Reality check Lions down and out and looking for answers

June 22, 2017

Brandyn Grenfell contests the ruck at Echuca.

Harry Wheeler tries to breakfree from his opponent on the ground.

Jim Falcone tackles his opponent, but not before he gets the handball out.

Jack Murphy evades his Echuca opponent.

Mitch McLean looks for the handball under pressure.

Echuca got the better of Seymour at Victoria Park on Saturday.

In a difficult fixture away from home, the Lions looked flat without talismanic full-forward Saad Saad in attack.

Star midfielder Jason Cole was also out of action due to a hamstring injury which added to the Lions’ woes.

With Andrew Sturgess unavailable due to VFL duties and Brett Meredith out for the season, Seymour coach Brent Colbert felt it was a missed opportunity for other players to step up.

‘‘Echuca just wanted it more than us, their tackle pressure was really good and we just didn’t have enough players at their best on the day,’’ he said.

Coming off a good win against an in-form Benalla, Colbert expected more from the Lions.

But in what was perhaps the side’s worst start this season, Seymour was kept goal-less in the first quarter.

The Bombers dominated the contest and skipped out to a 21-point lead by quarter time.

Lions captain Matthew O’Keefe and Dylan Scopel were excellent in the back line.

Both defended well under pressure and the Lions managed to restrict the Bombers to just a single goal in the second quarter.

Echuca took control of the game in the third quarter, kicking four goals to Seymour’s two, doing enough damage to put the low-scoring game out of contention.

‘‘We probably played our best football in the last 20 minutes of the game, but by that point the damage had been done,’’ Colbert said.

‘‘It probably made the scoreboard look a little more credible than what it was, but we didn’t deserve to win.’’

The Lions kicked three goals in the final quarter to bring the game back to within 18 points, but they’d never really been in the contest.

Seymour has won just one of its past four games, after starting the season with a five-game winning streak.

Aware of the power of momentum, Colbert is wary of the match this week against the struggling Shepparton Swans.

‘‘They’re building and they’ve just had their first win while we’ve just had a bad loss so we really need to pull it together this week,’’ he said.

Colbert expects Saad and Cole to return to the side for the match, while Jake Anderson is a possibility to play.

Score: Echuca 9.13 (67) d Seymour 7.7 (49)

Goals: R. Clarke 2; H. Robertson, H. McLean, B. Grenfell, J. Hockley, J. Falcone

Best: B. Colbert, M. O’Keefe, H. Wheeler, D. Scopel, H. Robertson, J. Hockley.

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