GVL | Gallery | Lions roar to statement win over Shepparton
Eight rounds into the Goulburn Valley League season and it appears Seymour has finally got itself rolling.
Coming into its Saturday afternoon clash against Shepparton sitting eighth on the ladder with a dismal 2-5 record, the Lions reminded the competition why they were considered a pre-season premiership fancy, dismantling the Bears 12.10 (92) to 3.9 (27) at Kings Park.
Welcoming the likes of seasoned stars Ben Clifton, Rory Scopel and Josh Alford back into the senior side, Seymour weathered a tough start to pile on 11 unanswered goals after quarter-time and produce a statement win.
After recording back-to-back victories for the first time this season, Lions coach Ben Davey said he was proud of the way his team responded to the early Shepparton challenge.
“We had a game plan for today and we didn’t execute it in the first quarter, we didn’t pay them enough respect and that made for a slow start,” Davey said.
“From quarter-time on, the boys really applied themselves and got back to playing the way we want to play, which is really hard in these wet and greasy conditions.
“To be two goals down at quarter-time and end up winning by nine goals, it is something we can be really proud of.”
Greeted with light rain and greasy conditions, Shepparton settled the better of the two sides, warming to the wet weather to get on top around the contest and hit the scoreboard courtesy of Tyler Bell and Achuong Agog.
“In the first term I thought we just overused the handball. You could see the way they moved the ball, it was much more of a territory style of play and they had a lot of their good players getting involved,” Davey said of his team’s slow start.
“They probably showed us in the first quarter the way to go about it and we slowly got our contest game going and managed to get on top.”
Looking a different team heading into the second term, the Lions quickly grabbed hold of the battle and after 11 minutes finally produced their first major of the day.
Sensing an opportunity, Seymour added two more in quick succession to grab the lead heading into half-time, including one to the returning Clifton that lifted the morale around Kings Park.
Carrying all the momentum, it was more of the same in the third term for the Lions, as the likes of Jack Murphy and Ben Rigoni imposed themselves through the midfield, setting up another four third-quarter goals to put the result beyond doubt.
But with percentage now so vital, Davey willed his team to not let up in the final term, as Seymour continued its dominance with another five goals to run away a 55-point winner.
While his team was unable to come away with the points, Bears coach Ted Lindon showed why he is one of the league’s most accomplished defenders, repelling countless Seymour attacks to keep Shepparton in the contest until deep in the third term.
Slumping to a fourth straight defeat, Lindon said the Bears simply weren’t able to maintain their intensity for long enough.
“I thought in the first half we were really impressive and up for the fight in some really tough conditions,” Lindon said.
“Then in the second half we fell into some of the inconsistencies you get with a younger demographic, which is disappointing.
“That game was there to be won and to fall away like we did was far from ideal.”
One moment sure to cause headlines was the report of Clifton.
The Seymour star received a yellow card following a collision with Lindon midway through the third term.
The Bears’ coach believes there was no malice behind the incident.
“I have played a lot of footy with Ben for over a decade, he’s a great bloke and I know he wouldn’t go out to deliberately hurt an individual,” Lindon said.
“I would hate to see him miss a week for that.”
It was a dominant day out for Seymour in the reserves, dominating Shepparton from start to finish en route to a 21.23 (149) to 5.1 (31) victory at Kings Park.
Fourteen unanswered goals in the second and third terms paved the way for the triple-digit victory, with a number of returning stars adding serious polish to the Lions’ line-up.
Max Jones (six goals) and Todd Lawrence (five goals) were dominant up forward for Seymour, combining for 11 majors on the day, while Max McLean, Jay Eager, Syd Voogt and Rhys Carman were all prolific.
The two junior contests, on the other hand, were dominated by the visiting Bears, with the under-18 clash ending up 96-9 while the under-16s cruised to a 66-19 triumph.