Lakers enjoy second serving

By Lauren Bordin

Nagambie demolished Avenel for the second consecutive week to end its arch rival’s Kyabram District Football League premiership hopes.

After defeating the Swans by 119 points in the final round of the regular season, Saturday’s elimination final result was just as conclusive.

The margin this time was 83 points as Mat Waterson and Anthony Haysom combined for nine goals, one less than the 10 of last week.

Teenager Jarryd Shepherd also did much of the damage and is one of the exciting prospects for Nagambie fans to enjoy.

‘‘He’s only a kid, he’s a local boy born and bred in Nagambie as a lot of our boys are and he played seven or eight games last year, but missed out later in the year in what could have been a grand final,’’ Lakers coach Linc Sullivan said.

‘‘It was his first senior final and his brother Keenan was good too.’’

The scoreboard showed Nagambie 49 points ahead at the main break, but Sullivan said both sides were in the mix for the first half at Rushworth’s Ironbark Stadium.

The Swans kicked 4.15 for the game, with the Lakers slotting through 17 goals from 37 scoring shots.

‘‘The scoreboard itself wasn’t a true reflection as to how it ended up, I felt like they had really good pressure in the first half,’’ Sullivan said.

‘‘In the second quarter they were on top or at least breaking even with the centre clearances.

‘‘From the second half onwards we adopted our game plan well and played strongly to it, everyone played their role and we really exposed them and got on top well.

‘‘In fairness to us, we defended well and our overall pressure across the ground was good and forced them to shoot from tough angles.

But the Lakers are not aiming for their fourth premiership in five years for no reason with experienced operators Mick Shiels and Haysom thriving in the finals atmosphere.

Sullivan also acknowledged the impacts of Dan Fitzpatrick, Cameron Rooney and Tom Madden in their first September campaign with the Lakers.

After being able to keep sixth place despite pressure from Girgarre, the Swans limped to the season’s end with coach Don Stirling and captain Mick Morgan glaring absences due to injury.

Assistant coach Kasey Duncan also chose to resign himself to the bench early in the third quarter in a precautionary move as he returns from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

Duncan echoed Sullivan as he said his side put in a respectable effort in the final.

‘‘We kind of felt throughout the day the scoreboard didn’t reflect how the game was played, we had our fair share going forward and were a bit wasteful in front of goal,’’ he said.

But Duncan hoped the experience would be beneficial for the younger members of the team.

‘‘Some of our young kids experienced senior finals footy in Josh Carrafa, Connor McCloy and Chayse Thomson, so there are positives out of the day and something to look forward to for next year,’’ he said.

‘‘Jake Sutherland, Braydon Avola and Andrew Green were great (on Saturday).

‘‘Green was back in the side and was outstanding again, he’s had a really good second half of the year as that inside midfielder.’’