time and did not start the final term well.
The Blues missed an early set shot and were punished for it when Sale City goaled moments later to get within two points.
Rosedale’s Rohan Diamond, captain Chris King and fleet footed Dale Fleming got the quick response from the centre clearance as it again extended the lead.
It was followed by another as Emery on the run centred a kick to Jake Power in the forward 50.
Power’s vision found Reid who scored from directly in front.
Sale City’s Nick Grainger added another to his tally of four from a free kick.
This was followed by another to the Dogs.
It took the Emery to settle his side when he ran into an open goal after roving the pack to create an eight-point buffer.
The Dogs quickly responded with a goal of their own, before the man of the moment, Tom Wilson, provided the highlight of the final term.
In his side’s round 10 clash against Glengarry, Wilson kicked a goal after the siren to snatch victory, and he again showed his skill under pressure.
He intercepted a wayward kick in to mark directly 20 metres out.
His shot at goal handed Sale City a one-goal lead.
The Dogs rallied again at the centre clearance, but their final shot of the day hit the post, however it was enough for Sale City to record a 14.16 (100) to 13.15 (93) victory.
Churchill v Boisdale/Briagolong
Churchill’s impressive eight-goal opening term against Boidale/Briagolong paved the way for a comfortable afternoon for the Cougars.
Rebounding from last week’s loss at the hands of Heyfield, the Cougars started strongly from the outset.
Led by Dale Paterson (10 goals) and Joey Whykes (five goals), Churchill booted another eight majors in the second term to take a massive 94-point lead at half-time.
The Cougars’ midfield depth proved to be the difference with Christopher Williams and Brandon Mahoney creating plenty of play, while defender Jarrod Broadbent was instrumental in restricting the Bombers’ impact in their forward 50.
The Cougars went on to win 29.14 (188) to 4.8 (32).
Boisdale’s Owen Sim and Luke Hedger were solid performers with the pair named among the best.
Woodside v Cowwarr
It was a one-sided contest at Woodside Recreation Reserve, where Cowwarr made light work of Woodside, winning 26.16 (162) to 6.2 (38).
Led by Matt Cameron, with a bag of four majors, the Saints were superb as they made it four wins from the past five rounds.
The visitors started strongly, opening the contest with seven goals before finding the going tough in a low scoring second term.
But it was not long before the Saints continued the barrage in front of goals, piling on 15 majors to four in the second half to cruise home by 124 points.
Traralgon Tyers United v Heyfield
Leading by four goals 10 minutes into the final term, Traralgon Tyers United will be rueing the one that got away against third placed Heyfield.
Establishing a 17-point lead at the first change, the Bombers looked on song early with Des Brunt and Dylan Loprese getting plenty of the ball in the forward 50.
The visitors fought back hard in the second term with a three-goal to one term which reeled the margin back to four points at the main break
The Bombers rallied in the premiership term kicking away to again establish what appeared to be a winnable three goal margin.
The home side booted the first of the final term, before the Kanagroos kicked five unanswered majors to seal a nine-point victory.
Glengarry v Gormandale
Six goals from Glengarry’s Josh King led the Magpies to victory over old foes Gormandale.
Playing to secure their hold on a top five finish at season’s end, the Magpies rarely looked troubled after half-time as they powered away to a 104-point victory.
It was a different story in the opening half, with the Tigers troubling the home side with a persistent brand of football with the visitors reeling the margin back to two straight kicks.
However, the Tigers struggled to maintain the intensity after the main change, as Glengarry coach Ryan Potter led from the front in an inspiring best on ground performance.