MORWELL fought off a late comeback from a disappointing Bairnsdale to maintain its unbeaten status and top spot on the Gippsland League ladder.
The Tigers were bolstered by the inclusion of its star recruit, former Collingwood player Tarkyn Lockyer, who pulled on the boots for the first time since the Magpies’ 2010 premiership.
Led by Lockyer, Morwell slammed six unanswered goals to lead by 36 points at the first change.
By half-time that lead was out to 50 points, as the crowd witnessed a different Bairnsdale to that seen in recent weeks.
Leading by 64 points at three-quarter-time the Tigers looked to be on their way to a huge victory, but the Redlegs turned the tables in the last, hammering home six goals to one to reduce the final margin to 31 points.
“The first three quarters we really dominated… that was really pleasing; disappointing to give them a few at the end of the game but you’d take a six-goal win any day wouldn’t you?” Lockyer said after the game.
“I thought the boys played really well. They seemed to be really cohesive and I thought the defensive pressure they were able to play in the forward line was really impressive.”
The man in charge at Morwell was also pleased with the win but disappointed by his side’s performance in the last term.
“Fantastic to get a win, four and zero for the first time in eight years or something, but we will have to be better next week,” coach Harmit Singh said.
Singh was also happy with the performance of his newest recruit.
“I thought his leadership out on the ground was fantastic, as was his work before the game with the forwards and the midfielders. I thought he played really well and gave us a lot of direction, just (with) his ability to hunt the ball and lock it in,” Singh said.
“We lifted, especially early having him there he made some really good decisions and kicked some important goals.”
Bairnsdale coach Shaun Mooney was disappointed by his side’s efforts in the first three quarters.
“Our effort and attitude today wasn’t good enough and we need to improve,” he said.
Afterwards Mooney described his team’s accountability and work rate as “terrible”.
Morwell sits on top of the Gippsland ladder after four rounds ahead of Sale on percentage. Maffra, Traralgon and Bairnsdale round out the five.
Traralgon v Moe
CHASING its first win at home for the year, Traralgon burst out of the blocks in a faultless first term.
The Maroons slammed on 10 unanswered goals in the opener to lead Moe by 60 points at quarter-time.
The home team added five majors to the Lions’ two in the second, to take a 75-point lead into half-time.
A seven-goal to one third quarter stretched the Maroons lead to 118 points at three-quarter-time.
Traralgon booted a further six majors in the last term to run out a convincing 142-point winner.
Kim Harrold was named best on ground for the Maroons, in a match which had Ashleigh Dugan and Jackson Hall kick six each and Adrian Slottje five.
Drouin v Maffra
DROUIN got off to a stellar start, kicking six goals to Maffra’s one in the opening term of Saturday’s clash.
The experienced Eagles hit back in the second, turning the tables with a six-goal to one quarter of their own.
By the half there was just two points in it.
Maffra kicked four majors to none in an inaccurate third term for the Hawks.
The home side trailed the Eagles by 21 at the final change.
The visitor had plenty of scoring opportunities in the final term, but converted just four goals from 12 attempts to run out winners by 40 points.
Eagle Darren Sheen finished the day with a bag of six and Daniel Bedggood managed five.
Both featured in Maffra’s stand out performers but it was Matthew Lee who took best on ground honours.
Broderick Fraser was named Drouin’s best, while Keegan Bott was the club’s only multiple goal-scorer with three.
Sale v Warragul
WARRAGUL once again proved it could match it with the competition’s best, serving it up to the reigning premier on its home turf.
The Gulls booted five straight in an accurate first term to lead Sale by a point at the first change.
The Magpies kicked five goals in the second quarter, to lead an accurate Warragul by 21 points at the half.
Sale kicked three goals to Warragul’s two in the third to stretch its lead out to 32 points at the last change.
Warragul worked hard to get itself back in the game in the last, and beat the reigning premier on the scoreboard, but by the final siren was still 16 points short.
Four players finished the game with three majors, Sale’s Joshua Barton and Mitchell Davis and Warragul’s Calum Shiels and Ryan Buttner.
Leongatha v Wonthaggi
LEONGATHA’S third loss for the year saw it slip to eighth on the ladder.
At home, the Parrots led the Power by eight-points after a low-scoring first term.
Wonthaggi came out firing in the second; it managed four majors to the Parrots’ one and took a 15-point lead into half-time.
Leongatha outscored the visitor in the third and trailed by just seven points at three-quarter-time.
The Power went on to kick three-goals-five in the last term to run out winners by 24 points.
Earl Shaw and Jack Blair were among the Power’s best players.
Zak Vernon took the honours for Leongatha on a day that saw Cade Maskell boot four of the Parrots’ six majors for the afternoon.