Seymour football wrap | Lions feel wrath of well-oiled Echuca machine

Strong hands: Michael Hartley was a highlight for the Lions, kicking five goals. Photo by Wayne Herring

Seymour slumped to a fourth straight GVL loss at the weekend, falling to competition pace-setter Echuca 15.10 (100) to 10.4 (64) at Kings Park.

Leading at every change on a cold and blustery day in Seymour, the Murray Bombers asserted their dominance from the opening bounce in a performance that without doubt sent shockwaves through the rest of the competition.

Watching the Echuca juggernaut in full flight from the sidelines, Seymour coach Ben Davey was full of admiration for what his opposition put on the park.

“They are absolutely the benchmark of the competition. Everyone looks at them and respects them highly as both a football team and club as a whole,” Davey said.

In the hands: Seymour midfielder James Wooster takes a mark in the loss to Echuca. Photo by Wayne Herring

“Their contested ball and stoppage work is so good, and then they have an elite rebounding half-back flanker in Ben Reid just sitting back there and chopping stuff off.

“They have an elite ruckman, gun AFL midfielder in Andrew Walker and plenty of support, so we were under no illusions around how good they were and in the end it was just a case of being outclassed and we couldn’t stop them.

“For us it was good to see them in the flesh and recognise that is the level we need to get to.”

Lining up: Michael Hartley puts through one of his five majors for the day. Photo by Wayne Herring

The Murray Bombers were brutal in the opening half, piling on 10 goals to three to open up a commanding 45-point margin at the main break.

At risk of being blown away into triple figures, the Lions fought back in the second half, working hard to get the game on their terms and win the final two quarters.

As he has done all season, gun AFL recruit Michael Hartley provided the highlights for Seymour, booting five goals and taking a memorable screamer in the third quarter.

Hang time: Will Ulrich takes flight during the under-18s clash. Photo by Wayne Herring

Seymour is the first team to kick 10 goals against Echuca in 2022 and Davey said there were positives to take out of the second half performance, but understands that at 1-4 his team needs to start churning out victories.

“We were very happy with the second half, but I guess it is just a little bit frustrating we couldn’t bring that in the first half,” he said.

“Being a young group we took a lot of positives out of the way we fought it out, but we understand that we still aren’t quite at the level we need to be.

“We can’t keep having losses that we are happy to grow from, we need to start banking some wins and climbing up the ladder.”

On the boot: James Wooster sends the Lions forward. Photo by Wayne Herring

Despite the loss, Seymour fans would have been buoyed by the performance of Murray Bushrangers captain Nick Quigg, who returned to the senior line-up for the first time this year as the NAB League enjoys a three-week break.

“Nick is very good around the football, so we gave him a bit of midfield time and eased him in and out of there and he was really good for us,” Davey said.

“It probably took him the first quarter to get used to the bigger bodies, but after quarter-time he was great for us, using the ball very well and just giving us some extra energy around the contest.”

The task doesn’t get any easier for the Lions next week, as they make the daunting trip to Kyabram to face the red-hot Bombers.

It was a similar story for Seymour in the reserves, falling to Echuca 9.8 (62) to 6.4 (40) in a tense curtain-raiser at Kings Park.

Leading at every change in challenging wintry conditions, the depth of the Murray Bombers won out in the end, despite the heart and determination the home side showed throughout the four quarters.

Alick Nai was the standout for Seymour, converting two majors on the day.

Junior action saw the Lions go down in convincing fashion, with the under-18s falling 12.11 (83) to 2.3 (15) and the under-16s losing 13.15 (93) to 2.1 (13).