Wy Yung was made to work hard for its top four finish, pulling away for Lakes Entrance at the Lakeside Oval.
The Seagulls were down by 10 at three quarter time and for the first three terms matched the Tigers around the ground. It seemed as if that trend would continue in the final stanza as Josh Piper nailed a set shot from a slight angle 40 metres out to put Lakes Entrance within four points three minutes in.
Wy Yung found an answer four minutes later through Shaun Mooney, who guided the ball through the big sticks from a set shot on the boundary. The Tigers added to their 10-point lead moments later as Brent West ran into an open goal after receiving a handball from James Beha.
Liam Rooney then gave Wy Yung a 22-point buffer 10 minutes into the final term before West and Beha combined again to seal the Tigers’ 29-point victory.
Lucknow sealed its finals berth by half time at the Nest, kicking away from the Blues with six second quarter goals to zero, powering to a 41-point half time lead.
Orbost Snowy was held scoreless from quarter time until the last term as the Magpies locked in an important percentage boost, which in the end was not needed.
Jake Green’s impressive second half of the season continued with four goals, Tim Keyte booted three and Khai Collins two as young guns Chris Hammond and Damian Hodder again led the way from defence and attack respectively.
Both sides entered the match with opposite views, with the Bombers having one eye turned to the finals, and the Gulls having both eyes turned to the finish of the season.
Boisdale-Briagolong opened the game with a five-goal to two quarter, before taking a controlling but not commanding 21-point lead into the main break.
Five goals to one in the third term ensured the points would be heading the Bombers' way, as Paynesville was unable to make any inroads. The Gulls only managed to score one goal after half-time, as Boisdale-Briagolong got the win and moved on.
Best players for the Bombers were Shaun Bates, Dylan Alexander for the fifth consecutive week, and Hayden Burgiel. Ash Pescod, Jordan Farquhar and Nathan Wilson fought hard for Paynesville.1
Stratford was dealt a cruel hand in the final round of East Gippsland football.
The Swans' 6.10 (46) to 7.6 (48) defeat to Lindenow means they will miss the finals, ending their premiership defence.
Stratford was equal on wins with Lucknow and Wy Yung heading into the match, with all three teams creating a logjam of clubs trying to claim two spots on offer in the post regular season.
The Swans faced the hardest challenge of the three, taking on the top of the table Cats to earn the right to participate in the finals. Had Stratford won by even one point and other results played out the way they did, it would have been enough to see them progress through on percentage.
After a pulsating first half, both sides were unable to be separated as the half-time siren sounded. Lindenow returned from the main break with four goals in the third quarter to take an 11-point lead heading into the final term, as Stratford's season remained on life-support.
With the vocal support of the home crowd, the Swans surged forward multiple times during the final term, and ended up registering seven scoring shots to three.
The one goal Lindenow kicked for the quarter proved to be enough, with the Cats' victory also enabling them to claim the minor premiership.
Having been decimated with injury at times throughout the home-and-away season, Stratford will feel relatively hard done by given it defeated every opposition team except Lindenow throughout the year.
Lindenow will now enjoy a week off before it faces Boisdale-Briagolong for a place in the grand final.
Swans pair Hayden Erfurth and Rodney O'Keefe ended the season occupying positions one and two on the league goal kicking table, with the former kicking 50 and the latter 36.
Best players for Lindenow were Luke Dyer, Paul Gould and Rohan Blandford who kicked three goals. Nick French, Regan Tait and Brad White were Stratford's best.
LADDER AFTER ROUND 18
LEADING GOAL KICKERS AFTER ROUND 18
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Stratford v Lindenow and Paynesville v Boisdale-Briagolong match reviews written by Liam Durkin reporting for Gippsland Times. To view original article in full online click here.
Lakes Entrance v Wy Yung and Lucknow v Orbost-Snowy match reviews published by Bairnsdale Advertiser. To view original article in full online subscribe to Eastvicmedia here.