SALE avenged its only defeat of the Gippsland League season against Bairnsdale under lights at Sale Recreation Reserve on Saturday night.
The Magpies held the visiting Redlegs scoreless in the opening term and to just one goal in the first half on their way to a 41-point victory, 12.10 (82) to 5.11 (41).
It was not all smooth sailing for the ladder leaders, who lost Kane Martin (hamstring) and Tom Hams (head) to injury inside the opening 10 minutes.
The injuries brought about a sense of deja vu for Sale coach Matt Ferguson.
“The first time we played them we had a really tough, physical game and they managed to get over us and we had a couple of early injuries that day as well,” Ferguson said.
“I was thinking it was going to be the same again when a couple of our key on-ballers went down, but we believe if we can stay in a winning position to half-time teams tend to fall away a bit and in the end it was a really good win.”
Hams copped an elbow to the face and convulsed on the ground before he was taken to hospital, but Ferguson said scans had cleared him of any serious structural damage.
Ferguson said the club would look to investigate video evidence of the incident.
In the absence of Hams and Martin, Justin Mclay, Stratford recruit Tye Morrison, Luke Collins and even Ferguson himself stepped up to win the midfield battle.
However, it was defenders Joel Wallace, veteran Shane Fyfe and Jordan Dessent, who kept Bairnsdale captain and full-forward James Gibbs to one goal, who gained most of the plaudits.
Andrew Nelson, Stephen Henshaw and Kane Ashwood battled hard for the Redlegs, who still hold a six-point lead to sixth-placed Traralgon, which has a game in hand.
The win secured a top-two finish for the Magpies, with only Morwell capable of beating them to the minor premiership.
Leongatha v Drouin
LEONGATHA cruised to its sixth win of the season away to Drouin on Saturday.
The Parrots led by 31 points at quarter-time, but inaccuracy in front of goals ensured they only extended the margin to 43 by the main break.
Rhys Salter booted the Hawks’ only goal of the game in the second term.
The visitors held the competition cellar dwellers scoreless in the second half, with Nick Nagel finishing with four goals and Zak Vernon three in the 13.12 (90) to 1.2 (8) win.
Lachlan Dumont, Sean Westaway and Tom Marriott led the way for the Parrots, while Luke Duffy, Liam Axford and Keegan Bott were best for Drouin.
Wonthaggi v Moe
WONTHAGGI beat Moe by 67 points in yesterday’s Victorian Work Cover game of the month at Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve.
The Power booted five goals to none in the first quarter and led at every change, before running out 15.17 (107) to 6.4 (40) winners.
Aaron Ware, Joel Liddle (two goals) and Troy Harley were among the best for the home side, while Dom O’Connor booted four goals.
James Blaser, Clinton Taylor and Kane Airdrie battled hard for the Lions.
The win shored up the Power’s hold on third spot, extending their lead over Maffra to six points, with three rounds to play.
Maffra has a game in hand, which it plays against Traralgon on Saturday.