All Blacks ready for the next challenger
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.