Upsets mark new season

April 12, 2018

Girgarre reqruit Rowan Priest gets first hand to the ball from Stanhope's Jorge Maxwell.

KYABRAM District League footy fans were greeted with some upset results in last Saturday’s opening round with Merrigum’s come-from-behind defeat of Avenel at Avenel the biggest shock.

Not far behind in the surprise stakes were perennial cellar-dweller Longwood’s stirring defeat of Rushworth and Tallygaroopna’s ruthless thumping of reigning premier Nagambie.

The much anticipated improvement of Girgarre also suffered an early setback when the ’Roos were taken to the cleaners by slick moving neighbour Stanhope after half-time.

The only anticipated results which eventuated were Lancaster’s demolition of the rebuilding Avenel and Violet Town’s solid win over a tenacious Murchison-Toolamba.

There wasn’t a happier person in the league on Saturday night than Merrigum president Greg Pell who watched his side remain goalless in the first half against Avenel and then stage a comeback of epic proportions in the second half to stun the Swans on their home ground.

The Bulldogs trailed by 33 points and had just three points on the board at half-time. But they rallied magnificently to kick eight goals while holding the Swans to three in the second half to snatch a six points win.

Pell said the really satisfying aspect of the boilover win was that the team, under new non playing coach Steve Lawlor, had five players from last season’s premiership reserves side and three from its thirds grand final line-up.

‘‘There were four new recruits in the team also but basically it was a home grown side that was inspired by the efforts of (former coach) Geoff Connally. Everyone did their bit though and we are now looking forward to meeting Longwood this week who have obviously improved a lot,’’ added Pell.

Girgarre stuck with Stanhope for the first half but went missing when the Lions, inspired by the efforts of Tatura ruck recruit Dan Flynn, Alex O’Reilly and young Jorge Maxwell, exploded to kick 13 in the second half while holding the visitors goalless to run out winners by 95 points.

Longwood got on top after quarter time to stun Rushworth with a committed team effort inspired by the efforts of Ben Tautala, veteran Dan Freeman and Nathan Watson.

Led by the Sidebottoms — Mitch and Tyson — Tallygaroopna ran over reigning premier Nagambie in the second half when it kicked 13 goals to four to secure a 77 point win and announce itself as the early season measuring stick of the competition.

It looks another long season for Ardmona whose return to senior ranks was greeted with a 245 points demolition by Lancaster.

Chris Eddy helped himself to eight goals and……..snared five in the dominant win.

Last season’s runners-up Violet Town had to work hard to shake off a persistent Murchison-Toolamba but got the job by 30 points to indicate it will be a force again.

This Saturday has some interesting clashes up for decision with impressive first round winners Tallygaroopna and Stanhope opposed in the match of the day at Tally.

Other first round winners Lancaster and Violet Town clash at Lancaster while Merrigum hosts Longwood.

Girgarre will get its season back on track at home against Ardmona while Undera at home in front of its 1968 premiership side is expected to make a bold showing against a rebounding Nagambie.

Dookie United also makes its appearance in its new league when it travels to Rushworth who will be anxious to redeem itself after its shock first round loss to Longwood.

First round losers Murchison-Toolamba and Avenel clash at Murchison in what should also be a keenly contested affair.

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