In this week's Best Battles, sports journalist Meg Saultry recaps three classic contests for Seymour, Nagambie, and Avenel.
Seymour vs Benalla
Round 2, 2013, at Benalla Showgrounds
Benalla 11.13 (79) lt Seymour 12.12 (84)
An in-form Saad Saad was the star of the show in Seymour’s early season contest with Benalla, his eight goals going a long way to securing a five-point win for the Lions.
In a mouth-watering start to his season, it was the second straight week Saad booted eight goals. The full-forward eventually ticked past three digits by season’s end.
While the match was a touch scrappy, the scoreboard remained close as the Saints edged ahead by three points midway through the contest.
But it was ultimately the Lions who were more effective, snatching the lead ahead of the fourth quarter before holding on for the win.
Coach Shane Robertson said the Lions showed their true character late in the game.
‘‘We were under the pump at three-quarter time. Our captain (Brent Colbert), who was injured, put his hand up in the centre of the ground and a few other old stagers stepped up when required,” Robertson said.
“We showed some Seymour character across the line, some self-belief, rather than fall away with the game in the balance — the older guys produced.”
Lions midfielder Gerard Liddell was another to perform strongly, while Sam Martyn and James Dalton were gun performers for the Saints.
Nagambie vs Longwood
Round 7, 2014, at Longwood Recreation Reserve
Longwood 11.11 (77) lt Nagambie 21.18 (144)
Longwood has found it tough going against Nagambie since joining Kyabram District League in 2010, with the Redlegs failing to topple the Lakers in nine seasons.
But it was in their 2014 clash that the Redlegs posted their most competitive score against the Lakers.
With Nagambie's lead standing at 29 points at half-time, Longwood was well and truly in the hunt for an upset.
But the visiting side again showed why it was one of the league’s most dominant clubs, putting its foot on the gas to double Longwood’s score by match’s end.
Nagambie’s Patrick Rattray made his presence felt, kicking six goals, while Ben and Jackson Hutton also fired for the Lakers.
Longwood’s Marc Douthwaite and Matt Chilcott shared goal-kicking duties with three goals apiece.
Avenel vs Dookie United
Round 2, 2019, at Avenel Recreation Reserve
Avenel 11.17 (83) d Dookie United 9.6 (60)
A see-sawing affair between Avenel and Dookie kick-started the Swans’ premiership bid last year as the home side started the season 2-0 with a 23-point win against United.
Avenel was always in control of the early season clash, but Dookie made sure it was competitive as it lifted its output in the second and fourth quarters.
Six points stood between the two sides at half-time, before Avenel multiplied its efforts to have a six-goal lead by three-quarter time.
Dookie chipped away at the scoreboard in the final term, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Swans’ earlier efforts.
Angus Durnan fired up forward for Avenel, kicking three majors, while Connor McCloy starred through the midfield.