Persistence has finally paid off for the Shepparton Swans.
After a slow start to the season, Paul Griffiths’ young charges have improved dramatically in the past few weeks, culminating in a maiden victory over Tatura on Saturday.
‘‘It was just fantastic for the club,’’ Griffiths said.
‘‘But more importantly it was terrific reward for effort for the players.
‘‘They’ve been peppering away for the last couple of months week in, week out and it’s just terrific for them to get a win.’’
The Swans had to dig deep in the last term at Princess Park to get the job done, with Tatura hitting the front after the home side had controlled the early going in the stanza.
‘‘It really tested our character and resolve,’’ Griffiths said.
‘‘We kicked the first two and then Tatura got their noses in front.
‘‘At that stage you’re hoping, but you’re not sure, how the boys are going to respond, but I couldn’t have asked for anything better.’’
Andrew Riordan led the way for the Swans up forward with three goals, while Justin and Nathan Terlich provided the spark needed for their side to record the 12-point upset.
‘‘Justin’s class across the ground is really telling,’’ Griffiths said.
‘‘Nathan’s ability to turn a 50-50 contest our way was really crucial as well, but other than that it was a really even contribution.’’
Young Tyreece Collison joined Dylan Kerr as equally influential players for Griffith’s side, while BJ Squire was in his usual dominating mood.
The home side only trailed at the main break, with Griffiths highlighting the continued improvement of his team’s defensive structure as an important factor in the breakthrough success.
‘‘We’ve stuck with what we’ve been doing, but it takes time to become instinctive,’’ he said.
‘‘You can see the players slowly but surely picking it up and buying into the process more.
‘‘They’re really well organised in defence now, and for our guys to find something in the end there was outstanding.’’
Despite the emotion of the victory, the Swans will not be getting ahead of themselves.
‘‘Don’t get me wrong, we’ve still got a long way to go,’’ Griffiths said.
‘‘We talk a lot about where we find wins away from the scoreboard, but there’s no question that a win like this instils an enormous amount of belief into the side.’’
For Tatura, the close loss is the seventh in a row of 15 points or less for the club after securing victory in its first two games of the season.
Again it was forward efficiency that seemed to let the Bulldogs down, with eight individual goalkicker’s contributing to the final score of 8.11 (59).
Linc Wellington stood out as the best player for the away side, while Mitch Elliott, Tim Lanyon and Colby McDonald acquitted themselves well.
The defeat leaves Tatura reeling in eighth spot on the Goulburn Valley League ladder, already a massive three games behind seventh-placed Echuca.
The only saving grace for the Bulldogs is that these close losses mean their percentage is still strong, but Jamason Daniels’ men will have to start winning if they are any chance to feature in finals action this year.
However, that task does not get any easier next week with Tatura set to host Shepparton.
Meanwhile, the Swans will take their new-found belief and winning momentum down the highway to Kings Park to try and knock off a depleted Seymour side that has lost three of its past four matches.
Shepparton Swans: 1.5 3.8 6.10 10.11 (71)
Tatura: 1.1 4.6 6.7 8.11 (59)
Shepparton Swans: Justin Terlich, Nathan Terlich, Dylan Kerr, Tyreece Collison, Luke Whyte, BJ Squire.
Tatura: Linc Wellington, Mitch Elliott, Tim Lanyon, Colby McDonald, Rian McGough, Andrew Ciavarella.
Shepparton Swans: Andrew Riordan 3, Nathan Terlich, BJ Squire 2, Lachlan Johnston, Tyreece Collison, Luke Whyte.
Tatura: Jamason Daniels, Matt Ryan, Rian McGough, Zavier Ballis, Mitch Elliott, James Sullivan, Jaydan Thewma, Tim Lanyon.