The Gippsland League home and away season wrapped up at the weekend with finals places now set in stone.
Leongatha, Maffra, Traralgon, Moe and Morwell round out the top five.
Moe proved its worth as a serious flag contender at the weekend with a 12.13 (85) to 7.6 (48) win over Morwell in the last home and away game of season 2017.
Scores were level at the first break but the Lions tore away with nine goals to Morwell’s four thereafter.
Peter Ainsworth earned best-on-ground plaudits for his three-goal haul while Luke Webber and James De Virgilio scored two each.
Charlie Rieneits, Darnell Grech and Mitchell Stanlake were also among the best for Moe.
The win holds Moe in good stead for this weekend’s round 18 replay when the Lions face Morwell again in the elimination final.
Morwell coach Joel Soutar said the Tigers simply “didn’t come to play” in round 18.
“Our pressure wasn’t there and it just wasn’t as good as it has been the last three weeks,” Soutar said.
He also cited poor ball use as the major downfall for Morwell.
“We started really well but we just started to turn the ball over in the second quarter,” Soutar said.
“We had heaps of opportunities but our ball use let us down and they really got on top of us after half time.”
Despite the 37-point loss Soutar said the Tigers would look forward to meeting the Lions again in this week’s elimination final.
“After the game we spoke about forgetting the result and moving on,” he said.
“We knew we would likely face them again in finals so we’ll concentrate on looking towards this weekend’s game.”
Morwell will welcome back Isaac Abas this week with Jack Brown and Kane Grinstead-Jones also possible inclusions.
Traralgon v Warragul
It was a one-sided affair when Traralgon hosted Warragul in round 18 with the Maroons storming home to record a 16.17 (113) to 6.5 (41) win over the Gulls.
The victory means Traralgon finished third and sets it up for a date with Maffra in this weekend’s qualifying final.
Warragul finished in seventh with seven wins and 11 losses for the season.
Dylan Loprese and Lee Stockdale were the major scoreboard contributors for the Maroons with three goals each while Haydn Hector bagged two.
Traralgon coach Mark Collison said his team played “some really good footy” and deserved the win.
“It was a good game for us and I was pretty impressed that we’ve continued to put together some good form,” Collison said.
He said a balanced performance by the entire line-up was promising but highlighted the need for improvement up forward.
“We were pretty even across the board and our backline had a really good game but our forward line probably wasn’t at it’s best and could have been better with a lot of missed shots on goal,” he said.
Drouin v Bairnsdale
Drouin had its best chance to record its maiden win of 2017 in round 18 against Bairnsdale but fell agonisingly short, 13.19 (97) to 13.9 (87).
The luckless Hawks led at every break and went into the final term with a 22-point advantage and looked set to record their first victor of the year, but a five-goal last quarter effort by Bairnsdale put the game beyond reach.
Brayden Mccarrey proved the difference for Bairnsdale with four goals, while Rhys Gardener and Jaryd Gilroy scored two each.
Michael Theodoridis was serviceable for Drouin with three goals.
Russell Cowan, Rhys Gardener and Jaryd Gilroy were among the best for Bairnsdale in the win and David Olsen and Darcy Irwin for Drouin.
Bairnsdale finish in ninth position on the Gippsland League ladder with five wins and 13 losses.
The loss was Drouin’s 18th for the year and meant the Hawks finished 10th without a win to their name.
Leongatha v Maffra
It was shaping as the game of the round and the weekend’s clash between Leongatha and Maffra didn’t disappoint, with the Parrots edging out the Eagles 11.10 (76) to 8.12 (60).
The victory meant Leongatha secured the minor premiership with 16 wins and two losses and earns it the week off and a spot in the semi-final.
Maffra finished just a game behind the Parrots in second with 15 wins and will face Traralgon in this weekend’s qualifying final.
Josh Schelling starred for Leongatha with two goals and six votes for best-on-ground.
Sam Forrester, Ryan Olden and Luke Bowman joined Schelling among the best for the Parrots while Thomas Jolly, Daniel O’Brien and Jack Johnstone featured for Maffra.
Sale v Wonthaggi
Sale finished its season on a high at the weekend with a 14.6 (90) to 4.8 (38) win over Wonthaggi.
The Power never looked like challenging the Magpies and managed just four goals for the day.
Jarrod Freeman was the lead scorer for Sale with three majors while Kyle Dunkley, Kane Martin, Brad Dessent and Jordan Dowsett scored two each.
The win was Sale’s seventh for season 2017 and sees it finish in sixth spot on the Gippsland League ladder, ahead of Warragul on percentage.
Wonthaggi finished in eighth.