On-song Bears reappoint senior coach

By Tyler Maher

It was a good weekend to be a Bear at Deakin Reserve.

Shepparton engineered one of its most comprehensive performances of the Goulburn Valley League season in a 198-point drubbing of co-tenant Shepparton United on Saturday to tune up nicely for next week’s grand final rematch against Kyabram.

The Bears also announced the reappointment of senior coach Sean Harrap for next season to lock in their immediate off-field future as well.

It means it will be a much more stable summer for the Bears after Harrap’s initial appointment was not locked in until December.

‘‘It was something we just had a bit of a chat about as a footy department about a month ago and we left it (on the backburner) for a bit,’’ Harrap said.

‘‘I’ve really enjoyed my time as coach this year and I’m keen to move forward with this group.

‘‘It’s more about the players than me, they need to know what’s going on moving forward. Obviously we’re focusing on the now, but we have to keep an eye on the future as well.’’

Blake Campbell will assist Harrap next season, with the pair hoping to lock in most of the playing group soon after the final siren sounds this year.

‘‘We’ll touch base with the group over the next few weeks, we’ve got a really good mix of youth and experience and hopefully we can keep most of them together,’’ Harrap said.

‘‘It will be totally different to last year, we didn’t get a coach until mid-December, but we hope to have everything sorted by the start of November if we can.

‘‘The club is a good place to be around and we’ve got a great culture.’’

As for Saturday’s game, it was Shepparton’s from start to finish.

The Bears kicked three goals to none in the first term before piling on 28 majors to one across the last three stanzas, led strongly by Luke Smith (seven goals), Joel Brett (five), Anthony Andronaco (three) and Jordan McGregor (three).

‘‘I’d put that down as really one of our better four-quarter performances,’’ Harrap said.

‘‘We started the game really well and the conditions weren’t too bad, it was a bit greasy, but the breeze really helped dry it out.

‘‘Hopefully we can keep that momentum going.’’

Nik Rokahr, Mitch Brett and Xavier Stevenson also stood out in the massive result, while Harry Boyd’s impact in the ruck in the absence of Ash Holland has been important.

‘‘Harry has been shouldering a lot of the load and he almost acts as another mid in there,’’ Harrap said.

‘‘He’s dominant out of the middle in terms of his ruckwork and his presence is really impressive.’’

Sam Buxton, Matt Di Bella, Shane Sali, Dylan Mill and Henry Cook held their heads high for the Demons, with Adam Fichera slotting the side’s only goal.

There were positives for the Demons despite the scoreboard, with Jarrad Newman making his senior debut, coach Stephen Scott pulling on the club jumper for the 300th time and money raised during the game to go towards the Challenge Foundation in honour of Shepparton golfing export Jarrod Lyle.