Sam Anstee · @SamAnstee85

11th Jun 2018 from TwitLonger

Parrots clip Magpies wings

A fast finishing Sale left to much work to do, not being able to cage the Leongatha Parrots in Round 9 Gippsland League action.

Leongatha winning 14.10.94 to Sale 12.11.83.

A good crowd courtesy of the break in local district football was greeted by a high quality, tough game of football as both sides showed why they will be likely finalists at the end of the home and away season.

Whilst much was made of who was missing for Leongatha in the preview, Sale had four important inclusions in Kane Martin returning from a knee injury, Jamie Sweeney from work commitments, Zac Hurley from Gippsland Power and Jack Mclindin from an upper leg injury.

A fast start ensured and the Sale pressure was working well, Jack Mapleson intercepted a Leongatha kick in, going back and kicking truly. The Sale efforts were creating opportunities but it was a case of what could have been rather than what was.

Jamie Sweeney settled in well, intercepting Leongatha forward entries but it was the Parrots who held a one point lead at the quarter time break. Coach Shane Fyfe praised the players but wanted them to be more aggressive with there ball use going forward.

Leongatha were creating constant entries and the efforts of the Sale defence were outstanding, a big clash from Mitchell Thacker going back with the flight typified what the game meant for both teams. When Thacker hit the ground hard, concerns grew but thankfully he returned to the ground in a brave effort to play out the match.

Nic Dowse spoiled to great effect and a passage of play from Thacker who kicked out to Collins then inside to Wallace was capped off by a perfect forward entry kick to Gooch from Kane Martin.

It was Sale’s only goal for the quarter as Leongatha through strong clearance work extended the lead to twenty four points at the main break.

To stay in the match Sale had to hit the scoreboard early but it took until the tenth minute mark for Sale to goal. John Gooch kicked consecutive goals from snap shots to bring the margin under three goals, again it was Leongatha who responded, with a goal to just keep the Magpies at bay.

A free kick resulted in a gifted goal to Mckay and it was Leongatha who were on the back foot. Sale controlled the play but just couldn’t break through to get the margin in single figures.

A big tackle from Gooch on the wing bought a real strong feeling to the game but a late goal from the Parrots saw the margin hover at seventeen points at the three quarter time break.

As Fyfe again complemented players for there intensity he urged them to take it to the next level emphasising the need to win the contested ball and lay more tackles.

It was to no avail, the margin quickly blew out to forty two points midway in the last it was not a question of who was to win, it was Leongatha by how much.

A free kick to Gooch got a steadier for the Magpies and then a good running goal by Chris Laverty gave the Magpies hope, another goal to Mckay and suddenly the impossible seemed possible.

A long entry by Lipman saw Jordan Dessent mark and kick truly.

With the margin getting inside two goals it was whether Sale could do everything right in the short time to steal a victory.

The tension in the crowd rose, Fyfe drifted forward, the ball fell into his arms, he hand balled over the top to the running Mclindin but the ball rolled through for a behind. Ouch.

When Sale managed to get the ball back from the Leongatha forward line Mitch Dowse took a mark fifteen metres out, a goal would give the Magpies one centre clearance to get a shot on goal and win the game. Dowse sent the shot astray and the Magpies hopes were gone.

The Parrots took it to the other end and scored a behind with the siren sounding shortly after, Leongatha holding on to win by eleven points.

Whilst the players would be disappointed with the wasted late opportunities, it would be simplistic to highlight these because it was a matter of too little too late.

Leongatha overworked the Magpies in the middle parts of the match to really set up the victory, this is what the Magpies will be focusing on in review.

In weeks gone by selection of the best players was very straight forward but the match on Saturday was tough, indicative that the Magpies weren’t quite at there best.

Kane Martin was good on ball, his clean skills and decision making a highlight, whilst Chris Laverty showed his composure and experience in a variety of roles down back and through the middle.

Andrew Quirk, Jamie Sweeney and Nic Dowse were all strong down back, showing desperation and poise in defence. Jayden Allison and Jordan Dessent played solid games on ball and John Gooch looks to be hitting his best form as he kicked five goals.

The loss saw the Parrots jump to second and Sale go to third, two games clear of Moe in fourth. With the toughest task in Gippsland League football awaiting the Magpies in Maffra, the Magpies will look to rebound and put a strong performance together next Saturday.

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