Traralgon fell 17 points short against Maffra to drop from third to fifth on the ladder in round six of Gippsland League football on Saturday.
The Maroons were up and about early to win the first quarter by five points.
However, the visitors stole the lead with a five goal to two second quarter to storm ahead by 14 points at half-time.
The Eagles picked up where they left off in the third and by three-quarter-time led the Maroons by 27 points.
During the final break Traralgon coach Paul McCulloch told his players there was still a chance to turn the game around.
McCulloch’s words breathed new life into the Maroons who won the final quarter, but it was too little too late as the home team fell by 17 points.
“We really started the game well; we were up and about and I think when Maffra got back into the game we just went away from our game plan a lot,” McCulloch said.
“Certainly by that third quarter we were flat.
“We ended up winning two quarters today but I reckon a big part of the game we were chasing tail.”
He said Traralgon has a good brand of football, but it has to put in a consistent four-quarter effort.
“We have got to be up and about all the time, not just when we want, and I think today proved that playing in patches, good sides will take you apart,” McCulloch said.
Traralgon’s Jaime Aitkin was named best on ground for the Maroon’s in his 200th senior game, while Leigh Cummins was not far behind in his 150th game.
Maffra coach Hayden Burgiel, who spent another week on the sidelines, said he was happy to see his team bounce back after a disappointing fortnight of football.
Morwell v Drouin
Morwell’s best start to a season since 1983 continued with a comprehensive 97-point victory over Drouin.
The win, the Tigers’ sixth in-a-row, has consolidated them second spot on the ladder, but on equal points with Sale.
Morwell burst out of the blocks with an eight goal to one first term and led the Hawks by 47 points at the first change.
The Tigers picked up where they left off in the second, slamming on another seven majors to stretch their lead out to 74 points by half-time.
The tempo slowed down in the second half, but the Tigers still managed to pile on another eight goals to record a 97-point win.
New Morwell recruits Tim Phillips and Dean MacDonald each kicked four goals while Joel Soutar was named best on ground.
Sale v Bairnsdale
Reigning premier Sale annihilated Bairnsdale by 151 points under lights at home on Saturday night.
The Redlegs managed only one goal up until half-time, and trailed the inform Magpies by 69 points.
Sale rubbed salt into the wound with a 17-goal second half and sent Bairnsdale back up the Princes Highway with its fourth loss of the season.
The Redlegs dropped to eighth on the ladder, sitting above Drouin and Moe.
Warragul v Leongatha
Warragul managed a narrow and unexpected 20-point victory over Leongatha.
The Gulls led at quarter-time after a tightly contested first term and never looked back.
However, trailing by just six points at half-time, the Parrots were still in the match, but a six-goal to nil third term from Warragul put the Gulls in the box seat.
Leongatha was not about to go down without a fight, kicking four goals to one in the last quarter, but it was not enough.
Mark Collison was the stand out performer for Warragul.
His three majors were among the highlights of his best on ground performance.
Christopher Verboon and Cade Maskell each booted three for the Parrots.
Wonthaggi v Moe
Wonthaggi jumped Maffra and Traralgon to nab third spot on the ladder with a percentage boosting 135-point victory over bottom placed Moe.
The Power jumped the struggling Lions early and never looked back.
Seven goals from Adam Cook and six from best on ground Dominic O’Connor helped Wonthaggi to its fourth win of the season.