Shepparton Swans have jumped into the top six of Goulburn Valley Football League after smashing Mooroopna.By Marc McGowan
Twenty-five minutes of football yesterday put paid to what was supposed to be a thrilling final-round climax to decide Goulburn Valley Football League’s sixth spot.
Shepparton Swans, the scene of such heartbreak in recent times, will play finals this year after winning a combined six matches in the past two seasons.
The only remaining hurdle is a winless Shepparton fresh from a 163-point hiding at Shepparton United’s hands.
Perhaps only Benalla has been a greater story than Brett Warburton’s Swans, but no other club has endured more drama this year.
The Swans completely outplayed a bitterly disappointing Mooroopna for three quarters at their Princess Park home, but had just a 35-point lead to show for it.
That quickly changed.
The Swans rammed on eight more goals to the Cats’ one to post an incredible 79-point victory.
The turn of events is best put into perspective when you consider the Swans trailed Mooroopna and Seymour in percentage by almost seven and more than eight, respectively, pre-game, but were ahead of both by match’s end.
‘‘We’ve got to get over Shepp Bears next week, but we’re in the six now .
‘‘People three weeks ago would have said, ‘No, you’re no chance’, but we met as a group and spoke about it and (assistant coach) Hayden Best and I came up with some challenges we threw at them.
‘‘We’ve ticked off three and we have one to go.’’
Rarely has a side won as much uncontested possession and been as clinical on the counter-attack as the Swans were yesterday.
They kicked eight of the first nine goals — the first coming about through Cat Dan Collyer’s defensive turnover to Paul Fry. It was a bad omen.
Then came the second quarter, which produced a comedy of Mooroopna errors.
Reigning Morrison medallist Mark Blake chose to spoil rather than mark an uncontested ball deep in defence and Swan Daniel Campbell swooped and goaled.
Two Cats spoiled one another in a separate sequence; another pair gave away a free kick in a two-on-one against Campbell; and Mitch Keddell — usually exquisite by foot — was too cute on a short pass that bounced short, was turned over and resulted in a Swans goal.
The list went on. It was a disaster. Mooroopna’s accountability was non-existent.
It was no wonder coach Blake Campbell used the word ‘‘embarrassing’’ twice in his post-match address to players, officials and supporters.
‘‘We were disappointing. We just got outplayed everywhere — backs, forwards, mids,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘We just got beaten by a better side that was prepared to run harder .
‘‘We just lacked midfield run and that’s the biggest thing that kills us. You can’t invent runners.
‘‘They’ve just got a lot of blokes who are really quick and they killed us on the outside.’’
There was no better player on the ground than Swans backman Dan Lovick, who lowered Daniel Lewis’ colours to a level not seen before.
Coach Campbell went as far as removing Lewis from the forward line in the second quarter to escape Lovick and try and get something from his superstar.
Lewis ultimately returned halfway through the third term, but it was a dirty day for him after consecutive best-on-ground displays in his previous two games.
Lovick’s fellow defender Andrew Riordan also beat Rob Osborne for the second time in as many meetings and the likes of Quade Johnstone, Jessie Finnen and Nathan Terlich were also superb.
The Cats’ best players were much harder to find.
Campbell was pleased with Shayne Lynch’s run-with role on Tyson Sidebottom and youngsters Bayden Fallon and Charlie Burrows showed glimpses.
Kane Boyer sustained a game-ending suspected collarbone injury in the opening quarter, but the greater pain was from Mooroopna’s substandard performance.
Swans dasher Michael Tinkler brushes off Cats Jake Kyle and Charlie Burrows.
Mooroopna’s ex-AFL player Jason Roe spoils Daniel Campbell.
Swan Quade Johnstone gets into position for a mark.
Brodie A’Vard and Cats defender Joe Sullivan contest for a mark.
Jason Roe gets his hands to the ball ahead of Swan Jacob Crow.
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