Sport

Euroa becoming kings of the close ones

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July 07, 2017

Euroa coach JD Hayes is impressed with the mental toughness of his playing group.

Euroa continues to find a way to win this season.

The Magpies have only lost to top two sides Kyabram and Shepparton after playing every team once, but coach JD Hayes’ nerves have taken a beating, with his side trailing in the final term during a third of their victories.

‘‘We’ve had nine wins, but a lot have been by only two or three goals, so we’re not getting ahead of ourselves,’’ he said.

‘‘The mental toughness of the group to grind out wins is really pleasing me this year.’’

Tight finishes aside, Euroa is looming as a real challenger to Kyabram’s Goulburn Valley League throne, but Hayes knows his charges must continue to perform well each week.

‘‘We need to improve to be a shot this season because we have lost to the top two teams,’’ he said.

The task resumes tomorrow against an Echuca side still smarting from a 142-point defeat at the hands of the Bombers, with Hayes confident his troops could inflict more pain.

‘‘I’m not going to read too much into last week’s result, but I’ve got confidence in us being at home,’’ Hayes said.

‘‘We’re excited for the back end of the year.’’

Jack Tate suffered a hamstring injury against Benalla last week and will miss more than a month.

Meanwhile, Echuca coach Andrew Briggs expects much more from his charges than last week’s effort.

‘‘Last week wasn’t the way we want to play, the players are all disappointed,’’ he said.

‘‘It is going to be an improved performance this week.’’

Sam Toulmin (unavailable), Liam Wilkinson (leg) and Angus Byrne (Bendigo Pioneers) will be missing from the Murray Bombers’ line-up tomorrow, with Ben Costello and Tyler Phillips likely to be among the inclusions.

One key cog of Echuca’s side who may not return at all this year is Daniel Willis.

The swingman dislocated his elbow two weeks ago against Shepparton United and Briggs said the news was not great.

‘‘At this stage he is in an arm brace and it is more than likely the rest of the season,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s similar to straining your knee, but in the arm, so it’s pretty serious.’’

Briggs was expecting a tough clash at Memorial Oval, but had plenty of faith in his young side to get the job done.

‘‘We look at them as a team that’s very hard to beat,’’ he said.

‘‘I think it will be a grind, the weather won’t be too crash hot, but bad weather usually brings out the best in players.

‘‘I have good confidence in the guys we will pick, it will probably be the youngest side we’ve put out for a while, but they will certainly have a crack.’’

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