Top trio boost Maroons

Haydn Hector played a starring role for Traralgon in his return to the side. photograph hayley mills
Haydn Hector played a starring role for Traralgon in his return to the side. photograph hayley mills

FOOTBALL

GIPPSLAND LEAGUE

Traralgon have bolstered their finals chances with an all-important win over Moe in the second half of the split round 16, 14.10 (94) to 6.8 (44).

The Maroons held on to fifth spot on the Gippsland League senior ladder and are now level with Moe on nine wins for the season with just two games to play in the home and away season.

Coach Mark Collison reiterated his belief in his side after its 50-point win in the face of immense pressure.

"We were confident going in that our best footy was more than capable and I think when we committed and played our brand of footy that we were a really good side," Collison said.

A loss and subsequent drop to sixth spot would have made finals a stretch for the Maroons but Collison said the side was now "settled" and "good enough to beat anyone on our day".

"We've been really unsettled the last five weeks with the side changing constantly and we hadn't had much opportunity to get a good look at our best side but we've managed that the last two weeks and I thought we put in a good performance," he said.

Three big ins helped the Maroons on Saturday – Haydn Hector, Mitch Mustoe and Adam Jaensch.

"Haydn [Hector] was obviously our best player on the ground and he's one of the highest credentialed players in the competition," Collison said.

"Mitch Mustoe is the most underrated in the competition by a mile and he's in the best 10 players in the competition in my eyes, and Adam Jaensch rarely gets beaten at full-back.

"So when you have three players of that quality in, it really helps the side."

Dylan Loprese was the main culprit up forward and bagged four goals for Traralgon in the win while Lee Stockdale and Chris Urie kicked two each and singles went to six others.

Peter Ainsworth was the lead scorer for the Lions and finished with three goals and singles went to Harrison Sim, Ryan Farmer and Scott Van Dyk.

Collison said the side pulled up "really good" from Saturday's clash with Moe and expected a fully fit outfit to take to the park against ladder leaders Maffra this weekend.

The Maroons will also have an eye on Moe and Warragul – both on nine wins – who come up against Wonthaggi and Sale respectively this weekend.

Warragul v Maffra

Warragul have sent league leaders Maffra packing in a huge upset to wrap up round 16 proceedings, 12.10 (82) to 8.7 (55).

The Gulls made their intentions known from the first bounce and left the Eagles shocked at the first change after scoring four goals straight to earn a 16-point lead.

Maffra wound the deficit back to just four points at the main break but their failure to trouble the scorers for anything more than a behind in the third quarter let Warragul out to a 30-point lead at the last break.

Warragul kept their foot on the Eagles' throats in the final term and could have blown the margin out even further if not for some wayward kicking on goal.

They added three goals and six behinds to their total to run out 27-point victors and move alongside Moe and Traralgon with nine wins for the season.

Brayden Fowler caused all sorts of headaches for the Eagles defence and was key for Warragul, bagging five goals in the win, while Nathanael Paredes and Luke Di Ciero scored two each.

Maffra will look to return to the winner's list when they host Traralgon in round 17 while Warragul will make the trip to Sale in search of a win to stay in the finals race.

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