Wasted scoring opportunities has cost Traralgon the valuable double chance, after the Maroons lost by 41 points against Maffra in their Gippsland League match on Saturday.
Traralgon must now overcome rivals Morwell in Sunday’s elimination final.
Kicking with a slight cross breeze was no excuse for Traralgon’s poor inaccuracy in the first quarter, with the Maroons chalking up only eight consecutive behinds.
The last five points were from set shots or unpressured running shots at goal.
Sam Bristow was strong in defence for the Eagles with Kelvin Porter and Hayden Burgiel picking up plenty of kicks around the ground.
Lee Stockdale was lively for the Maroons while Jackson Hall and Adrian Slottje were doing some good work.
Adrian Burgiel kicked two early goals in the second term and Daniel Bedggood scored one before Lee Stockdale broke the Traralgon drought.
The Maroons were missing Danny Campbell’s drive around the packs; his season ended on Wednesday when he copped a four-match penalty for striking Morwell’s Jack Whyhoon.
Michael Stockdale received a reprimand from the tribunal in an incident in the same match and was one of Traralgon’s better players. The second half of the second quarter was riddled with skill errors from both sides as the Eagles went into half-time with an eight-point lead.
Maffra took charge in the third term as players started to adapt to the windy weather conditions and looked the fitter side.
Traralgon’s forward line ceased to function from midway through the third term as the Eagles started to dominate play for the last quarter and a half.
Maffra went on to record a convincing win, 13.19 (97) to Traralgon’s 7.14 (56)
Morwell v Drouin
An injury-riddled Morwell put up a brave fight against Drouin but went down by three points in a closely contested match.
With a minute left to play Morwell thought it had the four points in the bag and played possession football, but the Tigers were disappointed to find the scoreboard was incorrect.
Tigers Damian Kerr said the win would have been good but but there was no bench after quarter-time, as Daniel Hutchison came off with a corkie and Shane Ryan injured his back.
Kerr said it was more a precautionary measure not to put them back into the fray.
He said both players would play this week’s elimination final against Traralgon.
John Read would have won the prize for the worst kick-in after a point was scored.
Read saw a teammate 20 metres from the line but his kick dribbled along the ground.
After a frenzied defensive battle the Tigers were able to clear the ball out of the danger zone.
With Morwell struggling with fit players at senior and reserve levels, the Tigers selected veteran Daryl Couling for a senior spot and he showed some of his old form in patches.
Bairnsdale v Moe
Bairnsdale started the season with a 143-point loss to Sale but ended on a positive note with a 102-point thumping of Moe.
Any hope the Lions had of shedding the wooden spoon stigma was gone by half-time when the Redlegs led by 34 points.
Moe coach Jason Macfarlane said it was a “terrible performance and the worst of the season”.
“We won in the ruck all day but could not clear the ball from the midfield,” Macfarlane said.
“Bairnsdale played a lot of their under 18 players and they have some good players coming on.
“We could get two players for next year in Tyson Leys from Boolarra and Michael Camilleri who has been carrying an injury all season.”
Leongatha v Sale
The battle between top two sides Leongatha and Sale was a non-event with the Magpies crushing the Parrots by 77 points, keeping their opponents goalless.
In poor night conditions, Leongatha was never in the contest. Ten behinds was the Parrots’ lowest score against Sale; their previous lowest score was 2.8 (20) in 1991. Saturday night’s score was Leongatha’s second lowest in this league after its score of 0.9 (9) against Garfield in 2007.
Leongatha’s form in recent weeks will be a worry to its supporters after a promising start to the season.
Shane Fyfe and Corey Scholtes played their 150th and 100th senior match respectively for Sale.
Warragul v Wonthaggi Power
It was a case of d j vu when Warragul defeated Wonthaggi Power by 41 points in the last match of the season. Last year the Seagulls also defeated the Power in their last game for the season.
Warragul’s new coach for 2013, Ash Green, would have been impressed by the commitment of his “new” players, but it was also a fitting farewell to caretaker coach Justin Cant.