Not many visiting teams leave Rochester’s Moon Oval a winner, but Seymour bucked that trend on Saturday with a gutsy 21-point victory.
The Lions’ first-up win on the road was as thrilling as it was perplexing, with Seymour scoring the first three goals of the match before Rochester returned fire to kick seven unanswered goals.
Staring down the barrel of a hefty opening round loss, Seymour incredibly kicked the next six goals without reply to turn that 31-point early second-term deficit into a 12-point lead at half-time.
Rochester came out firing in the second half, but failed to convert on the scoreboard.
The Tigers began the third term with four behinds, before star Seymour forward Saad Saad finally booted the first major of the quarter at the 15-minute mark — the Lions’ only goal for the term.
Rochester was left to rue missed opportunities in the third, with its 1.7 score for the term leaving it with a seven-point deficit heading in to the final term.
‘‘They probably had the better of us in the third, I think it was 15 to seven inside-50s, but I felt our back six and wings really stood up in that quarter,’’ Seymour coach Brent Colbert said.
Rochester could only muster a solitary behind in the final term, while Seymour managed another two majors — courtesy of best-on-ground Jase Cole and Saad, who finished with four goals — to record the memorable victory.
Colbert said every single player played their part in the against-the-odds win.
‘‘When I looked at it we had probably 21 blokes who contributed, and that’s the most pleasing aspect of it all,’’ he said.
‘‘We got great games out of Jase Cole, Brett Meredith, Harry Wheeler, but these guys play well every week.
‘‘We had 21 blokes playing their role on Saturday and that’s why we came away with the points.’’
The win was made even more remarkable considering the calibre of players who were unavailable.
Reigning best-and-fairest Andrew Sturgess did not play due to his VFL commitments at Coburg, where he is a midfield coach, while Hugh Robertson was overseas and Jake Anderson will miss the bulk of the season after breaking his ankle in a practice match.
Additionally, Alex Hay was knocked unconscious in the third quarter and played no further part, while Matt O’Keefe was concussed late and also left the ground.
‘‘With Sturgess, Robertson and Anderson all out, we had some pretty big shoes to fill,’’ Colbert said.
‘‘That’s a key forward, last year’s best-and-fairest and a great backman all missing, but everyone that came in played their role — that’s all it took to get the four points.
‘‘I said to the boys before the game ‘we’ve prepared for this, we’ve done everything we can’ and I was just rapt with the way they all played and executed the game plan.’’
Cole was clearly his side’s best, dominating in the middle and doing a power of work around the ground.
Brandyn Grenfell was impressive in his 100th game for the club, while first-gamer Brent Ryan was another to star, with his incredible first-up effort cementing him as one of the best defenders in the league.
‘‘Brent was excellent in the back six. He did everything right and has been a ripping inclusion for us,’’ Colbert said.
The Lions now turn their attention to Mansfield, who they will play in a special Anzac game on Sunday at Kings Park.
Score: Rochester 8.12 (60) lt Seymour 12.9 (81)
Goals: S. Saad 4; J. Hockley 3; J. Cole 2; B. Grenfell, H. Wheeler, R. Scopel.
Best: J. Cole, B. Ryan, B. Meredith, B. Grenfell, J. Hockley, H. McLean.
It was a day to forget for Seymour’s reserves, who went down by 51 points to Rochester.
Wayward kicking from the Tigers prevented an even bigger blowout in the score, with the home side booting an incredible 8.18 for the match, while the undermanned Lions could only manage two goals for the entire game.
Score: Rochester 8.18 (66) d Seymour 2.3 (15)
Goals: Not listed.
Best: Not listed.
Seymour’s thirds just couldn’t quite match it with the determined Rochester side, slipping behind in each quarter to eventually go down by 48 points.
However, the young Lions were impressive in their opening encounter, given that the side is predominately an under-17 side, with very few top-age players.
First-year gun Dylan Hockley was instrumental for the Lions, and Tom Wyllie was another to star.
Hudson Kaak booted two goals for the Lions.
Score: Rochester 12.12 (84) d Seymour 5.6 (36)
Goals: H. Kaak 2; S. Voogt, N. Davey, C. McCloy.
Best: D. Hockley, T. Wyllie, S. Voogt, W. Deed, D. Fisher, H. Jones.