Young Lions claw down Cats in prelim final

By Meg Saultry

Seymour will take three teams into Sunday’s Goulburn Valley League grand final day, after the club's under-18s football side beat Mooroopna by 34 points last weekend to join A-grade netball and reserves football in the big dance.

The young Lions had all the play in its opening term against the Cats on Sunday, but failed to capatilise on both its dominance and a slight breeze, kicking 1.5 to Mooroopna’s 0.2 before the Cats converted via Henry Wedding early in the second term.

The Cats then took the lead in the ninth minute with a running goal to Bailey Whitakker.

Both teams went goal-for-goal, with Seymour’s Ben Rigoni slotting a free kick at the top of the goal square, before Mooroopna again got on the board through Nathan Basile to take a five point lead into half time.

But it was the second half where the Lions truly got on top, with Josh Alford and Alick Nai, who loomed as a threatening target early, breaking through for second half goals. 

Ahead by 18 at the final change, Seymour Lions coach Travis Blackwell urged his team to give it their all in the final 20 minutes if they wanted to return in the final week against Echuca.

And the Lions responded wholeheartedly, dictating play and slotting a further four goals, though the Cats pegged two back late to soften the final margin.

Blackwell said while the first half had been a battle, the Lions' second half was most impressive.

“I’m rapt with their effort in the second half," the coach said.

"Our first half was a little bit scratchy, we were playing a bit safe and conservative.

“Preliminary finals are very hard to win and generally turn out to be that way.

“I thought if we could just get the ball out into the open and run and use our pace, I think we are one of the fitter teams in the comp and think eventually that would show out in the end, which it proved to be.

“In the last half we ran away with the game.”

Seymour's Syd Voogt takes on Kaedyn Napier as he heads for goal. Picture: Wayne Werring

Seymour will face unbeaten minor premier Echuca in the grand final decider, after the border town beat the Lions by 13 points in a qualifying final more than a fortnight ago.

But Blackwell was confident his side could shoot down the Murray Bombers if they brought their very best when the two teams met again.

“Last time we played Echuca, we played three really good quarters and one average quarter,” Blackwell said.

“If we play four quarters against Echuca we are every chance to beat them.

"Both teams are pretty even, it's just they’ve beaten us a couple of times.

“We had all the run in the last game and we didn’t finish it off.

“I think it may stand us in good stead this week, that experience of playing against them and knowing we need to play four quarters to beat them."

The Under-18 grand final will begin at 9.30am at Deakin Reserve on Sunday.

Final score: Seymour 11.19 (85) def Mooroopna 7.9 (51)

Seymour goals: J. Alford 2, A. Nai 2, B. Rigoni 2, N. Beattie 2, H. Jones, C. Murray, H. Kaak

Seymour's best: J. Turvey, N. Beattie, H. Kaak, S. Durham, B. Rigoni, D. Cook

• Seymour’s A-grade netball squad will take on Shepparton United in the grand final, after the Demons beat Echuca 65-62 in overtime in the prelims.

The Lions overcame United by eight in the qualifying finals and will hope to do it again this Sunday, with the clash set to kick off from 2.30pm.

• The Lions' reserves football team will also line up against Echuca after the Murray Bombers progressed through to the grand final by beating Euroa.

The first bounce is set for 11.55am.