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MATCH REVIEWS – written by David Braithwaite, reporting for and published by Gippsland Times.

A behind in the final second gave Stratford a one-point victory over Lucknow on Saturday to maintain its hold on top spot on the East Gippsland football ladder. Trailing by six points at three-quarter-time at Luclmow, the Swans kicked two goals to one in the final term to war 9.5 (59) to 9.4 (58). Featuring guest player, 2011 Brownlow medallist and 2010 Collingwood premiership player Dane Swan, Lucknow booted four goals to one in the first term to lead by 18 points at quarter-tune. The visiting Swans made better use of their chances during the second quarter, kicking four goals from five scoring shots, compared to the Magpies’ three goals from seven slots, which gave them a 14-point advantage at the main break. Stratford kicked two goals to one during the third quarter to reduce the deficit to six points by the final change of ends, before the Swans again out-scored the Magpies in the fourth term, kicking two goals to one and edging ahead when it mattered most, just before the final siren. Gavin Bicker, was outstanding for the Swans playing at centre half-back, Nick French worked well across half-forward, Haydn Erfurth was Stratford’s only multiple goal kicker, finishing with four, Regan Tait and Ben Channing were effective with the ball through the midfield, while Lincoln Toner was again strong in the ruck. Swan was among Lucknow’s best players, along with Reuben O’Brien and Brodie Matthews. Shaun Ryan booted four majors for the Magpies. Stratford’s superior percentage keeps the Swans on top of the ladder, ahead of Lakes Entrance, with both sides on six wins from seven rounds. Lucknow remains in sixth place, with two wins.

Boisdale-Briagolong also had an enjoyable trip home after accounting for Wy Yung by 14 points. The 11.6 (72) to 8.10 (68) victory resulted in the Bombers moving back into third place on the ladder, overtaking Lindenow on percentage. Little separated the sides throughout the match, with the Tigers leading by two points at quarter-time and one at half-time, before the Bombers edged ahead by two at the final change. The visitors took control during the final term, kicking three goals to one. Jim Reeves kicked seven goals in a best-on ground performance for the Bombers, extending his lead on the league goal kickers list to eight. Billy Marshall, Shay Ferguson, Justin Hunt, Brandon Rimington and Mat Simmonds were also prominent for Boisdale-Briagolong. Norm Betts, Mitch Toms and Harry Kellow, who kicked three goals, were best for the Tigers, who are still in seventh place on the ladder with one win.

Lakes Entrance defeated Lindenow by 43 points at home. After leading by seven points at quarter-time, the Seagulls kicked four goals to one in the second term to lead by 29 points at half-time. The home side the finished strongly, kicking four goals to one in final term to win 13.12 to 6.11. Liam Carroll, Sam Nickless and Alex Saunders, who kicked four goals, led the way for the Seagulls. Hugh McShane was the Cats’ best player.

Orbost-Snowy Rovers closed the gap between the Blues, moving into fifth place — shy of the top four by eight points after thumping Paynesville by 106 points at the weekend. The visitors defeated the win-less Gulls 20.18 (138) to 5.2 (32). Max Welsh kicked five goals, Hamish Nettleton four and Mitch Dignan three. The Blues’ best players were Cody Robertson and Lachlan Fenner.

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