AN undermanned Morwell consolidated top spot with a fifth consecutive victory against all odds in round five of Gippsland League football.
Injury forced coach Harmit Singh and Julian Blackford out of the Tiger line up at the last minute.
However, it did not impact the reigning premier, which burst out of the blocks with a four-goal to one opening term, to lead Maffra by 20-points at the first change.
Not everything was going Morwell’s way though; the Tigers lost captain Joel Soutar.
He was taken to hospital after a hard hit to the head early in the clash.
“He is our best and fairest and the wet and slippery conditions sort of suited him,” Singh said.
“We won’t be playing him next week unless he gets the all clear from a doctor… we are not going to take any risks with any players.”
Maffra stole the lead in the second and went into half-time four points ahead.
It was a similar story in the third quarter, which saw the Eagles lead by two points.
The injuries left Morwell without a bench after half-time, however, the Tigers dug deep, kicking three goals to one in the last to hold on for its fifth straight win, to the tune of 14 points.
“We had a lot of tired boys so it was just fantastic for the boys to get a win against a good opposition,” Singh said.
Sale v Moe
Sale joined Morwell at the top of the Gippsland League ladder after also recording its fifth consecutive victory.
On Saturday the Magpies disposed of Moe by 70 points.
Last year’s runner-up averaged four goals a quarter on a day when it did not really look challenged.
Magpies coach Matt Ferguson and Mitch Davis kicked three goals each for Sale.
James Blaser was the stand out in front of goal for Moe with three majors.
Traralgon v Bairnsdale
Traralgon notched up a third straight win, this time against Bairnsdale.
The Maroons led by eight points at quarter-time, 13 at the half and 17 at the last change, however did not truly kick away until the last term.
“The margin in the end was eight goals, but at no point did we feel we had the game wrapped up,” Maroons coach Paul McCulloch said.
“We had to work really hard, it was slippery and the ball was on the ground all day… probably the biggest positive for us was the four quarter effort.
“Our tackling and our pressure was clearly the best it’s been all year.
“It was a really good team effort, to have nine goal kickers was satisfying and there were no passengers, however, there were two stand outs in Adrian Slottje and Matt Llewellin, the latter who shut down James Gibbs and kept him goalless.”
The win helped sneak Traralgon into third on the ladder.
“We are in third but we are on even points with sixth, there is a real fight on at the moment to stay in that top five and we are nowhere near satisfied with that,” McCulloch said.
Warragul v Leongatha
Leongatha got the monkey off its back when it posted its first win of 2014.
Parrots coach Glenn Garner said during the week he wanted a four-quarter effort and against Warragul on Saturday he got it.
Leongatha kicked five goals to none in the opening term to lead by 33 points at the first change.
By half-time its lead was out to 43.
The visitor put its foot down with an 11-goal second half to run out 75-point winner.
Wonthaggi v Drouin
Wonthaggi stormed to fourth on the ladder with a percentage boosting 199-point win against Drouin.
Earl Shaw booted nine for the Power, which kept the Hawks goalless until the second half.