Best Battles | After-siren shot seals Bats’ victory

By Benalla Ensign

In this week's edition of Best Battles, Benalla proves unstoppable with a blowout win, while Violet Town, Benalla All Blacks, and Goorambat seal close victories in some of their most memorable matches.


Benalla v Echuca

Round four, 2014 at Victoria Park

Echuca 8.5 (53) lt Benalla 16.16 (112)

The Saints began their grand final run with a big win against the Murray Bombers at Echuca.

With Nick Warnock running wild in front of the big sticks, and Will Martiniello having one of his best games, the Saints were simply unstoppable across the field.

Kicking was far from perfect, with 16 goals and 16 behinds keeping Benalla’s score lower than it should have been, but the 59-point win was more than enough.

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It was the perfect celebration for James Dalton’s 100th game.

Saints coach Luke Morgan said a few changes had made for a great win.

“We tried a few things that probably resulted in a few goals for Echuca, but we learned a bit from it,” Morgan said.

Echuca coach Andrew Briggs said his side had a lot to learn.

“We had trouble containing their spread at stoppages and their marking pressure in the air is quite significant,’’ Briggs said.


Violet Town v Rushworth

Round 17, 2009 at Violet Town Recreation Reserve

Violet Town 14.9 (93) d Rushworth 12.14 (86)

More than a decade ago, plenty hinged on this clash in the penultimate round of the home and away season.

Heading into the clash, only percentage separated sixth-placed Violet Town from seventh-placed Rushworth.

Ultimately, a seven-point victory for the Towners gave the club much-needed separation on the ladder heading into the final round.

Violet Town hold on to hope for club celebrations

Rushworth held the advantage all match and headed into the final quarter full of confidence with a 22-point lead.

But five unanswered goals for the Towners flipped the match on its head and gave the home side the much-needed four points.

Violet Town’s Tom McCorkell and Ashley Hobbs were strong down forward, kicking a combined seven goals, while Jack Smyth also impressed.

And despite a loss in the final round, Violet Town was still able to edge out Rushworth for the final spot in the 2009 finals series with a greater percentage.


Benalla All Blacks v Whorouly

Round seven, 2011 at Whorouly Recreation Reserve

Whorouly 15.5 (95) lt Benalla All Blacks 15.12 (102)

The much-anticipated clash between ladder-leaders Benalla and Whorouly did not disappoint early in 2011.

With both teams coming into the clash undefeated - with Whorouly experiencing a draw - it was Benalla who remained the sole undefeated team of the Ovens and King League after seven rounds.

The Lions drew first blood, kicking the opening three goals of the game before the All Blacks responded with four of their own to lead by 10 points at quarter time.

Benalla, Goorambat back decision to call time on Ovens and King season

The following two quarters went almost goal for goal, though Benalla edged ahead to bolster their lead to 21 points ahead of the final term.

And in a gallant effort from its defence, Benalla held on for a seven point victory after the Lions fought back with three unanswered goals to end the game.

Benalla’s Brendan Fear was in everything in the first half, but missed the second half with a back injury, while Duane Haebich and Tony Reaper combined for six goals up forward.

Richard Leahy was a clear standout for the Lions, booting eight goals for the day.

Goorambat v Greta

Round seven, 2016 at Goorambat Recreation Reserve

Goorambat 12.14 (86) d Greta 13.6 (84)

Goorambat slid their way out of trouble in this one, with an after-the-siren shot on goal from Clinton Relf sealing a two-point win for the Bats.

After marking the Sherrin 50 metres out on a 45-degree angle, the pressure on Relf intensified as the siren sounded with Goorambat trailing Greta by four points.

But Relf’s flat punt did the job, the Sherrin sailing through the big sticks to seal a last-minute win.

Alternative junior football season likely for Benalla

Greta was seeking their first win of the 2016 season in this round seven clash and the visitors got off to a blistering start with the wind at their back to lead by 36 points at quarter time.

Goorambat responded duly when they acquired the elemental advantage, cutting the margin back down to nine ahead of a second half showdown that saw the lead swing from Greta to Goorambat by match’s end.

With Goorambat missing several of its experienced forwards, James Webb and Matthew Ashton stepped up to the task, kicking five goals that day.

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