Lions downed by Tatura in GVFL grand final.By Chalpat Sonti
Nothing sums up Sunday’s GVFL grand final better than the comments of Seymour’s best player Ben Clifton.
The gun midfielder went on ball in the third quarter in an effort to gain control of the contests against front-running Tatura. But even he saw the difficulty of the task.
‘‘Every time you went to tackle one of them they just released to someone outside,’’ Clifton said.
‘‘It was hard going.’’
In the end, the opposition was just too good — that’s the conclusion that has to be drawn from the game, which saw an error-riddled Lions beaten by 28 points.
Seymour was never really in the game, despite the relative closeness on the scoreboard, and was never allowed to settle into the run-and-carry style that had seen the side cut a swathe through other finalists.
The Lions weren’t helped with a poor day in front of the sticks, landing just two set shots from more than 10 attempts.
There were errors produced by a fine Bulldogs’ defensive effort, and a tendency to overuse the football, but also others like kick outs to opponents, team-mates colliding to spoil a certain mark inside 50 and a runner infringement which gifted Tatura goals.
Those were errors that halted Seymour when it was gathering momentum. There was also some previously-unseen ill-discipline at times.
A nervous start
After losing the toss and kicking into a dropping breeze, the Lions didn’t settle well, overusing the ball, of which it had plenty. Tatura was able to release those outside runners with ease but its own nerves probably didn’t let the scoreboard build any more pressure.
Three of the Bulldogs’ four goals in the term came from free kicks, including one where runner Rod Chisholm was penalised.
Then there was Blake Coyle colliding with Shane Schottner when the ruckman was about to take the easiest of marks inside 50. Robbie Dougals kicked straight to a Tatura player from a kick-in, and the Bulldogs had another goal. It was the Lions’ poorest quarter of football in the finals series and it went into the first break almost four goals down — a margin which didn’t get much worse for the rest of the game.
Turnovers are killers
Seymour had plenty of opportunity to make Tatura pay in the second term, but its only two goals came from fine individual efforts to Brent Colbert and Ben Clifton when easier ways to goal had broken down.
The Lions won the hard ball more than enough times but the result was it gave it straight back to Tatura under remorseless Bulldogs’ pressure.
Errors continued to mount — Gerard Liddell missed an open goal from directly in front inside the goal square, relatively easy set shots went astray and still turnovers continued to mount.
It would prove costly, especially as the Bulldogs outside runners were largely stopped in this term.
A good start but a poor finish
Clifton goaled straight after the long break to put Seymour within three goals but the Bulldogs hit back almost immediately when the Lions failed to mark inside the defensive 50.
The mistakes continued through the term. Skipper Brent Colbert started to have more influence from half back, but it all broke down by half forward.
Saad Saad, who had been well held, kicked his first goal from a difficult set shot, but it was going to take a mammoth final term to deliver Seymour its eighth GVFL flag.
Coach Bernie Haberman repeated a theme from during the week — ‘‘It’s going to be devastation or elation and you know which one you want to feel.’’
More of the same
Seymour did give it a go in the fourth quarter — eight shots to two proves that — but it was woeful in front of goal.
The errors continued to mount and even the reliable Tim O’Keefe — one of Seymour’s best players on the day — turned one over that resulted in a Tatura goal. The Bulldogs were too desperate around the ball, even when they weren’t winning the contests.
Clifton apart, the other Seymour players who came out of the game with credit were Adrian McCarthy, who limited the influence of Tatura star Shannon Broadbent, and young Josh Prudden, who didn’t shirk the contests.
The defence held up well, turnovers notwithstanding, with Douglas, Tim and Matt O’Keefe and Ash Walsh, who did a good job on Billy Hicks, all getting through a tough day.
The Lions’ brains trust, while left rueing missed opportunities, conceded the opposition was a deserved winner.
‘‘Defensively they were awesome,’’ Haberman said.
‘‘They didn’t give us time and space on the ball. To our credit we hung in there and showed some resilience and I don’t think we ever gave in.
‘‘We didn’t play our best, but to use that would be taking something away from Tatura and they don’t deserve that.’’
Haberman believed Seymour was up for the game beforehand.
‘‘We just didn’t execute well. I don’t know if that was because they didn’t allow us too or we weren’t sharp enough. They got three of those first four goals from free kicks and then the first one in the second quarter from turnovers and that really took the game away from us.
‘‘Their half back line really shut down our half forward line, our forwards were well held and their defenders peeled off our forwards and really crowded the space.’’
Brent Colbert was of a similar view.
‘‘They were just better than us,’’ he said.
‘‘Credit to them, if there’s any way it helps us with the grieving, that’s it. They came with their game plan and executed it well. We played badly but they made us play badly.
‘‘From our perspective we tried to play our hard running fast football from the last three weeks but we just weren’t able to. They were waiting for that.
‘‘We had five to 10 minute patches but we just weren’t able to get that score on the board. Unfortunately we just didn’t have enough contributors.’’
Tatura 4.3, 6.7, 8.11, 10.11 (71)
Seymour 0.3, 2.6, 4.6, 5.13 (43)
GOALS, Seymour: S. Saad 2, B. Clifton 2, B. Colbert.
BEST, Seymour: R. Douglas, B. Clifton, M. O’Keefe, P. Colbert, S. Schottner, W. Wheeler.
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