Benalla All Blacks held off fast-finishing Moyhu at Friendlies Oval on Saturday to record their second win for the season.
After a slow start, the All Blacks responded with three unanswered goals in the second quarter, before a tussle in the back half had the game go down to the wire, with the home team escaping unscathed in the 9.13 (67) to 9.8 (62) win.
“We didn’t start all that well. Moyhu came out with gusto, but we managed to peg it back in the second. And it was heated in the second half, so it was lucky to fall our way,” All Blacks coach Harry Moran said.
And in a fight to the final buzzer, it seemed the All Blacks faced adversity from the weather to hold off Moyhu.
“Moyhu had a decent wind going there, we knew it would be hard, their kicks were travelling an extra 10, 20m and they had deep forward entry,” he said.
“But we held them off for six or seven minutes. It was good that the boys were able to put their best foot forward.”
Brothers Jack Ellis (three goals) and Harry Ellis (named best on ground) starred for the Panthers.
“And the other was Sammy Newton on the half-back flank – he was tremendous,” Moran said.
The All Blacks will turn their attention to Tarrawingee away this week, with several key personnel coming back into the side.
“At the moment we are struggling to get the full team on the park,” Moran said.
“We’ll get back Justin Gervasoni, Lochie Morrison, Trent Chapman, and Zach Amarant who is probably the most important. It’ll be handy to have them back, one’s a ruck, another a mid and two half-flankers, so they’re hard to replace.”
And while the Panthers are yet to win away this season, it may not be a problem come Saturday.
“We play Tarrawingee at their ground very well, it’s similar to ours and the space is going to help us,” Moran said.
“On execution, most of our work will be in the forward line.
“We’ll put a few things together at training and hopefully we can give them a run for money.”
Final score: Benalla All Blacks 9.13 (67) def Moyhu 9.8 (62)
Goal Kickers: J. Ellis 3, J. Smith 2, J. Hyland 2, C. O’Connor, A. Jacka
Best Players: H. Ellis, S. Newton, A. Jacka, J. Ellis, N. Spencer, K. Collisson