All Blacks ready for the next chal­lenger

Benalla Ensign - - Motorsport - By Ge­or­gia Smith

It had all of the mak­ings of a come­back story — and it did not dis­ap­point.

Old ri­vals Be­nalla All Blacks and Glen­rowan bat­tled it out to keep their sea­sons alive on Sun­day — the Pan­thers out to set­tle the score.

His­tory would show the odds in the Tigers’ favour, hav­ing taken last year’s flag and the two games this sea­son away from the Pan­thers.

How­ever, the ta­bles were turned, with the All Blacks storm­ing home 32-point win­ners in front of a crowd in Moyhu.

‘‘It was ex­tremely sat­is­fy­ing to knock off the reign­ing pre­miers from last year,’’ Be­nalla All Blacks coach Harry Mo­ran said.

‘‘Glen­rowan are al­ways in full-flight at this part of the sea­son, so to beat a side that’s beaten us the last three times and taken the flag off us last year was very sat­is­fy­ing.’’

An­drew Trende, Justin Ger­va­soni and Alis­tair Jacka set the tone for the Pan­thers semi-fi­nal win,

If we play the way we did on the week­end I don’t think there’s any­one we can’t beat.

while Trent Chap­man and Sam MacGre­gor kicked seven goals be­tween them.

Ri­ley Mo­ran and Sam New­ton also made their re­turn from in­jury on the week­end to pitch in for the Pan­thers.

Mo­ran cred­ited his side’s speed and en­durance in help­ing se­cure a pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal spot.

‘‘We have a lot of good run­ners and would like to think we’re a fit side,’’ Mo­ran said.

‘‘We’ve made some changes to our struc­tures over the last month and I think that caught them of­f­guard.’’

With no in­juries and all play­ers re­cov­er­ing well from the week­end’s game, the All Blacks are now pre­par­ing to take on Mi­lawa this week­end.

Mi­lawa is com­ing off the back of a 15-point loss to Tar­rawingee and, with a sec­ond chance in sight, will be look­ing to bounce back strong.

Dur­ing the home-an­d­away sea­son Be­nalla and Mi­lawa faced off twice, with the score set at one game a piece, so any­thing is pos­si­ble dur­ing fi­nals time.

Mo­ran was feel­ing pos­i­tive about the loom­ing pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal.

‘‘If we play the way we did on the week­end I don’t think there’s any­one we can’t beat,’’ Mo­ran said.

‘‘I would back us 110 per cent.’’

The fi­nal will be played at 2.15 pm on Satur­day in Tar­rawingee.

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