GVL | Echuca puts off-field drama aside to blitz the Bears

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On the boot: Echuca’s Ben Reid gets his kick away. Photo: Steve Huntley Photo by Steve Huntley

With news of Echuca Football Club’s points appeal being denied, Murray Bombers coach Simon Maddox said his side had a point to prove on Saturday.

And it was a strong one at that, with Echuca putting Shepparton Bears to the sword at Victoria Park to the tune of 156 points.

The Murray Bombers conceded just one goal in the 24.20 (164) to 1.2 (8) drubbing, with Cooper Willoughby leading the way with five goals in his second senior game of the season.

After a tumultuous week, Maddox said it was pleasing to string together a strong performance on the club’s sponsors day.

“We’ve been kicked in the guts a bit as a club with our points,” Maddox said.

“We had a bit of a point to prove on sponsors day.”

Despite the loss of co-coach Andrew Walker and ruck duo Kane Morris and Liam Tenace, Echuca was clinical all game.

Stepping up: Jordan Florance stepped up in the ruck for the Murray Bombers in the absence of Kane Morris and Liam Tenace. Photo by Ray Sizer

Jordan Florance stepped up into the ruck role for his first senior game since 2017, with Maddox putting praise on his performance after rucking nearly unchanged.

“Jordan Florance hasn’t played senior footy for years. He showed that he can still hold down that ruck post no problem,” he said.

“He rucked pretty much unchanged all day, his first appearance for a few years.”

Livewire Cooper Willoughby’s five-goal haul headlined a big day in front of goal with Echuca booting 24 for the match.

Jack in the box: Jack McHale was named best afield for Echuca. Photo by Cath Grey

Remarkably, more than half the squad hit the scoreboard with 14 individual goal-kickers popping up for Echuca.

“We had five or six top line players out so it provided an opportunity for the younger boys to step up,” Maddox said.

“It was fantastic to see Cooper Willoughby step up and kick five goals. It was a good test of our depth.”

Jack McHale was named in the best once again alongside Sam Willoughby, who also booted three goals to bring the Willoughby tally to seven for the day.

Getting it done: Sam Willoughby enjoyed another sensational day out for the Murray Bombers. Photo by Steve Huntley

With Shepparton missing a host of players through injury and illness, Mitchell Brett, Ted Lindon and Tyler Bell led the way for the Bears.

“We made a point of playing four quarters of footy,” Maddox said.

“All that off-field stuff happening just made us want to put together a really good on-field showing.”

The big win takes Echuca to second on the GVL ladder with a 5-1 record, just shy of ladder-leader Rochester on percentage.

The Murray Bombers face 11th-placed Tatura next week.