Shepparton News

Lions make sudden impact



The 1970s proved a period of real change in the Goulburn Valley Football League.

At the start of the decade, the GVFL had eight clubs and was far from a heavyweigh­t at interleagu­e level.

But 10 years on, the story had changed.

One of the key reasons behind the rise of the competitio­n was the inf lux of new clubs.

A few weeks ago we looked back to when Euroa made the ultimate of splashes by winning the 1971 flag at the end of its inaugural GVFL season.

Fast-forward five years and another former powerhouse of the Waranga North East Football League followed in the footsteps of the Magpies.

Seymour made a fruitless late bid to follow Euroa over in 1971, but refused to give up on a fresh beginning and succeeded finally in November 1975.

Fresh from ending a frustratin­g run of eight consecutiv­e losing grand finals by winning that year’s WNE decider, Seymour was finally given the green light.

President Jim Ure vowed his club would be as successful in the Goulburn Valley as it was in the Waranga North East. They would be prophetic words. Seymour, under non-playing coach Ron Grattan, wasted no time making an impact.

Drawn to play reigning GVFL premier Kyabram in the opening round, the Lions fielded seven fresh faces.

Melbourne thirds duo Murray Black and Geoff Delaney, Benalla recruit Phil Smith, Colbinabbi­n’s Mal Lunberg, Broadford’s Kevin Inness, Prahran key forward Ray Stomann and rover Greg Liddell (Kilmore).

Seymour also welcomed back former ace Barry Richards from Bendigo powerhouse Sandhurst.

Tom Carey was there for The News.

Former Waranga North East league champions Seymour humbled a sadly dissipated Goulburn Valley premier Kyabram in hot, hard conditions.

The Lions showed the Bombers that they intended to do anything and everything necessary to please the large home gate of $780.

Four goals from Stomann and Francis O’Keefe highlighte­d the 18.11 (119) to 11.16 (82) win, which rounded out a big day for the Lions who also won the seconds and thirds.

Seymour defeated Echuca in round two, before back-to-back losses against Shepparton United and Lemnos dropped the Lions out of the top five.

It would take until round eight for Seymour to return there, thanks to three straight wins against Tongala, Rochester and Tatura.

The Lions won five on end to get to third spot before enduring a mid-season slump.

Seymour scored one win from its next five games, dropping to seventh place on the ladder, although equal on points with United (fifth) and Tatura (sixth).

That would set the stage for a thrilling run into the finals series.

The 1976 season did not have a standout team with Lemnos and Echuca doing enough to stay ahead of a chasing pack featuring Seymour, Kyabram, Euroa, Shepparton United and Tatura.

Four straight wins, defeating Tongala, Rochester, Tatura and Shepparton along the way, had News reporter Bill McCarthy impressed.

Seymour looked every bit competent finalists as they outmarked and generally outclassed Shepparton in a percentage-boosting affair.

The machine-like Lions gave the visitors a lesson in teamwork, defensive dash and purposeful defensive work to record a dominant 19.9 (123) to 5.4 (34) win.

Even a surprise loss against Mooroopna in the penultimat­e round could not halt Seymour’s momentum and the Lions sealed third spot on percentage with a 34-point defeat of Euroa, knocking the Magpies out of the five.

Seymour’s percentage of 114.8 gave it the double chance ahead of Kyabram (108.3) and United (106.0) after the trio of sides finished on 52 points.

That set the stage for the finals, with the Lions winning a scrappy qualifying final against Echuca by two points, despite booting 0.6 in the last quarter.

The triumph booked a date with the minor Glory days: Brilliant: premiers Lemnos, here Carey’s report.

An enthusiast­ic, energetic, speedy Seymour side shattered the squeamish Swans in yesterday’s second semi-final at Deakin Reserve.

As in three of the four finals played thus far, the match was over by half-time as Lemnos lagged to a depressing defeat after an abysmal first two quarters ill befitting the team that has led the league for most of the 1976 season.

Mick O’Donnell snagged five goals from a half-forward flank, while Neville Green and Greg Liddell starred for the Lions.

So Seymour watched on as Echuca defeated Lemnos by three points in the preliminar­y final. is Tom

A record gate of $6978 watched on as the Lions carved out a piece of history. Tom Carey reporting. Better use of the ball in sense of purpose, physical execution of kicking and handpassin­g, and cohesion with teammates running on, won Seymour the 1976 Goulburn Valley Football League premiershi­p.

But it was not won until the Lions survived a ferocious rejuvenati­on by the Echuca team, which came back from a 45-point deficit soon after the start of the third quarter to take the lead midway in the last term.

Seymour kicked five goals in the first and second quarters for a 10.3 to 2.12 half-time lead.

 ??  ?? Seymour skipper Alister Greenshiel­ds is carried off the ground by teammates after the Lions’ premiershi­p win in 1976.
Seymour skipper Alister Greenshiel­ds is carried off the ground by teammates after the Lions’ premiershi­p win in 1976.
 ??  ?? Dashing Seymour full-back Peter Garratt takes a telling mark during the 1976 GVFL decider at Deakin Reserve.
Dashing Seymour full-back Peter Garratt takes a telling mark during the 1976 GVFL decider at Deakin Reserve.
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