Chargers Eliminate Power
OAKLEIGH Chargers put an exclamation point to a season that promised so much for Gippsland Power, but in the end spiralled out of control.
The Chargers swept into the Preliminary Final in emphatic fashion as they delivered a 68-point defeat to the weakening Power.
It was the Chargers fifth successive win in an end-of-season drive that has seen them climb from ninth into a Preliminary Final.
Alarm bells rang early for Gippsland as Oakleigh took a 15-point lead at quarter time then effectively ended the match with a 7.2 to 1.0 second quarter.
It left the Chargers holding a commanding 46-point lead at half time and Gippsland was unable to make any inroads in the second half.
The lead blew out to 68-points by three-quarter time and it appeared Oakleigh may inflict an embarrassing three digit defeat on Gippsland.
To their credit, the Power fought out what was obviously a tough last quarter given its season was over to keep the margin to its quarter-time mark and only accurate kicking saved the Power from a losing margin much greater.
Oakleigh had a smorgasbord of winners all the ground.
Its star brigade led by Dom Tyson and Jack Viney continued their sparkling season-long form and Damian Mascitti played a season-best game with 14 marks.
Tyson, Viney and Mascitti collected 28, 27 and 26 possessions respectively as they exerted their influence on the contest.
But they were just the top end of an Oakleigh team that combines really well all over the ground as evidenced from the fact that Michael Wooffindin (26), Matthew Arnot (25), Anthony Soriano (24 possessions), Toby Greene (22) and Dustin Harris (19) all won plenty of the ball.
And, their good work was capped off by Jake Hammond who took seven marks and kicked four goals.
Gippsland was again well served by captain Shaun Wyatt, Morris Medal runner-up Danny Butcher and Vic Country representative Haydn Hector.
But, it was left to too few Power players when a team effort was necessary.
As the TAC Cup season entered August, Gippsland was perched atop the ladder, a game plus percentage clear of their next rival.
But, the Power lost their next two games by 12 and four points respectively against Oakleigh and Sandringham and were never able to recover.
After losing the final home and away match against Calder, Gippsland was bundled out of the finals in straight sets, first a 44-point humbling by Sandringham then Oakleigh switched off the Power’s season.
It was a disappointing end as Gippsland was unable to gain any traction when all the top-of-the ladder metro clubs regained all their players from school commitments.
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 17.10 (112) defeated GIPPSLAND POWER 7.2 (44)