Stanhope kicks away its flag hopes

September 11, 2017

Golden fist: Stanhope's Colin Harvey looks to get a big punch away in front of Avenel's Paul Arandt.

The big men fly: Avenel and Stanhope clashed in the second semi-final at Girgarre yesterday.

Avenel made a wasteful Stanhope pay yesterday, ending the Lions’ season and advancing to the preliminary final.

There was nothing pretty about this first semi-final at Girgarre, but the Swans were too good in the second half with seven goals to one.

Avenel looked like it could keep going for another quarter when it slammed through goals in the final quarter, while the Lions were out on the feet.

The final margin was 25 points as Avenel booked a spot in the final three and will take on Violet Town at Tallygaroopna this Saturday, with the winner of that game meeting Nagambie in the grand final.

Both teams butchered opportunities at goal in the first half in perfect spring conditions.

Stanhope kept attacking after the main break, but were just not threatening enough.

Tom Hepburn slotted a terrific goal from the pocket in the third quarter, but his heroics could not be replicated by any of his teammates.

Avenel did it better at the end other end, with Mitch Thomas and Cael McCarthy stepped up with two goals each in the absence of injured full-forward Chris Burton.

The margin was only four points in the Swans’ favour at three-quarter-time, but not even a bake from Stanhope coach Brenton Gray could fire up his team.

Despite Avenel coming off a fierce and bruising elimination final with a day’s less rest than Stanhope, the Swans finished right on top of the Lions.

Once the first goal of the final quarter went through the dam wall was broken and there was no coming back for Stanhope.

Coach Don Stirling, Michael Morgan, Nick Goodwin and Nathan Thomas were sensational for the Swans, as was John Green.

Jye Patten was solid with two goals for Stanhope, while Colin Harvey and Michael Coad were solid.

Jack Exell was used in defence again for the Lions, despite kicking 61 goals in his first 15 games of the seasons.

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