Sandringham has been handed its first defeat in nine weeks, going down to the second-placed Southport by 44 points at Fankhauser Reserve this afternoon.
The Sharks comprehensively outpointed and outplayed their opposition after Matthew Allison threaded the opening goal of the game, billowing out the margin to 57 points at three-quarter time before settling for a 16.13 (109) to 9.11 (65) result.
Turnovers and ineffective forward entries riddled the visitors' outing up north, which stood in contrast to Southport's willingness to get-and-go and ability to transition from defensive-50 to attacking half.
Jack Billings (32 disposals, nine marks, one goal) and Hunter Clark (24 disposals, five tackles) were highlights for Sandringham in their respective pushes to break back into the senior side, while omitted forward Cooper Sharman was the only multiple goalkicker with four.
Billings and Clark spent time both along the wing and at centre bounce, with the former snapping a much-needed goal in the shadows of half-time to give his side a fighting chance.
The Sharks had no shortage of contributors however, especially inside the arc. Jacob Townsend and Max Pescud bagged three apiece, Jay Lockhart slotted his two majors in the third-quarter blowout, while Billy Gowers and Michael Selsby also finished with multiple majors.
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Southport's strength came through its midfield dominance, and led by Boyd Woodcock (32 disposals, six clearances, two goals) and Jacob Dawson's skill by hand (31 disposals, 23 handballs, nine clearances) were able to capitalise off the joint ruckwork of Fraser Thurlow and Brayden Crossley (a combined 41 hit-outs) and get the better of Tom Campbell and Max Heath.
Dean Kent pieced together a solid return from an ongoing knee issue with seven tackles and a goal, Darragh Joyce battled hard with 22 touches and nine rebound-50s as the sole big man in defence, Ryan Byrnes collected 26 disposals, while Jack Peris was thrown into centre bounces after three-quarter time to finish with 15.
Sandringham drew to within five goals midway through the final term to patch up the scoreboard damage, but were unable to quell Southport's defiant statement as it cemented its standing in the top-two.
SOUTHPORT 4.4 8.7 14.11 16.13 (109)
SANDRINGHAM 1.2 4.6. 5.8 9.11 (65)
Southport: Townsend 3, Gowers 2, Pescud 2, Selsby, Lockhart,
Sandringham: Sharman 4, Allison, Billings
Southport: Woodcock, Townsend, Joyce, Dawson, Thurlow, Pescud, Crossley, Manteit, Gowers
Sandringham: Billings, Sharman, Clark, McHale, Joyce, Kent, Byrnes