Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Echuca captures first win of 2014

Murray Bombers scrape home in a thriller against Shepparton Bears.

LUKE MCMANUS June 2, 2014 3:47am

Echuca's Brieghton Shea tackles his Shepparton opponent while Simon Buckley waits for the loose ball.

A three-goal-to-one final term secured Echuca’s first victory of season 2014 and maiden win under new coach Andrew Briggs.

Trailing the Shepparton Bears by seven points at three-quarter-time on Saturday, Echuca booted three consecutive goals to wrestle the lead back in the final term, before holding on at Deakin Reserve in a thrilling affair, 13.10 (88) to 12.13 (85).

After goals from Echuca trio Kane Morris, Fraser Monahan and best-on-ground Simon Buckley, Shepparton pegged one back through Nik Rokahr with only a few minutes left on the clock.

A free kick and attempted shot on goal from the Bears’ Dan Willis fell just short with the final siren following soon after.

The three-point victory was Echuca’s first of season 2014, first in 14 matches and first win under the proud coach.

‘‘It’s always good to get a win on the board,’’ Briggs said.

‘‘It’s a positive step and reward for all the effort the guys have put in.

‘‘For the players, it’s good for them to enjoy any success you can get, but for the coaching group, we’re already looking forward to Seymour (this) weekend.’’

The lead changed hands multiple times throughout the match, with no team able to gain full control of the contest.

The Bears threatened to run away with the game, boasting a 13-point lead half way through the third quarter but Echuca showed plenty of heart to stay in touch.

Unlike previous weeks in which Echuca has fallen away towards the latter stages of matches, the Murray Bombers dug deep on Saturday.

‘‘It was tight all day and it was matter of who could make the most of opportunities in the fourth quarter,’’ Briggs said.

‘‘We stuck to the task and we were able to hit the scoreboard when it counted.

‘‘We kicked 3.2 and Shepp kicked 1.4 so that’s telling.’’

Briggs was particularly pleased with his experienced players in Buckley, Matt Pollock, Kane Morris and Joel Magnabosco, with Buckley’s afternoon yielding three goals and the midfielder’s second best-on-ground nod this season.

‘‘Bucks’ work rate was much better than previous weeks,’’ Briggs said.

‘‘It was the best I’ve seen him play.

‘‘He involved others in the game, it wasn’t all about him breaking away, he was was able to get to a stoppage and get the ball out to someone.

‘‘It generated some run and helped us immensely.’’

Nick Allen was a standout for the Bears, but Monahan’s ‘‘shut down role’’ eventually limited the on-baller’s impact, especially around stoppages and at centre bounces, an area which Briggs said the Bears were able to control in the first half.

Julius Battista and Dan Willis kicked two goals apiece for the home side, while Buckley’s three goals topped two goals each from Morris, Nick Jackson and Dylan Friedberger.

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