Benalla was too strong for Echuca on the weekend, defeating the Murray Bombers by 59 points.LUKE MCMANUS May 5, 2014 3:05am
Simon Buckley’s successful return to Echuca’s midfield was overshadowed by the Murray Bombers’ 59-point loss to Benalla on Saturday.
Buckley was a standout in the team’s 16.16
Echuca coach Andrew Briggs said the 2013 best and fairest winner led from the front despite little support.
‘‘Bucks is really important to our side, in terms of leadership and educating our younger guys,’’ Briggs said.
‘‘He was down in form in terms of what he’s capable of but that will come with more game time and when the likes of him, Matty Pollock and Tom Stevens get some support from the blokes around them.’’
Buckley shone alongside Jordan Florance and Joel Magnabosco in a relatively disappointing afternoon for Echuca at Victoria Park.
Florance marked strongly and was a presence across half-back, dishing off many times to Magnabosco, whose superior decision-making and ball use impressed the first-year coach once again.
‘‘Our blokes need to take a leaf out of his book,’’ Briggs said of Magnabosco.
Trailing by 16 points at quarter-time, Benalla ran away with the game in the second term, booting five goals to one to take a 45-point lead into half-time.
Playing catch-up football has not been Echuca’s strong point in season 2014 and, against the undefeated Saints, struggled to claw its way back despite an improved showing.
Benalla edged even further ahead with a four-goal third term with Will Martiniello and Lachlan Smith running rampant.
Nick Warnock and Shayne McKean kicked three goals each while Liam Wilkinson and Pollock kicked two goals apiece for Echuca.
‘‘We could really learn from Benalla in how they use the ball and spread,’’ Briggs said.
‘‘They showed exactly how you rebound after the ball’s turned over.’’
Echuca squared the ledger in the last quarter which gave Briggs some positive reinforcement ahead of the team’s split-round bye.
It has been a tough start to the season, with Echuca playing four of last year’s finalists to open the season, with another tough ask against Shepparton United when the season resumes.
Briggs is riding the storm, hoping gradual improvement and a ‘‘consistent four-quarter effort’’ will eventually yield the team’s first win since round nine, 2013.
After taking the lead in the second quarter, Echuca looked poised to run away to its first win of the season after enjoying a nine-point lead at the final change.
The Saints however upped their pressure and kicked 2.4 to 1.1 in the last to draw the match.
Brad Jones and Dylan Keely kicked two each for the Murray Bombers, while George Preston was judged best afield for the home side.
For Benalla, Peter Symes finished with two goals with Dylan Pastuszka and Sam Creamer proving the difference.
Neighbourhood Watch Week will start with a sizzle — a sausage sizzle to be precise — at Sevens Creek Dve in Kialla.
Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) and other emergency services are preparing for the next round of wild weather in the north-east.
It was clear blue skies last Tuesday for the official launch of the Gargarro (pronounced Ga-gar-ro) Botanic Gardens in Girgarre.
SNAKES will be coming out of hiding as the weather warms up.
KATH Bubb has been recognised for 50 years of service with the Ballendella Red Cross.
IT EXPERTISE in Kyabram has received recognition after Advance Computing won a Microsoft Australia Partner Award in the excellence in regional area customer category.
Seymour A and B-grade in season decider
Extensive rainfall in the Southern Riverina is having a negative impact on farming.
McIvor Creek – in and around Heathcote – has gone over its banks with all our recent rain, flooding streets and causing closures and detours.
Yarroweyah's Katie Anderson will be heading to Wisconsin in the United States after winning the Dairy Youth Travel Scholarship.
After a 30-year career as an accountant in Deniliquin, Peter Skipworth officially retires today.
Tuesday, August 16
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