Sport

GVL football | round 18 | Shepp United v Echuca preview

By Alex Mitchell

Shepparton United will complete its up-and-down Goulburn Valley League season tomorrow with a daunting challenge, welcoming rampaging Echuca to Deakin Reserve.

While the contest will allow the Murray Bombers to fine-tune before the following weekend's qualifying final against Kyabram, United is playing for pride having found just five wins this season.

The Demons had sparked their season with a three-game win streak against Benalla, the Shepparton Swans and Tatura from rounds 11 to 13, but they have fallen away since with four straight losses, none more comprehensive than last weekend's 95-point drubbing at the hands of Rochester.

Matt Di Bella, Matt Rendina and Shane Neaves have been United's best for the year, but it will again need to find more contributors in the off-season to push up the ladder.

The game will also be United coach Stephen Scott's last in charge before Rob Osborne takes the reins next year.

For Echuca, while it cannot move from second on the ladder it can attack finals in top form, and it will want to put away United in a similar fashion to its 115-point feast against the Swans last weekend.

"It’s great to see the side performing really well in front of goals," coach Simon Maddox told the Riverine Herald.

"But there is still work to be done. Our finishing and execution wasn’t perfect, so it’s another thing we will be able to work on in the next week as we get closer to the finals."

Echuca missed Andrew Walker and Cam Valentine against the Swans and copped three knocks to add further clouds to the side's injury situation.

"We lost Corey Gregg in the opening quarter and weren’t able to get him back before the end of the game," Maddox said.

"Noah Wheeler and Tim Allan both took knocks late, so it stopped us from making a few changes we were thinking about.

"There were a couple of different ideas we would have liked to see, we didn’t get the opportunity to try them, so we will look at them at another time."

The Murray Bombers could yet strengthen their side further, with Bendigo Pioneers Jack Evans and Riley Clarke to start NAB League knockout finals this weekend.