There was a finals-like atmosphere at Kings Park on Saturday when Seymour took on Euroa.
It was the Vietnam Veterans’ Day clash with all the makings of a classic, and it was the Lions who were victorious, marching out 57-point winners.
In what was a welcome sight for fans, Seymour gun Jason Cole returned from a serious hamstring injury to put in a solid performance for the Lions.
His inclusion in the side will be pivital to the Lions’ premiership aspirations.
With third place, bragging rights and a place in the first elimination final up for grabs, both teams knew what was at stake.
The fiery first quarter saw both teams fight for control of the football.
It was Euroa who got off the mark first when the ball was delivered to Trent Storer, who went back to kick his first of six for the afternoon.
Ben Clifton burrowed himself head-first into the contest, his hard tackling and intensity enabling him to bust open the game and get Seymour in to space.
Brandyn Grenfell eventually broke the ice for Seymour with a goal before an inspired tackle by Xavier McMahon won a free kick on the edge of the goal square and goaled.
Euroa got one back to level the score before Jake Anderson kicked his first of five and the Lions took a four-point lead into quarter-time.
Seymour coach Brent Colbert gave his players a rouse at quarter-time and the Lions came back with a whole extra level of intensity.
The Lions out-ran, out-tackled and out-played the Magpies in every position.
Harry Wheeler was electric, first picking out Andrew Sturgess, who converted his shot for the first goal of the second quarter, before kicking two goals himself in quick succession.
The first was from a tackle to win a shot on goal inside 50 and the second was from a brilliant mark just over a minute later.
The Lions were unstoppable, kicking the first six goals of the second quarter.
The pundits couldn’t have predicted Seymour to be leading by five goals at half-time.
To its credit, Euroa certainly didn’t hang its head and came back at the Lions after half-time.
Storer kicked three goals at the start of the third quarter to bring the game back to within 18 points, but Seymour upped its intensity to steady the ship and get out in front again.
Seymour prevented Euroa from playing its rebounding game and swallowed its opponent up in the contest.
The Lions finished the third quarter with another five majors to lead by 46 points at the final change.
The Magpies rallied late in the final quarter but the Lions were quick to cancel that out at the other end, running out 57-point winners.
Once the Lions had chaired their coach off the field and lifted the Vietnam Veterans’ Cup, Colbert gave a statesmanlike speech in the changerooms.
‘‘We played the way we needed to play in order to beat these guys and today we brought it,’’ Colbert said.
‘‘When we play our style of football, that running style of football where we use the footy well, that’s the result you get, boys.
‘‘You saw that second quarter, they just couldn’t keep up with us. We are a very hard side to play against when we play our brand of football and that’s what happened.
‘‘We took away their strengths, we took away their outside football because we burrowed into that first contest, but we also burrowed in for that second and that third.’’
Colbert said the crowd’s support and build-up to the game helped the Lions lift.
‘‘You just had to look at the crowd. It was probably one of the bigger crowds I’ve seen in probably the last five or six years,’’ he said.
He praised his forward line, which was lethal in its accuracy.
‘‘Whenever you score goals from inside-50 pressure you know that the boys are definitely on,’’ Colbert said.
‘‘I think we put the Euroa defenders under a lot of pressure because we know that their rebound 50s are very strong.
‘‘We just tried as much as we could to take that away from them and I think we did that very well.’’
Colbert also heaped praise on Jordan Hockley for his maturity and growth as a player and the role he played in shutting down Euroa’s key men.
‘‘He played an excellent game. He played a very different role to what he has in the past,’’ Colbert said.
‘‘He’s come a long way. His progression this year, the jump that he’s made, has been excellent for us.
‘‘He’s become a real influential player and at his age, that’s a huge bonus for our future.”
Clifton, Sturgess and Wheeler did the bulk of the midfield work and were all excellent for Seymour.
Colbert said it was great to finish the year on a positive note but his team wouldn’t be taking Benalla lightly in their elimination final at Tatura Park this Saturday.
Score: Seymour 21.6 (132) d Euroa 11.9 (75)
Goals: J. Anderson 5; R. Scopel 4; H. Wheeler, B. Grenfell, J. Falcone, R. Clarke, X. McMahon 2; H. Robertson, A. Sturgess.
Best: B. Clifton, J. Hockley, B. Cox, A. Sturgess, B. Grenfell, J. Anderson.