SALE has been crowned Gippsland League minor premiers after thrashing Morwell under lights at home on Saturday night.
The reigning premier finished the regular season in style with a 122-point annihilation of runner-up Morwell to end the year with just one loss.
“I’m pretty proud of the way we played… we didn’t want to flirt with our form at all, we just wanted to kick a big score and it was good to get the win,” Sale coach Matt Ferguson said.
“We didn’t expect the match to be such a blow out… I guess we’re in good form. Ever since we were beaten by Maffra we have improved in every game and it’s good to see.”
After winning its first nine straight this year, Morwell ended the season in a different vein.
“Not a great result for us but we need to move on quickly and take what we can from the game,” coach Harmit Singh said.
Singh did not take the field for the match, along with a number of Tigers, and coached from the sidelines for the first time this year.
“It was really good to watch from the sidelines… they (Sale) were really impressive,” he said.
Morwell was without its number one ruckman Tom Crosby, while back up Luke Norder was also out on a week’s suspension for striking Traralgon captain Jaime Aitkin.
The Tigers also missed Jeff Ryan, Boyd Bailey and Tarkyn Lockyer, while former Collingwood star Anthony Rocca’s appearance for Morwell ended up being a one off.
The forward failed to qualify for the Gippsland League finals due to an Achilles injury.
“We really missed a couple of our on-field leaders,” Singh said.
Sale too was without some of its big guns.
Jacob Schuback was unavailable due to work commitments while Kane Martin and Ferguson were also notable absences.
They are, however, certainties to play when the Magpies open their finals campaign in a fortnight, but Kane Fraser has been ruled out for an extended period after rupturing his ACL in last week’s match against Drouin.
Sale led by 10 points after a closely contested opening term.
It was a different story in the second, which saw the Magpies slam on eight unanswered goals to lead by 56 points at the main change.
Sale continued its dominance with a five goal to one third term before finishing the Tigers off with six goals to one in the last.
Former Gippsland Power player Shannen Lange booted five for the flag favourite in a best on ground performance.
Morwell will now face Maffra in Saturday’s qualifying final at Moe while Sale will enjoy a well earned week’s rest.
Warragul v Maffra
MAFFRA secured third position on the ladder with a come from behind win over Warragul.
The Gulls got out to a good start, booting seven goals to three in the opening term to lead the Eagles by 25 points at the first change. Maffra was forced to work its way back into the contest in the second.
The visitor kicked five goals to Warragul’s three to trail by 16 points at the main change.
It was a similar margin at three-quarter-time after a term which saw a total of just four majors.
With the second chance on the line, the Eagles came out firing in the last. Maffra kicked five goals to Warragul’s one in the last to run out an 11-point winner.
Darren Sheen and Adrian Burgiel kicked four apiece for Maffra. At the other end Ben Drew’s eight majors was the biggest haul kicked by a Warragul player against Maffra since Simon Byrne in 1989.
Traralgon v Leongatha
TRARALGON finished the home and away season in fourth after recovering from last week’s loss to Morwell to beat Leongatha.
Traralgon opened up with a three goal to nil opening term.
The home team was narrowly outdone by the Parrots in the second as the Maroons led by 17 points at half-time.
It was a similar pattern in the third with 16 points separating the sides at the last change.
Traralgon kicked four goals to Leongatha’s two in the last to end round 18 as a 32-point winner.
The loss marked the end of Leongatha’s season while the Maroons will face an elimination final on Sunday against Wonthaggi.
Wonthaggi v Drouin
THE Power finished off the regular season with a win, and a big one at that.
At home for the final time this year, Wonthaggi kept the visiting Hawks scoreless in the opening term. By half-time its lead was out to 43 points. The Power piled on 10 goals to two in the second half to win by 102 points.
Moe v Bairnsdale
BAIRNSDALE took its 2013 record to nine wins and nine losses with a win over Moe, its best effort since re-joining the Gippsland League.
However its final round clash against the wooden spooner was far from a walkover.
Finishing the season on home turf, Moe matched it with its opponent in the opening half.
The Lions led by two points at the first change and trailed by just a kick at the main change.
Bairnsdale worked its way to a 26-point lead with a four-goal-to-one third term.
The Lions won the last quarter, albeit by two points, however the home team fell 24 points short of its second win of the year.
It marked the end of a disappointing 2013 for Moe, which managed just one win, over Drouin.