MORWELL made it five wins in a row for the first time since 1997 and did so in style, upsetting the highly fancied Maffra at home on Saturday in round five of Gippsland League football.
Former Gippsland Power player and Australian Football League draftee Dean MacDonald was the stand out for the Tigers with six goals.
Morwell made a great start in one of the league’s toughest road trips.
The Tigers booted five goals to three in the first term to lead the Eagles by 13 points at quarter-time.
By half-time the home team had crept back within 10 points after a hard fought second term.
It was a similar story in the third. Both teams added three goals to their respective tallies and the margin at the last change was 12.
Morwell held on in its biggest test of the season so far to win by 20 points.
Traralgon v Bairnsdale
TRARALGON made a good start on the road against Bairnsdale.
The Maroons kicked five goals to two in the opening term to lead by 21 points at the first change.
“We jumped them early and slowly but surely opened up a gap, but they (Bairnsdale) were never right out of it,” Traralgon coach Paul McCulloch said.
The visitor led the Redlegs by 35 points at half-time, but the Maroons had to fight off a challenge from the home team before running out a 56-point winner.
“It was a really good win. We hadn’t beaten Bairnsdale up there since they re-joined the league three years ago, so we built it up as a game we wanted to win,” McCulloch said.
The Maroons were bolstered by the return of 2012 Gippsland League Team of the Year player Lee Stockdale, who lined up for the first time this year.
“He hadn’t played a game since the practice rounds so I suppose it was a bit of a risk bringing him in but he kicked four goals and had eight or nine shots on goal,” McCulloch said.
Also impressive was Jackson Hall who booted five.
“Jackson’s last three weeks have been fantastic,” McCulloch said.
Former coach Josh Jennings and the Northe brothers, Tim and Matt were among the Maroons’ best.
With three wins and two losses, Traralgon sits in third on the Gippsland League ladder, equal on points with Maffra.
Sale v Moe
SALE remains undefeated after five rounds and this week crept into top spot on the Gippsland League ladder by a whisker.
Equal on points with Morwell, the reigning premier is just 0.17 per cent ahead of the Tigers.
The massive boost to Sale’s percentage came after a 141-point win over bottom of the table Moe.
The Magpies opened its round five campaign with a nine-goal-to-none first term.
It added another eight in the second to Moe’s two and by half-time its lead was out to 97 points.
The Magpies kicked just three goals in a more tightly contested third quarter.
The Lions added two of its own but Sale extended its lead by another nine points.
The in form Magpies slammed on eight goals to two in the last to post its biggest win of the year so far. Mitch Davis was named best on ground with 10 majors, while Kane Fraser finished the match with five.
James Blaser was Moe’s best player and only multiple goal-scorer, with two.
Warragul v Wonthaggi
WONTHAGGI moved into the top five with a big win over Warragul.
The clash was tipped to be the match of the round with the two of the most improved sides of 2013 on show.
It was the visiting Wonthaggi Power that burst out of the blocks and booted three unanswered goals to lead by 19 points at the first change.
Warragul opened its goal-scoring tally in the second with two majors, but the Gulls were proving to be no match for the Power which added three of its own to lead by 28 points at the half.
However Wonthaggi’s best was still to come.
The Power kicked seven majors in the third quarter to stretch its lead out to 63 points.
Warragul managed its biggest goal haul for the day in the last term, however the Gulls’ three majors were not enough against the in form Wonthaggi, which added four of its own to run out a 10-goal winner.
Travis Krause took best on ground honours for the Power with three goals.
Leongatha v Drouin
LEONGATHA returned to the winners’ circle with a 37-point victory over Drouin, but the Parrots were forced to work hard for their second win of the year.
Scores were locked at 21 points apiece after a hard fought first term.
Led by Cade Maskell, who finished the afternoon with a bag of seven majors, Leongatha kicked its way to a 29-point lead with a six-goal-to-one second quarter.
Drouin won a more tightly contested third quarter.
The Hawks booted four goals to three in the third term to bring the margin back to 23 points at the last change. Hungry for victory, Leongatha rammed home six goals to four in the last to post a much-needed win.
Maskell was named best on ground.