Sport

Big stage for Lions to reach milestone

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September 15, 2017

Although Adrian McCarthy's firefighting job limits his availability to play football, he and Rory Scopel will bring up their 100th senior games together in Sunday's preliminary final against Shepparton.

Heading into a preliminary final is an achievement in itself, but Seymour’s Adrian McCarthy and Rory Scopel will also register another milestone.

Each will play game 100 for the Lions and while they are set on defeating Shepparton, McCarthy said it was a special milestone.

‘‘It’s pretty good, I’m sort of focused on trying to win the final, but I’m happy to share it with Rory Scopel,’’ he said.

McCarthy, 29, has been a fixture at the club for eight years, with his work as a fireman having him only able to play a select number of games a year.

The rotating roster of his job means he plays about two thirds of regular season matches, but remains a dedicated club person.

Living in Melbourne, he travels up for Thursday night training while having a run on Monday night with teammates.

‘‘Thursday nights we get to train together, which is good, not a lot of clubs get to do that, so we’re lucky with that aspect of Seymour being a bit closer to Melbourne,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve got a good squad of between six to 12 in Melbourne that get to train together on Monday night as well as Thursday.’’

He has played across the field during his career, but this season has been more settled in defence.

‘‘This year has been the most consistent as far as being down in the backline, but I go where I’m told where to go, not often in the forward line, but a bit in the midfield and a lot down back.’’

Senior coach Brent Colbert said this year had also been McCarthy’s most consistent in terms of form.

‘‘He’s taken his game to another level this year, when people look at him they see a really good stopper and tagger, but this year he’s really cemented himself as a great backman,’’ Colbert said.

‘‘The boys love him, he generates a lot of energy around the group and is one of the fittest and strongest in the team.’’

Born in Seymour but growing up in Yea, the first year he played for the Lions was in 2010.

While Kyabram of recent years is a powerhouse, McCarthy said Shepparton United was also a fearsome team in 2013.

But his most difficult one-on-one opponent has been Rochester midfield ace and 2015 Morrison medallist Ash Watson.

‘‘I spent a bit of time tagging Ash Watson, I would love to be the player he is, but I enjoy playing against him,’’ McCarthy said.

He said fulfilling his job as a tagger was praise enough for undertaking the stopping role.

‘‘I haven’t done it as much this year, but in the past you get satisfaction out of doing the job for the team,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s be nice to be playing and getting 30 disposals in the midfield and kicking a few goals a game, but that’s not for everyone, so being able to do a meaningful role is definitely thanks enough.’’

But Scopel can be relied upon to hit the scoreboard, having kicked 34 goals this season.

Playing with brother Dylan, the two are consistent contributors to the side and Colbert was thrilled to have Rory on the field on Sunday.

‘‘Every year he’s gotten a bit better and this year he has had really big influences on games,’’ Colbert said.

‘‘He’s averaged around that two goals a game and 20 to 25 disposals, but he’s doing a lot more with those disposals and I think has realised that he can really turn a game off his own boot.’’

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