End of the road for Saints
The stage had been set and the hype built for Benalla’s finals campaign.
But just as fast as finals came around, it was over.
The Saints’ three-point loss to Mansfield sent shockwaves through the team, which was sent packing in an elimination final in Seymour on Saturday.
After Benalla lead for much of the day in rainy conditions, Mansfield strung together the final three goals of the game to run away with the win, putting an end to Benalla’s season and showing the unpredictability of finals football.
Two of the late goals came from the boot of Eagles player Brett Mahoney, right when the Saints had worked hard to secure a 13-point lead in the final quarter.
Benalla coach Luke Morgan said the loss has left the Saints with a hollow feeling.
‘‘It’s a bad and disappointing way to finish the season,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘We just didn’t take our chances and opportunities and gave them two or three goals that were easy for them.
‘‘During the season we worked on some things and developed so to not win a final has meant we haven’t achieved a goal of ours.’’
Sam Martyn, James Martiniello, Luke Morgan, Jack Spinks, Charlie Morrison and Lachlan Thompson were named the best players for the Saints, while Brody Webster and Nick Warnock hit the scoreboard with two goals each.
In what was overall a successful home and away season for Benalla, coach Morgan said the side would now spend some time reflecting on what had happened.
‘‘We’re looking to reflect on the season now that it’s finished a few weeks earlier than we would have hoped for,’’ Morgan said.
He will also be deciding in the coming weeks if he will remain Benalla’s coach for next year.
Kyabram, Echuca, Shepparton and Mansfield are now the four teams remaining for the semifinals in the Goulburn Valley League, with Tatura also bowing out in an elimination final on the weekend.
Mansfield will now play the Shepparton Bears, while Kyabram will clash with Echuca this weekend.
Great grab: Benalla’s Sam Martyn marks on his chest on Saturday. Pictures: Karl Phillipson
Season ends: The Saints devastated as their season comes to an end.