Coming home with a wet Sale

SALE’S late charge for an unlikely Gippsland League finals berth took another step forward on Saturday when the Magpies humbled Warragul at home.

The 14.10 (94) to 10.11 (71) victory has opened the door for Sale to sneak into the five pending the results of the next fortnight.

Currently seventh on the ladder, the Magpies are just one game behind both Warragul (sixth) and Wonthaggi (fifth) with a similar percentage.

Wonthaggi’s loss to Drouin at the weekend leaves Sale with a big chance to make a move with matches against the Hawks and Moe to come in the run home.

Both the Power and Gulls have tough games in round 17, against top three sides Maffra and Traralgon respectively, meaning the Pies could draw level with both ahead of the final matchday of the season.

Warragul has drawn Maffra in the final round in what shapes as a tough match for the men from Western Park, while Wonthaggi will host Bairnsdale in a potential shootout for the coveted fifth spot on the table.

Sale has been in fine form over the past month, with three wins and two losses including an upset over reigning premier Traralgon and a narrow loss to Wonthaggi.

The Magpies continued their fight for a place in the finals frame on Saturday in a match which took several twists along the way.

Sale came out hard and was quickly into stride with 5.3 (33) to 2.2 (14) on the board by quarter-time.

The host continued the onslaught in the second to set up a 16 point lead by half-time.

Warragul, also desperate for points late in the season, woke up in the third.

The Gulls limited Sale to a single major for the term and added four of their own to edge ahead by four points at the final change.

Renewed desire was evident among the black and whites in the last as Sale pressured relentlessly across the park to keep Warragul scoreless for the term.

The Pies added 4.3 (27) to run away with the match and keep their hopes of playing finals football alive.

Jarrod Freeman kicked three for the victors, as did Brayden Fowler for Warragul.

TRARALGON struck the first blow ahead of qualifying final opponent Maffra away from home on Saturday.

The Maroons marched to a 15.12 (102) to 14.10 (94) win in the dress rehearsal for September’s second versus third encounter.

Now within two points of the second-placed Eagles the Maroons could yet jump above them ahead of the finals series.

Lee Stockdale was back to his best in front of goal with half a dozen majors for the Maroons, who led at every change bar the first.

MORWELL held off Bairnsdale to win by three points in a cracker at the Bairnsdale Recreation Reserve.

The Tigers fell behind by 11 at the first break, evened the ledger by half-time and managed to go two goals up by three-quarter-time.

The Redlegs made a fist of it in the fourth but Morwell managed to hold on to win by less than a kick.

Ryan Tatterson bagged three goals as did Bairnsdale’s Tom Brennan.

LEONGATHA continued its unbeaten run with another clinical display against Moe.

The Parrots racked up 20.18 (138) to the Lions’ 4.8 (32) and continued their inexorable march toward the minor premiership.

It was all but over by quarter-time, with 8.5 (53) already on the board to just two Moe behinds.

The Lions regrouped and managed to win the second term but they were never in the hunt.

Leongatha had 11 individual goal scorers led by Aaron Hillberg’s bag of four.

FOURTH-placed Drouin has opened up a six-point buffer over fellow finals hopefuls Warragul and Wonthaggi after defeating the latter by 17 points on Saturday.

With two rounds to play the Hawks have destiny in their hands with one win in the last fortnight enough to sew up a spot in September.

Drouin has Sale next week in a key match for both sides, before facing the impervious Leongatha in round 18.

Saturday’s 13.12 (90) to 10.13 (73) win was crucial for the Hawks, who had to come from behind to secure the four points.

Wonthaggi left Drouin in the dust in the first, with 5.5 (35) to 2.2 (14) on the board by the break.

The Power kept things ticking along and led by 20 at half-time before Drouin staged a second half revival.

The Hawks booted four goals in the third to draw within three points at three-quarter-time and managed another quartet in the last to steal the game away.

Ben Hughes bagged four for Drouin, a feat matched by Adam Cook at the opposite end.