Sport

Lions regain their confidence to win

by
July 14, 2017

Saturday was a major game for Seymour, which had returned licking its wounds after a loss to Shepparton last weekend.

Saturday was a major game for Seymour, which had returned licking its wounds after a loss to Shepparton last weekend.

Up against Rochester this week, which had won its past six games in a row and were burgeoning in confidence, the Lions desperately needed to get back on the winners’ list.

With the shock loss of Jason Cole through injury and Saad Saad to a sudden (and immediate) retirement, question marks remained over how the Lions would structure up against Rochester.

‘‘We knew we were going to play Matty O’Keefe up forward pretty early in the week,’’ coach Brent Colbert said.

‘‘He’d shown good signs against the Bears last week, as did Hugh Robertson.

‘‘In regards to Saad, we’ve knocked it on the head and moved on.’’

Andrew Sturgess was a welcome return to the side this week.

‘‘He set us alight in that first quarter,’’ Colbert said.

Sturgess’ run into the forward-50, opened the scoring for Seymour while O’Keefe’s physical presence caused problems for the Rochester defence.

Seymour looked no less of a side, as it quickly stamped their dominance on the game.

‘‘It was probably one of our best first quarters we’ve had all year,’’ Colbert said.

‘‘We knew how we going to structure up, our players knew what their roles needed to be and I think we implemented them really well.’’

The Seymour forward line was potent.

The Lions kicked five goals in the first quarter while their defensive pressure around the ground kept the Tigers to just three points.

‘‘I think our forward line looked pretty dangerous,’’ Colbert said.

‘‘I thought we had a really strong contribution from everyone in that first quarter, and that’s really important.

‘‘You can’t carry players and I thought everyone gave it a red-hot crack in that first quarter which set us up for the rest of the game.’’

With a 33-point lead in their favour at quarter time, the Lions hoped to extend their advantage after the break but the Tigers inevitably found their scoring boots and kicked the first two goals of the quarter.

Brandyn Grenfell took two superb marks in the forward-50 for Seymour.

Through pure positioning and use of his size, Grenfell broke through Rochester’s patch of momentum to kick two goals and keep the Lions’ lead intact.

Taking a 28-point lead into the half-time break, the Lions looked in charge but not home and dry.

The Lions heaped pressure on the Tigers but the first two goals of the third quarter went to Rochester.

The ball remained locked in an intense hand-to-hand contest for most of the quarter as the visitors tested Seymour’s resolve.

James Falcone broke the drought for the Lions before Ben Clifton snagged another goal just before the siren to keep Seymour in the driver’s seat.

Senior debutant Jay Eager kicked two goals in the final quarter for Seymour while Max McLean got his first win in senior football as well.

‘‘It’s great for these guys to get a taste of a senior win because once they do they’ll be doing everything they can to stay in the side,’’ Colbert said.

‘‘We had 31 scoring shots against Rochester on the weekend, we’ve been able to find other avenues and that’s just what you do.

‘‘Losing Jason Cole has been a big blow for us but Harrison Wheeler has really stepped up his game in the midfield for us.

‘‘That’s what happens, you lose players but as I’ve been saying to the group there’s opportunities for you there to step up and take them.

‘‘Players are sensing there’s opportunity and so I reckon we’re on a good run.’’

The Lions sit in fifth spot on the ladder behind Benalla on percentage, and only two games behind Shepparton which is in second.

Next week the Lions head to Mansfield — a side they beat by 61 points in round two.

Score: Seymour 13.18 (96) d Rochester 8.9 (57).

Goals: B. Grenfell 3; J. Eager, M. O’Keefe, J. Falcone 2; M. Waite, R. Clarke, B. Clifton, A. Sturgess.

Best: H. Robertson, D. Scopel, J. Hockley, B. Grenfell, A. Sturgess, B. Ryan.

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