A six-goal second term has helped Traralgon move a game clear of Moe on the Gippsland League senior ladder with a win over Bairnsdale in round 10, 19.12 (126) to 7.5 (47).
Traralgon playing-coach Mark Collison said the Maroons had emerged "a better side" after a "down patch" of three consecutive losses and a "frustrating" defeat to Maffra in round eight.
"We lost three in a row to sides not in the top five, which was frustrating because we thought we were playing well, but the positive is that we seemed to have fixed that and we're playing really well," Collison said.
"I thought against Maffra we played three really good quarters and lost it in the last, so to come out against Bairnsdale and put a full game together was really pleasing.
"We put a full game together and our team defence was really strong all game – we were committed to that – and we kept Bairnsdale to under 50 points, which was a real positive."
Collison said the emergence of Connor Little as a key fixture down back had been key for the Maroons and labelled his performance against Bairnsdale "exceptional".
North Gippsland league leading goal kicker Jesse Jackway kicked two goals in his second game for Traralgon and has "fitted in really well and looks like he belongs", while Jack Vucenovic stepped up and looks to be in fine form after a torrid injury run in 2017.
"We've got plenty of depth, plenty of players are stepping up I think we're playing some really good footy at the moment," Collison said.
Connor Ambler was key through the midfield and added two goals for the Maroons in the win over Bairnsdale, as did Jay Neagle, Cory Stockdale, Mitch Mustoe and Lee Stockdale.
Traralgon come up against defending premiers Leongatha in round 11, and after disposing of the Parrots in round two, Collison said the side was "feeling confident".
Drouin v Moe
The journey to Drouin was no problem for Moe who have moved a game clear in fifth position on the Gippsland League ladder with a mammoth 93-point win over the Hawks in round 10, 21.13 (139) to 7.6 (46).
No less than 13 players hit the scoreboard for the Lions – a facet of the game coach James Blaser was rapt with.
"We had a really even spread of goal kickers and the most anyone kicked was two, and that's what we've worked on is the versatility and flexibility of our structure and we can really put anyone forward and they can kick goals, which is really pleasing," Blaser said.
Ahead of the clash, Blaser emphasised the importance of starting well and the Lions delivered with a six-goal-to-one opening term.
"When we've been to Drouin in the past we've had a real challenge, so I was really pleased with the start we had," he said.
Tom Long and James De Virgilio were a couple of the better contributors for Moe but Blaser flagged the side's "pressure and intensity" as key and said it was difficult to attribute the win to just a handful of players.
"It was just a really good team effort overall and with a win that easy ... we didn't really have a bad player," he said.
Moe will make the trip to Sale in the headlining match of round 11 while Drouin will face ladder leaders Maffra.
Maffra v Sale
Sale have delivered league giants Maffra their first loss of the 2018 season with an emphatic win on the road on Saturday, 11.5 (71) to 3.16 (34).
Though rapt with the win, Magpies coach Shane Fyfe said the 37-point margin "wasn't reflective" of the contest.
"I'm really pleased. They're clearly number one in the competition and playing them at home ... we haven't won there since 2014, so I'm just happy that we had a plan and executed it pretty well," Fyfe said.
"We were able to hit the scoreboard better than them and they kicked a few behinds but it didn't feel like that with them."
The Eagles were restricted to an uncharacteristically low score, with just three goals from 20 scoring shots, in "windy and tricky" conditions.
"In the last [quarter] they kicked the first goal and had a couple of opportunities, but around the footy conditions were pretty tough and our midfielders played well," Fyfe said.
"But it was just a real hard contest and we had to be quite accountable against them, if you give them time and space they'll cut you apart, they're such a good side."
Fyfe praised the efforts Jayden Allison in the midfield who also pressed forward and finished with three goals while ruckman Jack Lipman and Adam Wallace were also among the best.
Morwell v Warragul
Warragul have dealt a blow to Morwell's hopes of a post-season berth and move two games clear of the Tigers after recording a 22-point win on Saturday, 9.16 (70) to 6.12 (48).
For the Gulls, the victory keeps them in touch with the top five - just a game off the pace of Moe in fifth.
The Tigers weren't without chances in the first term and had five scoring shots for just a single major to trail by seven points at the first break.
They etched back the deficit in the second and added three goals to Warragul's two to be within two points at half-time, but failed to add anymore from three scoring shots in the third.
Electric midfielder Nathaniel Paredes was key for the Gulls in the win and finished with two goals, as did Tyssen Morrow and Brayden Fowler.
Leongatha v Wonthaggi
Defending premiers Leongatha continued their march towards finals in 2018 with an easy win over Wonthaggi yesterday, 8.9 (57) to 3.5 (23).
Many of the usual suspects reared for the Parrots including Chris Dunne and John Ginnane, who each bagged three goals, and Josh Schelling who was again instrumental down back.
The Power were held to just a single point in the opening quarter while Leongatha went about their business and scored three goals, two behinds to lead by 19 points at the first break.
The unforgiving Parrots defence allowed just a single goal through to three-quarter-time to well and truly seal the deal with a 47-point lead at the last break.