A whole lot of soul searching will be happening in the Swans’ nest this week after an embarrassing 79-point thrashing at the hands of Stanhope.
Avenel looked dismal from the opening bounce, scoring just one behind in the opening term, while it could only muster six scoring shots for the entire match.
Stanhope was superior in the conditions, playing the heavy rain-soaked ground far better than its visitors.
The Lions seemed to move the ball with ease down the ground and in to goal, while Avenel looked a shadow of its former dominant self, missing targets and fumbling and turning the ball over on countless occasions.
Stanhope began the proceedings with a five-goal opening term, but the Swans fought back in the second quarter and outscored their opposition by a goal to make a small inroad on the quarter-time margin.
However that was where the fight ended, with the Swans managing just one behind for the entire second half.
An injury to nimble midfielder Michael Morgan — who was arguably his side’s best in the opening half — early in the third term hurt the Swans, who had the work left to too few.
Playing coach Don Stirling was at his inspirational best all game, leading from the front in the trying conditions.
Recruit Max Lawrence was under heavy fire in the backline but stood tall all game, repelling a number of Stanhope forward forays, while veteran Paul Arandt defied the years with a good performance in the ruck.
Some of the side’s small brigade — namely Nick Goodwin, Ryan Lambert and Lachie Drummond — revelled in the conditions to also be among the Swans’ best on a dark day for the club.
Stirling gave the group an absolutely savage, albeit deserved, tongue-lashing after the game, saying that too much had been left to too few.
It’s been a disastrous start to the year for the Swans. They lost to Nagambie in the grand final rematch in the opening round by 44 points, then had the bye in round two followed by another bye the following week thanks to Easter.
The Swans were no doubt underdone going into Saturday’s match, having had two weeks in a row off, and it clearly showed.
It’ll be a gruelling week on the training track this week for Avenel, before it resets and faces Merrigum at home on Saturday. Score: Stanhope 14.16 (100) d Avenel 3.3 (21) Goals: M. Thomas, C. Burton, C. McCarthy Best: D. Stirling, M. Lawrence, P. Arandt, N. Goodwin, R. Lambert, L. Drummond.
The severely undermanned Avenel reserves were no match for top-of-the-table Stanhope, going down by 69 points.
It was a low-scoring affair in the opening term, with Stanhope managing two goals and Avenel a solitary behind, but the Lions put the foot to the floor as the match wore on, increasing their lead at every break to run out easy winners.
Club president Dan Boote made a cameo appearance for the Swans and immediately had an impact, booting his side’s first goal for the match in the second term,.
John Green, in his first showing for the club since returning this year, was one of the standouts for the Swans and will be pushing for senior selection this week.
Simon Van Duinen was another to shine for the Swans, while Luke Urquhart toiled hard. Score: Stanhope 14.11 (95) d Avenel 4.2 (26) Goals: J. Green, L. Urquhart, A. Dowling, D. Boote Best: S. Van Duinen, L. Urquhart, J. Green, S. Richardson, T. Peacock, Z. Brown.
It might have been their first match of the season, but there was certainly no signs of rusty football for Avenel’s under-18 cohort, which recorded a convincing 107-point win away from home.
The Swans surprisingly scored with ease on the rainsoaked Stanhope ground; they booted five goals to none in the opening term and never looked back from there.
Avenel had an impressive 31 scoring shots to its opposition’s four for the match, with Brenton Tempest doing the bulk of the damage up forward with five majors.
Andrew Dowling booted four goals for the Swans, while Karl Flaskett finished with three.
Will Dundon did a power of work in the backline and around the ground to be named his side’s best, with Jacob Nipperess and Quintain Rickman also keys to the side’s win. Score: Stanhope 0.4 (4) lt Avenel 16.15 (111) Goals: B. Tempest 5; A. Dowling 4; K. Flaskett 3; J. Nipperess 2; T. Long, N. Cavanagh Best: W. Dundon, J. Nipperess, Q. Rickman, T. Chanloup, A. Dowling, B. Tempest.
First to it: Kasey Duncan gets front position.