IT was a happy homecoming for Moe on Saturday as the Lions made it three wins in a row with a 63-point demolition of Drouin at Ted Summerton Reserve.
In their first home game of the year, coming five rounds into the season, the Lions roared from the word go and piled on 40 scoring shots to 17 en route to a 17.23 (125) to 9.8 (62) triumph.
Big forward Karl Mutke was among it again with a bag of five goals, matched by partner in crime Mark Engley, bringing his season tally to 14.
Having been unable to train for several years due to work commitments, Mutke’s return to the practice pitch is paying huge dividends.
“He’s now able to train once a week which makes a big difference to anyone’s game,” coach James Blaser said.
“He’s taking the marks he would have dropped in the last few years and he’s hard to match up on because he’s such a big fella.”
Mutke was one of seven goal kickers for Moe which, while not yet at full strength, is showing few signs of weakness across the park.
Blaser said with everyone pulling their weight it made for an exciting young Lions side.
“I just think we don’t have any passengers at the moment. We’ve got 21 players contributing every week and a few big forwards kicking some goals,” he said.
“We’ve got a really strong backline and in the midfield we won the clearances pretty easily in the end. It’s a young team that’s starting to gel together.
“Just the depth we’re starting to get (is promising); the juniors are getting some good results as well (so) when you can play a young kid like Scotty Van Dyk and he plays a really good role from the thirds it’s really positive for the club.”
Moe kicked 4.4 (28) in the opening term to Drouin’s 2.2 (14) and never dropped the pace.
The Lions booted four goals in each of the following two terms to open up a 44-point lead at the final change and finished the job with five goals to two in the last.
With 20 behinds for the afternoon Blaser said it could have been a blowout, but was happy to secure a third consecutive win for the first time in recent memory.
“Two-in-a-row had been a few years (since it happened), but three-in-a-row probably four or five years – 40 scoring shots to 17 in the end so it should have been more than the 60 points but we’ll take that sort of win,” he said.
With consistent midfielder Jacob Wood, centre half-back Luke Webber, VFL player Declan Keilty and Gippsland Power members Anthony Young and Matt Pearce, due to return from a knee injury soon, still to come back in, a full strength Lions side is an imposing prospect.
Blaser said the ground, which had its first major test post a drainage and irrigation project, performed well.
“It (the playing surface) was fantastic, it held up really well. It was pretty warm but the turf wicket in the middle had just enough give to take a fair bit of jumping and stuff but the rest of the ground was fantastic,” he said.
“It was great to be back there on our main oval with a good support base.”
WARRAGUL stunned south Gippsland rival Wonthaggi by 14 points in an upset away from home.
The Gulls broke a four game losing streak against the Power with a gutsy 9.15 (69) to 8.7 (55) victory after falling behind in the first quarter.
League leading goal kicker Brayden Fowler was the difference with five majors.
REIGNING premier Traralgon continued on its merry way with a comprehensive 59-point win over the visiting Bairnsdale Redlegs.
The Maroons extended the lead at every change to run away with it 18.17 (125) to 9.12 (66).
Lee Stockdale continued his hot form in front of goal with four sausage rolls to take his tally to 10 from two matches this season, while nine of his teammates also split the big sticks.
MORWELL’S dire start to the season continued with a fifth consecutive loss, this time at the hands of Maffra.
The Tigers jumped out of the blocks well on home soil and built a 5.2 (32) to 3.3 (21) lead by quarter-time, but the Eagles bounced back with a seven-goal second term and went to half-time 13 points up.
The visitor continued to press as Morwell faded in the second half to a 19.10 (124) to 11.8 (74) defeat.
COMPETITION front runner Leongatha made yet another mockery of a quality side with a 121 -point thrashing of Sale.
The Parrots kept the Magpies scoreless in the first term while adding 3.5 (23) before turning it up in the second with seven majors to three.
Six in the third and eight in the last capped off another dominant showing.
Zak Vernon nailed five for the host, with Aaron Hillberg (4), Brenton Fitzgerald (3), Chris Dunne (3), Nick Argento (2) and Lochlan Du Mont (2) also managing multiple majors.