THE first draw of 2014 highlighted a big round 11 in the Gippsland League.
There were mixed emotions at Traralgon, where scores were locked at 71-apiece when the final siren sounded in the clash against Wonthaggi.
“It’s devastating in the context of the season that we didn’t come away with the four points, but the positive is that we fought it out and every one of us had a crack, which is all I can ask for from the boys,” Traralgon captain Michael Geary said.
For Traralgon, which led by 28 points at half-time, had more inside 50s and more scoring opportunities, the match was one that got away.
“Twenty-eight points up at half-time, we nearly doubled their score. Two more easy shots in the second quarter and the game was probably over, that’s how far in front we were. But instead we go away from the structures and what we should be doing. We start getting a bit nervous, we let the sides get a run on and we gave the opposition some belief,” Maroons coach Paul McCulloch said during his post match address.
“It’s definitely a hard pill to swallow. It probably just came down to a 10-15 minute lapse in the third quarter. We knew they were going to lift their intensity, but a few things didn’t go our way, a few mistakes and indiscipline acts cost us in the end,” Geary said.
Wonthaggi on the other hand was happy to go home with the two points.
“We knew they were fighting for their season, they are a proud club,” Power coach Rob Railton said.
“After quarter-time I felt we got ourselves back in the game, they jumped us at the start with a six goal first quarter and a draw up here, we’d probably take that today.”
Wonthaggi clawed its way back into the contest in the third, kicking three goals-two, to Traralgon’s three points.
The home team had its chances in the last, but the visitor would not lie down.
The Maroons kicked one goal three in the last to the Power’s three goals two.
Traralgon had a kick that could have stolen the game in the dying minutes but it missed everything.
“I suppose if that last kick drifted another metre we’d be in here excited and happy I have got mixed emotions because I know you fought it out,” McCulloch said to his troops.
Two and a half games outside the five, Geary conceded it would be difficult for his side to reach finals from here.
“We will have to win every game and we will be relying on other teams to lose,” he said.
But Traralgon is not giving up hope.
“I’m sure we will sit down on Tuesday and see how it all unfolds after the rest of the weekend’s games. We will see where the ladder positions are and I suppose sum it up from there and come up with a renewed focus for the next six weeks,” Geary said.
Nathan Jones booted four goals for the Power, while Adrian Slottje kicked three for the Maroons.
Maffra v Bairnsdale
BAIRNSDALE fell an agonising one-point short of Maffra in a Sunday afternoon thriller.
The match was a blockbuster from the outset.
Just four points separated the Eagles and the Redlegs at quarter-time and by half-time Bairnsdale was back within a point.
The visitor kicked four goals to none in a dominant third term performance which saw Bairnsdale steal a 24-point lead.
However, it was all Maffra in the last; the home team kicked 4.2 (26) to the Redlegs’ one point, to run away with the four points by the narrowest of margins.
Eagle Darren Sheen won the battle of the competition’s leading goal kickers with five majors.
At the other end James Gibbs kicked three for the Redlegs.
Drouin v Morwell
AFTER consecutive losses, Morwell returned to the winners’ circle with a big victory in terrible conditions at Drouin.
The match was rescheduled for Sunday to allow Morwell to host Saturday’s VFL clash between Collingwood and Richmond.
The Tigers got off to an inaccurate start against the Hawks, booting three goals seven in the opening term.
By half-time the visitor’s lead was out to six goals.
Morwell went on to win the wet and muddy encounter by 92 points, while Drouin managed just the one behind for the afternoon.
Boyd Bailey was best on ground for the Tigers with three goals.
Warragul v Moe
MOE returned from Warragul with the four points and its third victory of the year.
The Lions kicked away to an early lead, which went from 13 points at quarter-time to 26 points at the half.
The home team won the third term to be within 15 points of Moe at the last change.
Moe regrouped in the fourth and slammed on five goals to one to run out a 44-point winner.
Leongatha v Sale
SALE cemented top spot for another week with a convincing win on the road against Leongatha.
The Magpies got the jump early and never looked back.
The visitor slammed on three unanswered goals in the opening term to lead by 22 at the first change.
Leongatha opened its tally in the second, but the Parrots proved no match for Sale and trailed by 36-points at half-time.
The visitor did the bulk of the damage in the third term, kicking five goals to Leongatha’s none to lead by 72 at the last change.
As it has done in many a match this year, Leongatha came out firing in the last.
The home team kicked four goals to two, to win the term.
However, it was not enough to win the match as Sale ran out a 57-point winner.
Mitch Davis was the star in front of goal for the Magpies with five.