Backs put under pump

By Meg Saultry

Under a constant forward siege from a more experienced Shepparton squad, Benalla Saints’ 62-point loss could have been a whole lot worse if not for the consistent pressure of the Saints’ defensive line.

‘‘Our backline was terrific,’’ Saints coach Ivan Lister said.

‘‘We usually start off by putting players into position that suits our side, but when you get under pressure and go five goals down, you have to change a few things around.

‘‘We put some of our more experienced players in the backline to stop Shepp, but then we were also robbing the forward line.’’

One of those players was Ally Ballard, who usually plays on the ball, but instead took the massive job on Shepparton’s full-forward.

But it was this lack of key positions filled across the ground that ultimately tripped up the Saints in the end.

‘‘We had trouble all day. We were going forward okay, but we had trouble coming back,’’ Lister said.

‘‘And when we did attack and get to our half-forward line, Shepparton had a wall set up and we didn’t run back quick enough to be there.’’

Once again Benalla’s captain Kylie Reif was the standout on the day along with Ballard, Brittany Button and Saints ruck Fiona Powles.

Another player Lister singled out post-match was Aneiki Pierce.

‘‘She’s really come along, she’s only played three games. She’s a great ball winner, a fierce competitor. If she sticks at it, by the end of the year, she’ll be a key playmaker,’’ Lister said.

‘‘She’s going to be a great player for the club.’’

Benalla will now turn its attention to Nathalia (3-2) this weekend.

Final score: Benalla 1.4 (10) def by Shepparton 11.6 (72)