It may look like Avenel is coasting right now, after it recorded its seventh win in a row in round 12 of the Kyabram District league.
But while a Swan looks to be gliding across the water, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of hard work being done under the surface.
With a young Shepparton East team looking to prove something against a high-ranking team on Saturday, Avenel had to stay sharp.
And it was the Swans’ experience that shone through as they ground out a 42-point win over the Eagles.
The win solidifies Avenel’s third place ranking, as it sits two wins ahead of fourth-placed Lancaster.
Despite a slow start against Shepparton East, with Avenel only seven points ahead at the first break, Avenel playing coach Kasey Duncan instructed his charges to be smarter going forward and to go harder in the contest.
They responded, increasing their input over the next three terms to record the 10.18 (78) to 4.12 (36) win.
Duncan, who kicked six goals, couldn’t complain about how his team was travelling at the moment.
‘‘We were able to run away with it in the end,’’ Duncan said.
‘‘There was never an issue with scoring, it was just the accuracy and the way we were going forward.
‘‘We had most of the play, it was just our execution going forward.
‘‘We’ll keep working on continuity with the midfield and the forwards.’’
With Avenel seemingly getting on top of the Eagles in the second term, tensions began to boil between the two teams, before a number of big hits caused a melee in the third term.
Play was stopped during the brawl, before Avenel’s Harry Mclean and Sam Maitland and Adrian Moor of Shepparton East were sent off with yellow cards.
Duncan said while most tussles were non-issues, it was about drawing the line in it as soon as possible.
‘‘They’re a young side and they wanted to fly the flag,’’ he said.
‘‘We’re the same, we’re massive on flying the flag for each other.
‘‘You need to draw the line at how far you take it. You still have to be disciplined in your own right.’’
But from the sidelines, many were left questioning why umpires didn’t nip the scuffle in the bud earlier, with a quick ball-up the perfect anecdote to resolving the matter.
Despite the distraction, Avenel was able to rise to the top in the end, kicking away in the final quarter.
Among its best was backline duo Sam Durnan and Michael Tinkler.
‘‘Tinkler’s run off the backline and the way he transitions the ball as well by foot is superb,’’ Duncan said.
However, the Swans didn’t get out of the match unscathed, with Michael Morgan enduring a corked thigh, which Duncan said limited his input on the game, while Todd Heaysman suffered a groin injury.
Travis Muir was also taken from the field after a big hit, but he returned to play out the match.
Avenel will have a week off with the split round, before hosting 12th-placed Rushworth on Saturday, July 20.
●Avenel’s seconds squad continued its good run, beating Shepparton East 13.16 (94) to 4.2 (26).
The Swans dominated for most of the day, with Scott Richardson named best on ground for a second week in a row.
Clinton Donohue and young Jacob Nipperess also impressed, with the Swans boasting an even spread of goalkickers.
Final score: Avenel 10.18 (78) d Shepparton East 4.12 (36)
Goalkickers: K. Duncan 6, J. Myers, P. Arandt, L. Drummond, B. Avola.
Best: S. Durnan, B. Avola, K. Duncan, R. Saultry, J. Myers, J. McDonald.