GV de­nied tro­phy Loss to Ovens and Mur­ray League

Seymour Telegraph - - SPORT - By Oliver Caf­frey

For­mer AFL cham­pion Jonathan Brown could be on his way to Deakin Re­serve next year for an in­ter­league block­buster with Goul­burn Val­ley.

Brown coached the Ham­p­den league to vic­tory in the AFL Vic­to­ria Com­mu­nity Cham­pi­onships, mean­ing a trip to Shep­par­ton for a clash with Goul­burn Val­ley looks likely af­ter it lost a third straight rep­re­sen­ta­tive match.

It was an­other heart­break­ing loss for the pur­ple and yel­low on Satur­day, go­ing down to arch en­emy Ovens and Mur­ray at Wodonga’s John Flower Oval in a pul­sat­ing thriller by seven points.

The de­feat means the Goul­burn Val­ley has lost its past two games by a to­tal of 11 points, af­ter be­ing edged out by metro league Essendon Dis­trict at Windy Hill last year.

The bat­tle for the Ash-Wil­son Tro­phy lived up to the hype that started al­most a year out, con­sid­er­ing the ri­vals were play­ing each other for the first time in seven years.

Goul­burn Val­ley more than had its chances, dom­i­nat­ing in­side 50s 62 to 49, but with­out a num­ber of power for­wards who were un­avail­able, failed to cap­i­talise on slick ball move­ment through the mid­dle.

There was barely any­thing in the con­test all af­ter­noon, with the home side’s big­gest lead be­ing only 17 points, which came early in the fi­nal term.

Ovens and Mur­ray would have put the game to bed had it con­verted a shot that would have put it 22 points ahead, but Mans­field jet Brett Ma­honey got on the end of a coast-to-coast goal to put Luke Mor­gan’s side right back in it.

Ma­honey’s con­ver­sion, the Goul­burn Val­ley’s first since mid­way through the third quar­ter, jolted the vis­i­tors into gear.

Shep­par­ton ace Mitch Brett booted a long goal, be­fore his Bears team­mate Luke Smith played on from a free kick to in­cred­i­bly put Goul­burn Val­ley in front by a point at the 12-minute mark.

Goul­burn Val­ley had all mo­men­tum, in­clud­ing be­ing on the right side of some de­bat­able um­pir­ing de­ci­sions, and it ap­peared a first in­ter­league win since 2014 was on its way.

But some hero­ics from Ovens and Mur­ray’s Jono Spina and for­mer AFL play­ers Ben Speight and Mark Whi­ley en­sured the home team would get up and re­gain the fa­mous tro­phy named af­ter league le­gends Stephen Ash and Mick Wil­son.

Ovens and Mur­ray big man Lach­lan Howe iced the game with a set shot, back­ing up Speight’s stead­ier.

Rochester tal­ent Steven Stroobants, who booted three goals af­ter be­ing un­der an in­jury cloud for the past two weeks, slot­ted a con­so­la­tion ma­jor, but it came too late.

Wan­garatta’s for­mer Mel­bourne for­ward Michael Newton might not have been named in Ovens and Mur­ray’s of­fi­cial best, but he was al­most the dif­fer­ence.

He was doubt­ful to play all week, but showed no signs of in­jury to cre­ate a threat­en­ing pres­ence up for­ward.

Tatura stop­per Chris Ryan started out on Newton, with Rochester de­fender James Gled­hill also go­ing to him at times.

But his mark­ing abil­ity and pace al­lowed Ovens and Mur­ray a big tar­get to kick to, hit­ting the score­board more of­ten when go­ing for­ward.

Goul­burn Val­ley’s mid­field of Ash Hol­land, cap­tain Ja­son Cole, Sam Mar­tyn and Ma­honey were win­ning the ma­jor­ity of clear­ances in the first half, but the ball was re­bound­ing out of the for­ward 50 too eas­ily.

What Mor­gan and his coach­ing staff would not have done to get Jar­rod Ban­nis­ter, Ruory Kirby or Kayne Pet­tifer in there.

There were shin­ing lights for the Goul­burn Val­ley, with Rochester’s Nathan Mar­rone putting in a ter­rific per­for­mance in his first se­nior in­ter­league game.

He found plenty of the ball off half-back, used it well and at­tacked ev­ery con­test as fierce as the last.

Mar­rone was duly recog­nised by re­ceiv­ing the AFL Vic­to­ria medal as the Goul­burn Val­ley’s best player.

Sey­mour star Ben Clifton did some in­spi­ra­tional things, par­tic­u­larly in the third quar­ter when Goul­burn Val­ley had come out from half-time a bit flat.

Af­ter play­ing off for the top spot in the coun­try rank­ings against pow­er­house Gee­long in 2015, Goul­burn Val­ley has slipped back to the nine ver­sus 10 game.

Adding metro com­pe­ti­tions into the mix last year has not helped the Goul­burn Val­ley’s cause, but a fourth straight in­ter­league de­feat would be noth­ing short of a dis­as­ter for a league with such a proud record at rep­re­sen­ta­tive foot­ball.

Score: Goul­burn Val­ley 11.13 (79) lt Ovens and Mur­ray 12.14 (86).

Goals:Steven Stroobants 3, Bradley Man­gan 2; Luke Smith, Brett Ma­honey, Ben­jamin Clifton, Ni­cholas Warnock, Mitchell Brett, Ja­son Cole.

Best: Nathan Mar­rone, Sam Mar­tyn, Ben­jamin Clifton, Thomas Ben­nett, Niko­laus Rokahr, Ja­son Cole.

Un­der-18 foot­ball does not come much more im­pres­sive than what was on dis­play at Wodonga on Satur­day.

What made it even bet­ter is that Goul­burn Val­ley was on the right end of the re­sult.

Ja­son Wells’ team held off a fast-fin­ish­ing Ovens and Mur­ray to win the AFL Vic­to­ria Com­mu­nity Cham­pi­onships clash at John Flower Oval by eight points.

Wells could not have been more proud of his group for its ef­forts.

‘‘It was a bril­liant game of footy and I was al­ways in­ter­ested in see­ing how we’d go against a strong coun­try rep side in the Ovens and Mur­ray be­cause we hadn’t played them for some time, ’’ Wells said.

‘‘There was a lot of pres­sure, but once the ball got out in the open, the ground suited our run and carry.’’

‘‘I said to them af­ter the game when hand­ing out the awards that I could’ve given them to 18 to 21 play­ers be­cause ev­ery­one did their job.’’

The end re­sult was a sin­gledigit vic­tory, but the re­al­ity was Goul­burn Val­ley con­trolled most of the match be­fore some late goals from Ovens and Mur­ray.

Goul­burn Val­ley led by 26 points at the fi­nal change and did not look like los­ing un­til a flurry of goals sent some panic into the ranks.

‘‘We didn’t want them to score the next goal be­cause (ruck­man) Josh (Flight) was out on his feet in the ruck and they (Ovens and

Un­der-18

Mur­ray) were clear­ing the ball away too easy,’’ Wells said.

‘‘I think that sec­ond quar­ter took it out of them be­cause it was a long quar­ter af­ter the clock on the score­board re­set, it felt like about 35 min­utes and no-one is used to that.’’

Mooroopna’s Kai Madg­wick had a bril­liant game and was re­warded with the medal for best-on-ground.

Madg­wick did it all, kick­ing three goals and set­ting up play to stand out from the pack.

Flight rucked ex­cep­tion­ally, while Kayne David­son from Euroa put in a true cap­tain’s per­for­mance.

Shep­par­ton United’s Jack Nor­man, Ed Adams and Josh Kez­erle were ter­rific, while Amos Far­rell and Liam Te­nace more than played their roles.

‘‘I’m pleased the GV is able to give an op­por­tu­nity for these kids to play at this level,’’ Wells said.

‘‘You only have to look through the se­nior side and there were prob­a­bly eight guys just in re­cent times that have come through the un­der-18 sys­tem.’’

Score: Goul­burn Val­ley FL 18.10 (118) d Ovens and Mur­ray FL 16.14 (110).

Goals: Ed­ward Adams 4, Kai Madg­wick 3; Joshua Kez­erle, Jordan Mc­Gre­gor, James Chiller, Jesse Cu­cinotta 2; Liam Te­nace, Adam Pi­gatto, Jamie Dunne.

Best: Kai Madg­wick, Joshua Flight, Kayne David­son, Jack Nor­man, Ed­ward Adams, Joshua Kez­erle.

More pic­tures on page 23.

Get out of here: Ben Clifton fends off a tackle. Pic­ture: Julie Mercer

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