Lions roar under ‘Bluey’

By Shepparton News

Seymour was building towards a premiership in the 1970s.

Having lost the final two grand finals of the decade — first to Shepparton in 1978 before more heartbreak against Echuca in 1979 — the Lions were even more eager for success.

Just a goal was the margin against the Murray Bombers and Seymour missed out on the big dance in 1980, but returned hungry in 1981.

It ended the season with a 121-72 demolishing of Shepparton to mark its second Goulburn Valley League premiership.

The Lions would back up again the follow season when meeting Lemnos in the decider.

In a remarkably similar scoreline to the previous year, Seymour took out the match 126-65 with News sports reporter Tom Carey calling the win a ‘‘savaging’’.

Robert Brown was the main man in the back-to-back victory with seven goals in a best-on-ground performance.

In a ruthless game reminiscent of the style in the 1980s, everything was left on the ground as Carey reported.

‘‘After two-and-a-half quarters of ruthless, relentless physical football they (Seymour) went on to display far superior skills to the battered Lemnos side to outscore them 11.9 to six behinds in the last 50 minutes of the game.

‘‘Lemnos’ last goal was scored about eight minutes into the third quarter, at that stage putting them eight points in front.

‘‘Shortly after Swans captain Shane Sexton, again in the form that made him best afield in the previous two finals with 16 possessions to that time was crashed to the ground in a marking duel with Peter O’Keefe, and after prolonged treatment had to leave the field until three-quarter-time.’’

Sexton returned briefly in the final term before coming off the field and unable to take further part in the match.

But he was not the only man to go down with Carey reporting Robbie Britten and Wayne Litchfield received some close attention from Lions opponents as the pair persisted across the day.

Britten was best afield for his side, while Carey wrote Lemnos did its best to try and forge victory.

‘‘The retribution was far from one-sided, however, as both Bruce and Robert Elliott were off with a suspected concussion before half-time and only Robert was able to return after the interval.

‘‘Eddie Shiels also took a battering, but came up the better for it after half-time.

‘‘Two courageous pieces of play by Shiels midway in the critical term also inspired the Lions and deflated the Swans.’’

Lemnos produced a stirring second term kicking 6.3 to 2.5, but Seymour surged to kick 6.4 to 1.5 in the premiership quarter that heavily influenced the game.

Two-time Essendon premiership player and Seymour coach Ian ‘‘Bluey’’ Shelton gave his side a rev-up at three-quarter-time that had his men keep up that effort to score a further 6.5 in the last term at Deakin Reserve.

The raging favourite to win the flag in 1982, Shelton warned of what could come at the GVL presentation dinner in October.

Carey wrote of Shelton’s speech on the night where he dared sides to try and beat it.

‘‘There’s another flag there if you want it,’’ Shelton told assembled Seymour players.

‘‘And to the other sides, it’s there to be won if you’re good enough to beat us.

‘‘It’s amazing what people will do to have that piece of rag in your possession for the rest of time,’’ Shelton said as he held the 1982 purple and gold premiership pennant.

Tongala took up that challenge, while the Swans again tried in vain as the two met in the 1983 GVL decider.

The Blues held up the flag as Lemnos followed in Seymour’s path to lose two grand finals in a row.

It was a period of sides falling just short in the big dance, with Shepparton going down in 1980 and 1981, while Shepparton United followed Lemnos with a treble of grand final losses from 1984 to 1986.