Avenel’s dream finals run is over after it failed to defeat a rampant Violet Town in Saturday’s preliminary final.
After a superb showing in the first two weeks of finals, the Swans couldn’t maintain that same intensity and went down to the Towners by 51 points.
The side went from fifth spot on the ladder at season’s end to the penultimate game of the year, and aside from their third-quarter capitulation against Tallygaroopna in the first week, the Swans had so far been brilliant this finals series.
But Saturday’s game was far from the Swans’ best, with a number of their key players kept relatively quiet.
Avenel’s midfield is touted as one of the strongest in the league, but the Towners’ mids were well on top from the opening bounce, and their pressure around the contest and their ability to run and spread led to Avenel’s undoing.
Both teams had plenty of the play in the frantic opening term, but Violet Town negotiated the swirling gale far better to boot three goals, while the Swans’ four behinds left them trailing by 17 points at the first change.
Things didn’t improve much for Avenel in the second quarter, and while the scoreboard had the Swans only trailing by 25 points at the main break, it felt like the gap in the two sides was far more significant.
The Swans’ shots on goal were few and far between, and when they did come they failed to convert their opportunities — their 2.6 half-time score indicative of that.
Violet Town extended its lead to 38 points by the end of the third quarter, and put the final nail in the coffin with seven last-quarter goals.
The Towners’ lead blew out to 75 points at one stage in the final term, but the final three goals of the match went Avenel’s way to bring the margin back to 51 points at the final siren.
Avenel certainly straightened up in front of goal in the second half, kicking 6.3, including five straight goals in the final term.
Full-forward Chris Burton broke his finger in multiple places in the first final, but suited up for the match with a heavily strapped hand and ended up with four majors for the day, including three final-quarter goals, while high-flying forward Nathan Thomas was the Swans’ only other multiple goal scorer with two.
In a game where there weren’t many winners for Avenel, Scott Tyers was one of the Swans’ few shining lights.
Such was his influence on the game, the backman was swung in to the midfield in the final term in an attempt to try to curtail the Towners’ dominance there.
Lachie McKenzie and Mitch Thomas were also among the Swans’ best.