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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Down to the wire

Two teams besieged with injuries took to the field at Kings Park, Seymour on Saturday.

June 18, 2014 3:45am

James Sullivan drives the ball forward.


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The Bulldogs were without key players in Paul Kirby, Billy Hicks and Linc Wellington.

James Fraser came in for his first game this year.

Played in slippery conditions after heavy rain on Friday, the match went right down to the wire, and it was the Bulldogs who eventually prevailed after suffering a severe scare during the final term.

Boosted with the return of gun tall Paul Colbert, the Lions provided a real contest for Tatura and clearly showed that when they have their best team on the park they will certainly have a big say in the eventual structure of the final six.

Once again the Bulldogs came out firing, putting on a polished display during the first term, using plenty of run and precise ball movement to give the forwards many opportunities.

Desperate wet weather footy from Jack Ritchie with a knock-on allowed Rian McGough to have the opening goal on the board.

Good ball use led to Chris Ryan and Sonny Whiting finishing with majors and at the 13-minute mark it was the Bulldogs 20 points ahead having kept the Lions goalless.

The skills on display were first class considering the wet and slippery conditions.

A bad turnover right on quarter-time gifted Seymour its only goal for the term and due to poor Tatura conversion, was only 16 points adrift at the first break.

Eight scoring shots to two was a fair indication of the total dominance the Bulldogs had, but the continuing issue of poor execution in front of goals must be a concern to the coaching staff.

Scoreboard pressure is vital and, unfortunately, the Goulburn Valley Football League is such a competition that given half a sniff, all sides are capable of getting back into the contest.

The opening goal of the second term from Alex O’Reilly extended the lead to 22 points and should have been the catalyst to slam the door on the opposition.

Unfortunately, as has been the case in previous games, the foot went off the pedal and in the blink of an eye the Lions were back in the game.

Tom Miller resumed his acquaintance with super goal sneak Saad Saad, and although restricting him to five majors for the game, found out how important it is to have your midfield on top as in the space of 10 minutes from the middle of the second term, he slammed through three goals as the supply from the Lions’ backs and onballers lifted.

It took the Bulldogs’ two best players on the day in Tim Lanyon and Rian McGough to steady the ship with late goals to have the Bulldogs 15 points ahead at half-time.

The second half played out in similar fashion to the first, with Tatura being pressured, as the Lions banged through the first two goals to start the half to get back within three points, then skipping away to a comfortable lead before once again allowing the Lions back into the contest.

Daniel Flynn stepped up again and continued his development providing a great contest at stoppages, and McGough benefited, winning the ball constantly and being the spark when Tatura was challenged.

A 21-point lead at the final change had coach Brendan van der Donk plead with his charges to use the corridor and continue to run hard and apply pressure to the opposition and laid it on the line to his players to win the last quarter, something they have only achieved once this year.

The Lions also came out fired up in front of a passionate home crowd, and after the opening eight minutes, had the first two goals on the board and could smell an upset.

Whiting, who came to life in the last term, slotted the reply to maintain the 16-point buffer.

The final 10 minutes was intense football as Seymour’s ‘‘never say die’’ attitude helped it claw back to within three points at the 26-minute mark, and with Colbert drifting forward and providing a menacing target, it was to be a hectic climax to a great contest.

In such games, it is interesting to see who can stand up and deliver and it was no surprise to see the Bulldogs’ VFL-listed players in James Wall and McGough deliver key goals when it mattered to get their side across the line.

The leadership from skipper Billy Lovel was also a highlight during the whole game, finishing with two important goals.

With a host of players to come into the team during the next couple of weeks, it was a vital four points for the side to collect as it still stays in contention for a top-three spot.

Finally the team comes home to Tatura Park after three arduous games on the road to face bottom side Shepparton in another must-win game.

A further boost could be the inclusion into the side of premiership forward Cameron Trewin, who has indicated he would like to return to the kennel.

Ryan Crawford, another premiership star, is also due to return in two weeks after work commitments delayed his start.

SCORES: Tatura 12.11 (83) v Seymour 11.7 (73)

GOALS: R. McGough 4, S. Whiting 2, B. Lovel 2, T. Lanyon 1, A. O’Reilly 1, C. Ryan 1, J. Wall 1.

BEST: T. Lanyon, R. McGough, B. Ryan, J. Wall, D. Flynn, B. Lovel.

RESERVES

An undermanned reserves team, feeling the full effects of a lengthy injury list, simply ran out of legs against a Lions team who included a couple of players with senior experience.

Tim Little played his first game for the year, and although it was only a half, he had a real impact across half-forward and at ruck contests and his influence was missed in the second half.

Matt Basile and Anthony Poppa relished the slippery conditions and worked hard all game.

The ever-reliable James Nihill also gathered many possessions and continued to run all game.

Steve Barrett and skipper Steve Beale were prominent throughout too.

Coach Darren Kirkpatrick (two goals) provided a target up forward and kicked accurately, a slight hamstring strain the only downside.

When the list of unavailable players and injured members return, the reserves will be capable of beating any team in the competition.

SCORES: Tatura 8.5 (53) v Seymour 15.5 (95)

GOALS: D. Kirkpatrick 2, R. Kirby 2, B. Harris 1, D. Maher 1, D. Burls 1, T. Little 1.

BEST: M. Basile, A. Poppa, J. Nihill, B. Harris, S. Barrett, S. Beale.

UNDER-18

The young pups found the slippery conditions difficult as their lighter frames were no match for the Lions’ bigger bodies.

With several players missing, the depth was well and truly tested and to the credit of the team and coach Rob Montgomery, the squad definitely did not throw in the towel.

Michael Archer played his best game, contesting well and winning his own ball on regular occasions, Liam Borrelli relished the conditions and was a rock across half-back.

Borrelli backed up, playing half a game in the reserves and acquitted himself well.

The ever-reliable Brayden McGregor put in a typical polished display and is developing well as a future senior player.

Zave Ballis and Trent Mallon also put in commendable efforts against strong opponents.

SCORES: Tatura 3.3 (21) v Seymour 12.5 (77)

GOALS: K. Suratman, R. Evans.

BEST: M. Archer, L. Borrelli, B. McGregor, Z. Ballis, T. Mallon.

A reminder Tatura Football Netball Club’s ball is at the Ballantyne Centre on Saturday, July 5.

Cost is $45 per person pre-booked or $50 at the door, which includes an appetiser and two-course meal. Drinks are at bar prices. Dress is formal because the night is a red carpet event.

A DJ will provide music.

A bus will leave Shepparton Library on Marungi St at 6.45pm and leave Tatura at 12.45am. Cost for the bus is $10.

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