Sport

Shepparton king of the jungle as Seymour slips

By Meg Saultry

Seymour’s 29-point loss to Shepparton at Kings Park on Saturday has the Bears returning to the top of the food chain.

“Seymour beat us last time,” Shepparton coach Troy King said of the Bears' 31-point loss to the Lions in round five.

“We were keen to put on a good show at Kings Park, and we’re rapt with the win.

“It evens it one-all.”

Seymour was on the defensive early, but inaccuracy marred Shepparton's dominance as the Bears posted 2.6 by quarter-time.

But the visitors quickly rectified the issue to record 7.6 in the remaining three quarters to seal a 9.12 (66) to 5.7 (37) victory over Seymour.

Up he goes: Lachlan Waite attempts to spoil a mark. Picture: Wayne Herring.

The win sees the Bears move into outright third with two home-and-away matches remaining, while Seymour remains in fifth and in imminent danger from sixth and seventh placed Tatura and Rochester respectively.

In what was Rowan Hiscock’s 250th game, King said it was particularly pleasing to get the win in the veteran’s milestone match.

“The conditions were a bit wet and greasy,” King said.

“We spoke about not over-using the footy, just having the one or two handballs.

“Speaking to Seymour after the game, I think they overused it a bit.

“I guess we adapted a bit quicker.”

And it was his charges' relentless pressure that also impressed the coach.

“Our tackle count was consistent over four quarters, which is a good indicator of our pressure,” King said.

“It was a good four-quarter effort; the boys ran hard.”

With Seymour boasting an all-star midfield in Jason Cole and Zac Keogh, ruckman Ashley Holland proved the antidote for the Bears, with the big man named best on ground for his efforts.

“Ash spent about 70, 80 per cent of the game in the ruck, before switching with Harry Boyd down forward,” King said.

“In the ruck, he gave our onballers first use.

“And around the ground, he takes big grabs at crucial moments, and if he doesn’t hold the grab he makes the contest.

“He had a great game and he’s been really consistent with form.”

Another to impress with his performance was Xavier Stevenson who was tasked with the massive job of nullifying Cole.

“With Cole a representative player, you've got to show a bit of respect and keep watch of him,” King said.

“[Xav] did a fantastic job on Cole and was able to sneak forward and kick a few.”

Wrapped up: Jason Cole is taken down by a Bear.

With third to seventh particularly tight in the race to finals, Seymour co-coach Ben Clifton said he was disappointed to come away with a loss, particularly with third place up for grabs for the victors.

“We struggled to connect with one another,” Clifton said.

“It felt like it was going to happen, but it didn’t.

“And our skill level meant we didn’t quite play the way we wanted to.”

But Clifton was full of praise for backline trio Lachlan Waite, Dylan Scopel and Aiden Adams.

“Shepparton had about 60 inside 50s. (Our backline) rebounded quite a lot of them, but it didn’t result in scores for us.”

Seymour will look to better its one-point win over Mooroopna from round six when the two teams meet again at Kings Park this Saturday.

With the result of this game and their match against competition leader Kyabram potentially determining whether or not the Lions make a finals appearance, the clash against the Cats becomes even more important.

“It’s definitely a must win – there is nothing else you can say,” Clifton said.

“Mooroopna are going to play well; and, coming within one-point last time, they’ll be up and about I’d imagine.

“We need to bring the right attitude.

“We don’t want to be relying on that (Kyabram) game to make finals.

“This next one is vital for us.”

Final score: Seymour 5.7 (37) def by Shepparton 9.12 (66).

Goal kickers: T. Hedley, H. Jones, T. McConville, Z. Keogh, K. Winter-Irving.Best players: L. Waite, A. Adams, D. Scopel, T. Freeman, J. Cole, H. Wade.

*Seymour’s reserves recorded a massive landslide over Shepparton, beating the visitors 16.13 (109) to 1.3 (9) to retain top spot on the ladder. Mitch McLean was judged best on ground, while Harley Taylor-Lloyd (five goals) and Max Jones (three) were influential down forward.

*Seymour’s Under-18s also celebrated a comfortable victory, overcoming Shepparton by 30 points, with Cain Murray (three goals) and Clayton Salmon impressing for the young Lions.

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