Woke up from hibernation

June 19, 2017

James Wong booted six goals in Shepparton Bears' 61-point thrashing of Mansfield on Saturday.

Shepparton disposed of Mansfield at home on Saturday to rebound from a poor showing last week.

Having been disappointing against Rochester, the Bears clawed back second spot with a 61-point thrashing of the Eagles.

The Bears were on top from the beginning, with a consistent midfield performance creating plenty of scoring opportunities.

Six goals was all Mansfield could manage for the match, just below its average of eight a game this season.

James Wong single-handedly put that many majors on the board for the Bears.

Wong paired with Luke Smith deep in attack, as the young midfielder turned into a small forward.

No stranger to bagging a goal each week he looked a natural in the forward line, finishing off a clean midfield passage to put the Bears’ first major on the board.

He nailed another goal from a tough angle after a short delivery from Jonty Wardle, with coach Brad Campbell impressed with how Smith was faring in the forward line.

‘‘We’re managing Luke, he’s in a bit of a different role at the moment, but he’s a really clever player and through the forward line he’s a really smart player, he was great for us early,’’ Campbell said.

Unlike against Rochester when the midfield was severely beaten, the Bears found space on their home turf.

After Sam Brennan got the better of Ash Holland last weekend, Shepparton’s ruckman was more prominent on Saturday as his Mansfield counterpart Jacob Howes covered plenty of ground in the first half.

Nik Rokahr was also quiet last week, but on Saturday was responsible for providing plenty of run for the Bears to help them jump 18 points ahead at the first break.

But while the Eagles could not stay in touch on the scoreboard, they were not disgraced, despite the final margin.

Nick Gray made an appearance during a week off from VFL to be his side’s best, with James Herridge and Tom German also good.

But Mansfield’s skill errors that came from consistent pressure from the Bears gifted the ball back to the home team.

A goal on the run from Dave Stretton was reflective of Shepparton taking a control of the game just before half-time.

Cameron Hotton’s side managed just a goal in the third quarter and two in the final as its scoring continues to be a major issue, with no multiple goal-kickers on Saturday.

While the team has scored seven or less goals in six games this season, coach Cameron Hotton hoped there was room for his side in September.

‘‘Rochy will present a good challenge next week, so I still hope we can make the six,’’ Hotton said.

‘‘I don’t know what to make of it, we had good ball movement, but only in patches ... on the training track this Thursday we were a bit flat and I think that transcribed this week onto the field, but we play better at home, so hopefully we’ll be able to turn it around.’’

With Wong slotting through the final goal of the match, Campbell said he had improved from last season as the Bears look to maintain some consistency against Tatura on Saturday.

‘‘He’s moving really well and he’s got good confidence and (is) kicking the ball a lot better than last year and getting reward for his effort,’’ he said.

‘‘The boys started really well this week and were keen to make amends for an average performance last week and they set the tone and were impressive with the way they started and played a consistent game.’’


Shepparton 5.3, 8.6, 12.9, 16.12 (108)

Mansfield 2.3, 3.7, 4.9, 6.11 (47)

Lauren Bordin’s best

Shepparton: Nik Rokahr, Anthony Andronaco, Matt Shannon, Nick Allan, James Wong.

Mansfield: Nick Gray, Tom German, Brant Anselmi, Jacob Howes, Jayme Rekers, Ross Brown .


Shepparton: James Wong 6, Luke Smith 3, Nick Allan 2, Matt Shannon 2, Dave Stretton, Jordan McGregor.

Mansfield:Tom German, Jacob Howes, Jayme Rekers, Luke Walsh, Ryan Bartlett, Nick Gray.

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