Stratford got the win it desperately craved against Boisdale-Briagolong, in what would have meant season-over if the Swans didn’t get over the line.
Stratford kicked less goals than its opponent, but hung on to win 8.14 (62) to 9.6 (60) to claim third spot on the East Gippsland football ladder.
Despite sluggish conditions at Boisdale from a couple of day’s of rain, the match opened up in a flurry, with seven goals kicked in the opening term.
The Bombers held an early lead but the Swans wrestled back some momentum during the second term to take an 11-point lead into the main break.
The Bombers kicked four goals in the third term to cut the margin back to within two points at the final change, while the Swans would have been hoping their inaccuracy inside 50 would not come back to haunt them as they had registered 19 scoring shots to 12 at this stage.
With its season on the line, Stratford defended manically in the final quarter and survived a few nervous moments to eventually get home by the skin of its teeth.
Having defeated the side which was on top of the ladder heading into the match, the Swans will now have to repeat the effort this week against Lindenow.
Gavin Bickery was best afield for Stratford in just his fourth game for the season and received good support from Brad White and Jordan Robertson.
Dylan Alexander was best for Boisdale-Briagolong, along with Nicoll Sandison and Josh Hegarty.
Despite leading by three points at quarter time, the Gulls were overrun by the Cats and fell to a heavy loss.
Lindenow went to another level in the second term and slotted 13 scoring shots to two to open up a 33-point buffer at the main break. It was a similar story in the second half as the Cats kicked 10 goals to two.
Darren Allen starred for Lindenow with six majors, while Will Blackley and Rohan Blandford also impressed.
Liam Rathman led the way for the Gulls and was supported by Aaron Cameron and Alex McLaren.
Orbost Snowy tested the Seagulls for the first three terms before falling away late at home.
Despite conceding more scoring shots, the Blues kept in touch and were only down by nine at the last change. Lakes Entrance finally capatilised on its chances in the final stanza and held Orbost Snowy to one behind while kicking 3.3 to secure the victory.
Jordan Cullen, Liam Carroll and James Gibbs were brilliant for the Seagulls, while Hamish Nettleton, Jason Eaton and Quinn Christy gave their all for Orbost Snowy.
In blustery conditions at Tigerland, Lucknow surged late to hand the Tigers their seventh loss of the season.
Wy Yung held a slender one-point buffer heading into the final quarter, but Lucknow dealt the first meaningful blow as Travis Balmer booted a major from the goalsquare after the ball fell to him from a smothered kick. The Magpies led by four eight minutes in. A Jake Green long bomb sailed through five minutes later to stretch Lucknow’s lead to nine.
Wy Yung was on the back foot and the Magpies continued to push their advantage with Ryan Ladson crumbing and snapping truly, giving the Magpies a three-goal buffer. Brandon Sauer then nailed a set shot from straight in front to seal Lucknow’s victory. When the match was there to be won in the final quarter it was Lucknow that stood up as the likes of Ash Smith and Sauer continued to pump the ball forward and put Wy Yung’s defence under constant pressure.
In the first term the Tigers kicked the opening goal as both teams adjusted to the poor
conditions. While Lucknow had some chances, it couldn’t convert and Chris Wheeler gave Wy Yung a 10-point margin at the first change with a late goal.
The Tigers controlled the ball at the start of the second stanza with Luke Elia drilling a simple set shot, stretching Wy Yung’s lead to 16. That would be the Tigers’ last goal of the match as Balmer kicked Lucknow’s first moments later after the ball spilled out the back of a pack. Sauer would get the Magpies within four at the 12-minute mark with a piece of brilliance
on the run from 40m out. A Damien Hodder short pass found Ash Smith with the latter giving Lucknow a three point
advantage from a slight angle. Wy Yung then missed a couple of gettable chances and at half time the Magpies were in front by one.
While Lucknow would not add to its total in the third quarter, the Tigers also struggled to score with the latter’s two behinds putting them one point up with one quarter to go. In the last Wy Yung struggled to hit a target when going forward before the Magpies lifted and scored the last four goals of the match. Andrew Nelson was fantastic for Lucknow across half back, while Sauer and Smith collected plenty of the ball in the middle.
Shaun Mooney continued his strong form for Wy Yung, while Wheeler dominated at the coalface.
LADDER AFTER ROUND 17
LEADING GOAL KICKERS AFTER ROUND 17
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Boisdale-Briagolong v Stratford match review written by Liam Durkin reporting for Gippsland Times. To view original article in full online click here.
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