Sport

Benalla hitting form at the right time of the season

By Tyler Maher

Benalla held on for a crucial win in the high country on Saturday.

The Goulburn Valley League clash between the Saints and Mansfield looked done and dusted at three-quarter-time with the visitors owning a 47-point advantage.

But the Eagles sprouted wings and kicked seven goals to three in the final term to send a scare through the Benalla camp.

Eventually the Saints managed to hold on for a 24-point win though and keep their chances of finishing in third spot alive and well - something playing coach James Martiniello was pleased with after the game.

"It was good to get a win," Martiniello said.

"We had control of the game for three quarters and got ourselves into a strong position, but Mansfield threw caution to the wind in the last quarter and came home hard.

"They gave us a bit of a scare, but it was a credit to the boys for being able to hold on."

VFL-listed Sam Martyn was again among the better performers for the Saints, along with Will Martiniello, Nick Warnock, Nick Wood, David Mennen and Stephen Murray.

The reigning Morrison medalist's addition to Benalla's line-up for the second time this season was welcomed by all of those around him, especially coach Martiniello.

"I think we were on top in the middle of the ground and were able to get the footy out to our running players," Martiniello said.

"Having Sammy back is a massive boost to our side, he's a classy player and really buys in to what we're doing whenever he's back with us.

"He makes everyone around him a better player."

Murray booted four goals - his first bag of the year - to lead the way in attack for the Saints in his fourth game back from a shoulder injury early in the season, while Brody Webster (three goals) was also damaging.

"We had a couple of different goal-kickers which was good," Martiniello said.

"It's good to see (Murray) on the board coming back from injury, he's been good for us, but it will be great for his confidence to feel like he's contributing heavily on the scoreboard."

The only concern for the Saints was a hamstring injury to Tim Dynon in the second term.

For the Eagles it was coach Andrew Browne who stood tall in attack with four goals, while Ryan Bartlett, Lachie Williams and Brent Rose also battled hard.

THE GAME

Benalla 4.2, 7.5, 11.9, 14.12 (96) d

Mansfield 1.5, 3.6, 3.10, 10.12 (72)

Goals

Benalla: Stephen Murray 4, Brody Webster 3, Mitch Exton, David Mennen 2, Sam Martyn, Pat Warner, Jack Spinks.

Mansfield: Andrew Browne 4, Tom Gardiner 2, Will Foster, Tyler Chisholm, Jacob Howes, Tom German.

Best

Benalla: Will Martiniello, Nick Warnock, Nick Wood, Sam Martyn, David Mennen, Stephen Murray.

Mansfield: Ryan Bartlett, Lachie Williams, Brent Rose, Andrew Browne, Jayden Howes, James Lawton.