With its bumpy start to the year well and truly behind it, Avenel has found itself in a winning way of late, with its latest scalp being Murchison-Toolamba.
‘‘We knew they’d given Nagambie a pretty good push the previous week so we knew that it was going to be a good challenge for us,’’ Avenel coach Don Stirling said.
‘‘The first half was pretty tight but we managed to run away with it in the second half.’’
The Swans led by just nine points at quarter-time but managed to stretch that to 15 points by half-time.
Paul Arandt was good in the ruck for Avenel while Mitch Thomas chipped in with a goal, adding to a string of quality performances over the past few weeks.
Both sides were fairly quiet in the third quarter, but the Swans booted four goals in the final term to seal victory.
Nathan Thomas was the top goal scorer for Avenel, but again this week the goal scorers were fairly well spread for the Swans.
‘‘We’re getting so many rotations from the midfield going forward, there’s usually one or two goals bobbing up there,’’ Stirling said.
‘‘But it seems like if someone’s not having a good day up forward, there’s always one of the other forwards who picks up the slack.
‘‘It’s good to not have to rely on one goal kicker and a lot of our forwards share it around.’’
Another key to Avenel’s season turnaround has been the work inside its defensive 50.
‘‘Our back six has been really solid across the board over these past six weeks,’’ Stirling said.
‘‘Mat Hurley has been really good down back, and our mids and forwards are doing their jobs as well.’’
Having hit their stride to make it seven wins in a row, the Swans have put pressure on the rest of the competition.
This Saturday they face arch-rivals Nagambie.
Score: Murchison-Toolamba 4.11 (35) lt Avenel 11.14 (80).
Goals: N. Thomas 4; M. Thomas, D. Stirling, C. McCarthy, C. Burton, M. Lawrence, S. Standley, W. Holman.
Best: P. Arandt, S. Tyers, M. Thomas, W. Lewis, M. Hurley, D. Stirling.
Despite some fight, Avenel was mostly blown out of the water in the first half by Murchison-Toolamba.
A scoreless first quarter hurt the Swans’ hopes of savouring something from the match while they could only manage two points in the second term.
The Hoppers were punished by their own inaccuracy, kicking a wayward 5.10 by half-time.
Avenel managed a score or two in the second half but it wasn’t enough to challenge Murchison-Toolamba, which was clearly in the box seat.
Score: Murchison-Toolamba 11.14 (80) d Avenel 2.4 (16).
Goals: C. Leighton 2.
Best: T. Manson, B. Williams, C. Neels, C. Lyons, R. Lambert, C. Lovett.
The only thing stopping the Swans was the cold and jarring conditions on Saturday.
The highly fancied Murchison-Toolamba managed just seven points for the game while Avenel booted 12 majors for a 72-point victory.
The Swans were consistent from start to finish against the second-placed side, kicking an almost even number of goals in both halves.
Khoner Robl came away top scorer with a bag of five while Dylan Mendoza was named best on ground.
Score: Murchison-Toolamba 0.7 (7) d Avenel 12.7 (79).
Goals: K. Robl 5; A. Dowling 3; B. Tempest, Q. Rickman, S. Cusack, N. Woods.
Best: D. Mendoza, J. Nipperess, K. Robl, C. Thomson, C. Thomson, S. Cusack.