Sport

Seymour skins Cats to all but claim a finals berth

By Meg Saultry

Seymour has all but wrapped up its place in the Goulburn Valley League finals series with a comfortable 27-point win over Mooroopna at Kings Park in the penultimate round of the home-and-away season on Saturday.

The result was more emphatic compared to the Lions' earlier one-point win over the Cats in round six, but despite the more commanding result the match was still up for grabs midway through the final term.

“Obviously it was great to get the win,” Seymour co-coach Ben Clifton said.

“The first quarter really set us up. We were playing a good brand of footy and we really took the game on.

“But we took the foot off the pedal in the next two quarters, which brought Mooroopna back into the game.

“It was only when they got within a goal in the last quarter that the boys were able to switch back on and finish the job."

Returning after half-time Mooroopna faced a 35-point deficit, but went about kicking three goals in the third term, as well as the opening three goals of the final quarter. A Kai Love-Linay goal brought the Cats within five points of the Lions, but it was goals to Seymour duo Harrison Wade and Jack Murphy (two) that sealed the win for the Lions.

With several players coming in and out of the game, Clifton said it was Ben Rignoni and Aiden Adams who were “easily the Lions' best four-quarter players.”

Rigoni, who stars on the wing and half forward, marked everything, while Adams impressed with his ``defensive pressure and ability to win the ball back,” Clifton said.

The round 17 victory sees Seymour push up into fourth, two points ahead of those placed fifth to seventh. And with sixth and seventh facing off in the final round, it looks likely one of those will be the unlucky team to miss out.

“Looking at the ladder we’re safe unless [Benalla-Rochester] is a draw — hopefully that doesn’t happen,” Clifton said with a laugh.

It means this Saturday’s match against competition leader Kyabram won't be do or die for Seymour, but it doesn’t mean the Lions won't have plenty to play for.

“Next game is a practice run to get things ready to go for finals,” Clifton said.

“We’ll make sure our backs are accountable and look to nullify [Kyabram’s] influence in the ruck.

“That’s what we’ll be working on this week.''

And for a team whose reserves are flying high at the top of the ladder, and with Tom McConville the sole casualty from the Mooroopna match — a soft tissue injury — spots are tough to come by at the Lions.

“Our 10th to 40th picks are playing good footy,” Clifton said.

“Jack Bradford has had a solid month of footy. His name will come up this week.

“No one spot is concrete.”

Final score: Seymour 12.15 (87) def Mooroopna 9.6 (60).

Goal kickers: J. Murphy 3, H. Wade 2, T. Hedley 2, B. Rigoni 2, J. Anderson 2, M. Waite.

Best players: B. Rigoni, A. Adams, A. Johnston, R. Scopel, M. Bradbury, J. Cole.

• Seymour's reserves held onto their ladder lead with a 120-point demolition of Mooroopna on Saturday. Max Jones was the standout down forward with eight goals, Harley Taylor-Lloyd contributed a handy three majors, while Mitch McLean was again named best on ground for the Lions.

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