Sport

GVL football preview round 17 - Shepparton v Benalla

By Tyler Maher

Another cut-throat battle for third position on the Goulburn Valley League table awaits Shepparton tomorrow.

The Bears will welcome Benalla to Deakin Reserve, and if Troy King's charges can snare victory they will also secure prime position for the upcoming finals series.

A six-point gap from the third-placed Bears to Seymour in fifth — widened to that margin by last week's victory against the Lions — means King's troops will be in the clear if they claim four points in tomorrow's penultimate round of action.

"Last week was positive, I was really impressed with the boys in the wet and especially away from home," King said.

"It's another massive test this week against Benalla, they got one up on us earlier in the year, so hopefully we can get the job done on our home deck."

Ruckman Ash Holland was supreme in tough conditions for Shepparton last time out, and his presence could again be crucial tomorrow against the Saints.

"Every game he's playing now he gets a bit more fitness and a bit more touch," King said.

"He's strung a fair few games together now and the boys love having him out there.

"We'll be just trying to stop their midfielders and forwards who have been pretty dominant this season, then worry about what we can control."

With an almost full-strength squad at his disposal, King is also preparing for some tough decisions at the selection table during the final weeks of his side's current campaign.

"Mitch Brett missed last week and could be back in," he said.

"Everyone's up and about at this time of the year and fighting hard for their spot, healthy competition internally to try and get into the best 21 (is a good thing)."

For a Benalla side, fresh from a weekend off, the equation this round is simple — win and the door to third spot remains ajar.

But if James Martiniello's troops fail to hit the final siren with a lead on the scoreboard, a final round clash against Rochester at Benalla Showgrounds will likely become an early knockout contest.