Two-time reigning premier Morwell has kept its 2015 finals hopes alive with a 12-point win over Drouin.
It was the biggest margin during a tightly contested start to the split round 15 of the Gippsland League.
The Tigers got off to the better start and led the Hawks by two goals at the first change.
By half-time, the margin was out to 18 points after a tighter second term.
The visitors outscored their opponents in the third, and despite being kept goalless in the last, were able to hold on for a much-needed victory.
Locked on 28 points each, Morwell, Sale and Drouin are battling for the fifth and final spot in the top five.
Traralgon v Wonthaggi
Traralgon all but cemented third spot with a win against Wonthaggi, in the battle between third and fourth.
“The boys played pretty good footy, it was pleasing to get a big scalp in Wonthaggi and the win pretty much gives us clearance for third spot,” Maroons coach Mark Collison said.
Traralgon led the Power by six points after a low scoring opening term.
The home team kicked two unanswered goals in the second, all the while holding the visiting Power goalless.
Wonthaggi’s first two majors came in the third quarter, which saw the Maroons add three goals of their own; the margin 20 points at three-quarter-time.
The Power gave it everything in a dominant final term, however, Traralgon was able to fight off the visitor in the dying minutes and held on to win by eight points.
“A couple of crucial mistakes cost us, we let them back into the game and it was pretty intense in the last few minutes,” Collison said.
In his second senior game back from injury, Hayden Britton was again the stand out with the boot, kicking three for the Maroons.
“He’s a gun. He had a shoulder reconstruction at the end of last year and struggled early,” Collison said.
“He played his first game last week and kicked four and then kicked three again on the weekend, he’s a pretty good talent for us.
“It’s good to get a bit of a spell not just physically, but mentally too. I think the break has come at a perfect time for us.”
Sale v Bairnsdale
Sale kept in touch with the top five with a hard-fought victory against Bairnsdale.
“The win means our season is still alive and it should be a roller coaster ride home,” Sale coach Travis Ronaldson said.
“It is indicative of how tight the competition is that three sides are fighting it out for fifth.
“We back ourselves in against sides in the top five.
“Results over the course of the year show that if you bring your A-game anything can happen.”
However, the home team had to work hard for the four points against Bairnsdale under lights on Saturday night.
“The game was an arm wrestle all night. Bairnsdale took it right to us and it took us until late in the last quarter to get an advantage and hold onto it,” Ronaldson said.
The nine-point win comes after what has been a tough month for the Magpies.
“We have had a tough five weeks, playing all of the top four teams in that period, so it was important for us to get a win and start building some momentum again,” he said.
Just one point separated the sides at quarter-time, while there were only five points in it at the main change; Sale again with the upper hand.
Trailing the Magpies by three points at three-quarter-time, the visitors were still in the contest at the final break.
However, the home team kicked three goals to two in the last to claim a narrow, but much-needed victory.
“I was really proud of the efforts of the group, we had a couple of injuries during the game and had a number of under 18s playing,” Ronaldson said.
“To see the group compete and work like they did, especially late in the game, was outstanding.”