Honourable loss: Defeat by Kyabram still an improvement

August 26, 2017

Matthew O'Keefe of Seymour and William Burstin of Kyabram compete for the ball during the GVL seniors football match between Kyabram and Seymour. Photo by Luke Hemer.

Brent Le Cerf of Seymour handballs during the GVL seniors football match between Kyabram and Seymour. Photo by Luke Hemer.

Dylan Scopel of Seymour runs with the ball during the GVL seniors football match between Kyabram and Seymour. Photo by Luke Hemer.

Rory Scopel of Seymour is caught with the ball during the GVL seniors football match between Kyabram and Seymour. Photo by Luke Hemer.

If there’s such a thing as an honourable defeat, Saturday’s game was it for Seymour.

The Lions may have come up short against the all-conquering Kyabram, but they were far from disgraced in the 32-point defeat — a vast improvement on the 82-point belting the Lions received when they met earlier in the year.

Saturday’s match was a congested and low-scoring affair, with neither side able to comprehensively break the shackles at any stage.

Jake Anderson broke the deadlock to boot the opening goal of the game almost half-way through the first quarter, before Kyabram responded with two majors to hold a seven-point buffer at the opening break.

While Seymour only managed one goal in the second term and none in the third, the Lions still managed to keep Kyabram at bay.

Thanks largely to a staunch defensive effort from Brent Ryan, Dylan Scopel and AJ McCarthy, Kyabram’s normally prolific scorers were well held.

‘‘It definitely felt like a very tough, contested game, particularly in the first three quarters where both midfields didn’t give an inch,’’ Lions coach Brent Colbert said.

‘‘There was no easy footy to be won, it was all really contested footy and both teams’ tackling pressure was excellent.’’

The Bombers had opened up a 37-point lead by the final change, but the Lions refused to lay down.

Brandyn Grenfell, who suffered a back injury early in the game before returning after half-time, and Rory Scopel both booted majors to open the final quarter and bring the margin back to 24 points.

The Lions had a sniff, however as all good sides do, the Bombers had the answers, kicking two goals of their own on the trot to put their lead beyond doubt.

‘‘We kicked five goals for the match, and you’re not going to win any games of footy kicking five goals,’’ Colbert said.

‘‘I thought both teams defended really well which led to the low score. We got it down there enough but we just weren’t able to convert on the scoreboard.

‘‘Our three best players were all defenders (Ryan, Dylan Scopel and McCarthy).’’

Hugh Robertson joined Grenfell on the casualty list after injuring his knee, but Colbert expects both players to be right for Saturday’s crucial encounter with Euroa.

‘‘We were down to one rotation from early on but we battled well, but just weren’t quite able to get there,’’ Colbert said.

‘‘I thought we played a much better brand of footy (compared to playing Kyabram in round six), it was a real finals-like game.’’

This week’s match against Euroa is vital for the Lions’ premiership hopes.

Should the Lions win, it will give them the coveted third position on the ladder, and a week one finals date with a struggling Benalla.

In what will be welcome news for Lions fans, Colbert said Jase Cole is a possibility to return for the all-important clash.

The gun midfielder has sat out the majority of the year with a serious hamstring injury, but could be right to go as soon as this weekend.

Andrew Sturgess will also be available after missing the Kyabram game with VFL coaching duties.

‘‘It’s probably our biggest game for the year. A win will secure that third position, it’s huge,’’ Colbert said.

‘‘We’ll have a strong list to choose from, which is just what you want on the eve of finals.’’

Score: Kyabram 10.14 (74) d Seymour 5.12 (42).

Goals: R. Scopel 2; B. Grenfell, J. Hockley, J. Anderson.

Best: B. Ryan, J. Hockley, D. Scopel, H. Wheeler, J. Murphy, X. McMahon.

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