Lancaster pip Avenel at final siren

By Lauren Bordin

Should Avenel keep its spot in finals, no top six side will take it lightly.

The Swans lost by five points to fourth-placed Lancaster, with Don Stirling’s charges having a slim lead at every siren except the final one.

It was a challenging win for the Wombats with both of their victories against Avenel this year coming by a combined seven points.

Lancaster coach Corey Carver said his side has a habit of coming from behind to win games, with supreme fitness always keeping it in the contest.

‘‘There have been so many games where we’ve been down by a few points at three-quarter-time, but we’ve had the ability to get up,’’ he said.

‘‘Generally young sides aren’t able to do that, but they’ve got the belief they can and they’re fit, which helps, and they back themselves.

‘‘We’re pretty similar, they’ve got some bigger bodies and we’re more of a smaller running side, they’ve got some good on-ballers and we’ve got some good runners.’’

Sitting 10 points down at half-time and having only kicked two goals, Lancaster’s mistakes proved its downfall.

‘‘We still turned the ball over a bit too much for my liking, as much as we run and spread we gave it back to them, it’ll take time for the young guys to get it sorted and hit up the short kick or kick to space if going long,’’Carver said.

Luke Donnell had the biggest impact in the win as the Wombats made up ground in the third quarter with four goals to Avenel’s two, leaving just three points the difference at the final change.

Carver was impressed with Donnell’s ability to turn a quiet period into a sensational performance when the side needed it.

‘‘It was his best game of the year, he was battling for a while and I said to him (on Saturday) ‘I was thinking about where you were going play two weeks ago’ (seniors or reserves) and he turned it around,’’ he said.

Zac Cerrone and Chris Eddy have not skipped a beat for Lancaster all year and were again part of the action as they combined for five goals, with Sam Vick also important.

Andrew Green, Braydon Avola and Angus Durnan were sensational for the Swans in a game that could have fallen their way.

With a healthy percentage giving Avenel a buffer over Merrigum in seventh spot, the trio will have to stand up against Undera and Nagambie in the final rounds to ensure it features in September.

But Carver said the Swans could cause problems if they keep their spot.

‘‘They’re definitely a good side and they’d won seven in a row before (Saturday), so they’re clearly playing well and have got some really, really good players,’’ he said.