All Blacks earn break with win

Benalla Ensign - - Sport - By Fraser Walker-Pearce

The Be­nalla All Blacks fin­ished the nor­mal sea­son with an 89-point de­mo­li­tion of the Whorouly Lions on Satur­day.

The 123-34 score­line was the side’s 16th win in 18 matches this sea­son, se­cur­ing sec­ond place in the Ovens and King Foot­ball League ahead of the fi­nals.

Pan­thers head coach Harry Mo­ran booted a sea­son-high six goals in the match and said it was pleas­ing to fin­ish the sea­son on a high.

‘‘I’m pretty happy to have fin­ished well against Whorouly. We didn’t cap­i­talise as well as we could have, and maybe we should have kicked a few more. But at the end of the day we got the job done and it com­pletes a re­ally solid sea­son — one that we wanted to achieve. I’m ex­tremely happy with where we’re at,’’ he said.

The win also means the side can rest easy for the week­end, know­ing it has claimed a semi-fi­nal berth against league-leader Tar­rawingee on Septem­ber 3.

Tar­rawingee beat the Pan­thers last time the sides met in round nine. But Mo­ran said would be dif­fer­ent.

‘‘There’s quite a few play­ers that will play this time that didn’t last time, so we’ll be at full strength, as op­posed to last time in round nine,’’ he said.

‘‘As for tac­ti­cal stuff, there are a few things we want to try early on, and we’ll be look­ing to main­tain pres­sure on them through­out the match. We’re look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenge.’’

Even if the Pan­thers lose to Tar­rawingee, they will have an­other chance to beat the win­ner of the other semi-fi­nal the fol­low­ing week.

If the Pan­thers make the grand fi­nal, Mo­ran said it would not mat­ter who the op­po­nent was on the day.

‘‘If we lose that match (Tar­rawingee), we play the win­ners of that elim­i­na­tion fi­nal,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t think it mat­ters who we play. We’d ex­pect to be play­ing Glen­rowan — they’re streets head of ev­ery­one else in terms of their qual­ity — but we don’t pre­fer any team. We’ll have a full bill of health come the fi­nals.’’ this time Whorouly Lions 1.0, 1.2, 3.3, 5.4 (34) Be­nalla All Blacks 3.7, 8.13, 15.17, 17.21 (123) All Blacks best: Re­gan Shee­han, Al Jacka, Zach Amarant, Chris Lock­hart, Andy Trende, Nick Spencer. All Blacks goals: Harry Mo­ran 6, Jack El­lis 4, Chris O'Con­nor, Nick Spencer 2, Chris Lock­hart, Joel East­wood, Al Jacka.

Hard at it: Nick Spencer booted two goals and was one of the best per­form­ers in Be­nalla’s 89-point thump­ing of Whorouly on Satur­day. Pic­ture: Garry Jones

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