By SAMUEL DARROCH
HISTORY dictates when Morwell and Sale start the year on the right note, they make it count come September.
Currently unbeaten after six rounds, both teams have been untouchable in the Gippsland League this season and are tracking toward the record books.
Both are proven finals contenders after winning their opening six fixtures or more, the most recent example being Sale’s 2008 flag after a 6-0 blitz kicked off their campaign.
Morwell finished runner up in 1949 after a 6-0 run, and won premierships in 1966 and 1983 on the back of nine consecutive wins to start those years.
Should the two ladder leaders remain unbeaten until their round nine encounter, it will be the first time in league history that two teams have had an 8-0 win-loss record simultaneously.
Fittingly, Sale would have an opportunity to break its previous best season start in that match and reach nine on the trot for the first time.
Morwell coach Harmit Singh said that salivating clash was not yet on his radar, but irrespective of winning streaks Sale was the benchmark team in the league.
“I haven’t looked too far ahead because it’s round nine, but whoever plays Sale understands they’re the best side in the competition and everyone is chasing them and trying to get to a level competitive with them,” he said.
“To be six and zero is a terrific result but is still very early.
“We’re going okay… (but) we haven’t played Leongatha, Sale or Traralgon; all three came in the finals last year.”
The Tigers are high on confidence following their round five away win over Maffra, a match which they lost 27.13 (175) to 13.10 (88) in the corresponding fixture in round one last year.
“I think it just gave us a lot of belief, I don’t think we’ve done it for so long and Maffra’s such a good team and Hayden (Burgiel) coaches them so well that there is always a fear in some sides when travelling there,” Singh said.
“I think we did have the belief that if we played as well as we could we might be able to get over the line and that was massive just in terms of building confidence that we can go away from home and play powerhouse teams and compete.”
To keep the streak alive Morwell has to beat Leongatha and Traralgon on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, while Sale’s next two matches are against Maffra away and Drouin at home. Previous to this season there has been two years in which teams with 7-0 records met.
The first occasion was 1985 when Traralgon and Warragul met at Traralgon, where the home side won 23.17 (155) to 14.17 (101).
The second was in 1998; Traralgon and Leongatha both had 7-0 records when they met at Traralgon, with Traralgon winning 17.7 (109) to 11.10 (76). The Gippsland League has the round off for interleague fixtures this weekend.