Senior football side playing for pride.By Chalpat Sonti
Avenel — and senior coach Tim Muir — have one last opportunity to take the scalp of a top side and the Swans warmed up for the final game of the season at Stanhope with a tougher-than-expected 43-point win over Longwood.
While Avenel was never seriously challenged, an improving Redlegs side held its neighbours to no more than four goals in any quarter.
‘‘It certainly wasn’t a cakewalk,’’ Muir said.
On the other hand, he was forced to field a makeshift side, with Jon Frankel and David Rees stepping up from under-18s for their senior debuts, joining thirds team-mates Cody Hogan and Josh McDonald, while one of the reserves’ best players this season, Mark Cameron, also played his first senior game.
Cameron was one of Avenel’s best in the midfield, with Frankel — a bottom-age under-18 — also handling the rise well across half forward and half back.
Others to shine included Ryan Lambert, Todd Heaysman, Dean Fulco, Leigh Irving and Peter Graham. Cael McCarthy kicked seven goals and had his usual good game though Muir also paid tribute to the Longwood defender who matched up on him.
‘‘It was good they maintained a level of motivation given they knew they were out of finals,’’ Muir said.
‘‘There were some really positive signs there. With giving the younger guys a run it’s about seeing what they are able to do in terms of roles. (Frankel) played in those key positions and (McDonald) has had time at full back the past couple of weeks.’’
While the Swans were bitterly disappointed to have missed out on finals footy, they have one last chance to take a top scalp with the visit to Stanhope. It will also be Muir’s last game in charge but he knows the Lions won’t be taking it easy with a top-two spot still up for grabs.
‘‘It’s critically important to give a good account of ourselves,’’ Muir said.
‘‘From the point of view of the club it will help with recruiting. Up until now we haven’t really challenged the sides above us which has been really disappointing.
‘‘We’re not going to have everyone available which makes it difficult but it’s important the guys maintain their standards.’’
Avenel4.1, 5.3, 9.3, 13.3 (81)
Longwood2.1, 3.1, 5.1, 6.2 (38)
The Swans are still third after a 111-point win on Saturday. Longwood was held to just two points for the game.
Robbie Sidebottom kicked eight goals for Avenel and Nick McDonald three. Sidebottom was among the side’s best, along with Adam Layton, Simon Van Duinen, Flynn O’Connor, Ben Hughes and Ray Capuano.
A win at Stanhope and a loss by Murchison against Lancaster could still see the Swans get a prized top-two spot.
Avenel4.2, 11.7, 14.11, 16.17 (113)
Longwood0.1, 0.1, 0.2, 0.2 (2)
The Swans under-18 side’s season looks likely to come down to this Saturday’s game at Stanhope.
Avenel kept itself in sixth spot with a weekend off as Longwood doesn’t have a thirds side. Seventh-placed Stanhope had the bye and is still four points behind the Swans.
The Lions won the first round clash between the two sides easily. It also has a better percentage, but the winner on Saturday will take the last finals spot.
State Member for Benalla Bill Sykes did the honours at the netball rooms. These have been in use throughout the 2013 season.
The Victorian Government contributed three-quarters of the cost, with Strathbogie Shire Council providing the rest.
It wasn't all about football at Avenel on Saturday. After the games ended against Longwood, it was time for Mr Avenel again. Ryan Lambert (left) and Joe O'Connor tied for the presitgious honour, so of course there had to be a push-up playoff to break the deadlock which, we are reliably informed, O'Connor won narrowly.
Avenel's Cal Williams tries to break a tackle in the senior game.
Jon Frankel marks on his senior debut for Avenel.
Brodie Sherwood marks in the background for the Avenel reserves side.
Avenel's Flynn O'Connor is gang-tackled by Longwood in the reserves game.
Avenel's Tyler Peacock gets a hand pass away in the reserves game.
Avenel's Mark Cameron gets a handpass away in the senior game.
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