Panthers pounce on Bats

By Fraser Walker-Pearce

The Benalla All Blacks inflicted huge damage on a struggling Goorambat side during Saturday’s local derby.

The Panthers mauled the Bats from start to finish at Goorambat Recreation Reserve, racking up a 24-204 victory.

Leading the onslaught were the Moran brothers, Riley (8) and Harry (6), who between them booted 14 goals.

Co-captain Al Jacka pitched in with five goals and was named in the best.

The only downside for the Panthers were the losses of Sam McGregor to torn ankle ligaments, and best-on-ground Harry Ellis to an appendicitis operation, which will see the pair sidelined for at least the next few weeks.

Panthers playing coach Harry Moran said the losses would be a big hit as his side prepared to take on ladder leader Greta this week.

‘‘Sam McGregor tore ligaments in his ankle, which is a huge shame because he’s an important player in the team, so hopefully he’s back sooner rather than later. He’s definitely a player we’ll miss over the six to eight weeks he’s out.

‘‘We hope for Jayden Guppy to return this week after not playing last weekend.

‘‘Harry Ellis has appendicitis, so he’ll be out for at least four weeks, with the stitching and waiting for that to all heal,’’ he said.

Moran said he was happy with his side’s performance, although it was sad to see the position the Bats were in.

‘‘It’s a game that both clubs always want to turn up and play the best footy they can. For us, we turned up and had a good day out there.

‘‘Unfortunately they’re in the position they are — but we’re more than happy to take the four points,’’ he said.

Bouncing back from last week’s defeat at the hands of Glenrowan, where the majority of the regular starting side was out with other commitments or injury, was necessary for Moran.

‘‘We’re not as predictable as we have been in previous years, and because of that we’ve been able to kick more goals. In other games we’ve struggled to kick big scores in big games, but we seem to be more versatile and have a lot of goal kickers,’’ he said.

Joel Bate made his debut for the Panthers and put in an ‘‘extremely good performance’’.

Picked up out of Tungamah, which now play in the Murray League, Bate impressed Moran and is sure to be an important fixture in the side this year.

Goorambat coach Shayne McKean did not respond to calls from The Ensign.