All Blacks earn break with win
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