Sport

No time for Echuca to reflect on big week

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July 14, 2017

Echuca Murray Bombers coach Andrew Briggs will be stepping down as coach after the 2017 season.

It has been a big week at Echuca.

The Murray Bombers recorded one of their best wins in years last Saturday, responding from a humiliating 142-point defeat to Kyabram to knock off Euroa at Memorial Oval.

Fast forward a few days and coach Andrew Briggs told the club he would step away from his role at the end of the season.

Echuca has to quickly focus on a season-defining game tomorrow against Benalla.

A win against the Saints would put Briggs’ side in a good position to break a finals drought dating back to 2011.

The Murray Bombers have a 7-5 record to sit in seventh on the ladder, but are only a game and percentage off the Saints in fourth.

‘‘There was a strong focus straight away after the (Kyabram) game to move on and what’s next,’’ Briggs said.

‘‘The players were able to do that really well, they trained hard last week and wanted to train and they had a good mindset leading into the game and that’s what got us the win.

‘‘It’s a similar sort of feeling this week, even though we won and enjoyed it for 24 hours, we focused on Benalla after that and wanting to get across the line.’’

Echuca’s hopes will be boosted by the inclusion of key pair Liam Wilkinson (calf) and Sam Toulmin, who was at a wedding last week.

Tim Allan is still sidelined with a hamstring injury, while Daniel Willis looks like missing the rest of the season with a dislocated elbow.

Reigning league best-and-fairest Simon Buckley is having another outstanding season and produced a typical dominant display at Euroa.

His form has him in contention to become the first player to win consecutive Morrison Medals since Shepparton’s GVL hall-of-famer David Code did the double in 1980-81.

Benalla playing coach Luke Morgan said his side had some plans up its sleeve to limit the former AFL player’s dominance.

‘‘He’s having a great season and he’s a great player, so we’ll have to negate his influence and be responsible for him,’’ Morgan said.

‘‘His ability to run with those guys (taggers) is very good, so we’ll have to be aware of him, but concentrate on our game as well.’’

Benalla fielded a young side in its 28-point victory over Mooroopna last Saturday, with key midfielders Sam Martyn, Jimmy Martiniello and Zac Pallpratt out injured.

Martyn pressed his claims for selection at training last night and is an outside chance to return.

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