Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Saints sitting tight at top

Benalla Saints are undefeated on the top of the GVFL ladder after a 48-point win against Mooroopna.

MONIQUE FREER June 18, 2014 3:37am

Benalla Saints remain undefeated this season after a 48-point victory against Mooroopna on Saturday.

The Cats never troubled the Saints at Benalla Showgrounds, with the home side leading at every change and dominating across the ground.

The home side’s strong performance has left it one game clear at the top of the Goulburn Valley Football League ladder.

Coach Luke Morgan said while there were still areas of the game to improve, there were far more pleasing aspects in his side’s performance.

‘‘It’s always good to have a win and I thought we played some good footy,’’ Morgan said.

‘‘We had contributors all across the oval and I can’t ask for much more than that.’’

Benalla got off to a flying start with four unanswered goals in eight minutes, including two to forward Nick Warnock.

The muddy ground was heavy underfoot for both teams, but it did not stop the Saints’ run through the centre and dominance in the midfield.

Mooroopna kicked its first goal at the 21-minute mark of the first term to reduce the deficit to 22 points at quarter-time, but the damage was already done.

Benalla extended its lead at each break in an impressive performance.

‘‘We felt like we were always in control, but with a 48-point win, it’s reassuring,’’ Morgan said.

‘‘I think we dominated possession count, but I don’t think the scoreboard is a true reflection of the game.

‘‘Against any GVFL side it’s always going to be a good contest.

‘‘We’re playing more and more footy together and that works out well for us, but also it’s good to have some pressure on selection, it makes everyone honest.’’

The Saints dominated the centre clearances and stoppages through the likes of ruckman Josh Marchbank and onballers Will and James Martiniello, Ryan Colbert and Morgan.

Mooroopna moved Daniel Lewis into the backline in the first quarter, but Jake Pallpratt and Brook Martyn worked hard all day to reduce his influence on the match.

Warnock finished with five goals, while small forward Tom Havers bagged three.

The side is in an enviable position for selection, but Murray Bushrangers player Brody Webster is expected to be unavailable after suffering a hamstring injury during the match.

Marchbank will be left on his own in the ruck for the next month with Will Sullivan unavailable, but Morgan said he was up to the challenge.

Paddy Hide is expected to get his hands on the footy this week at training after suffering a wrist injury in April.

The Saints will travel to Rochester on Saturday to take on the sixth-placed side.

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