Gray left Hopping mad

July 17, 2017

Never gave in: Murchison-Toolamba veteran Jon Cooper was instrumental in his side coming back from 35 points behind at half-time to upset premiership contender Stanhope on Saturday.

Murchison-Toolamba was no chance to defeat Stanhope at half-time.

If there were betting odds available, the markets would have been closed.

But the Grasshoppers pulled off one of the more remarkable wins in recent Kyabram District Football League history to pinch a thrilling one-point win.

James Milne’s side was 35 points down at the main break and had not even registered a goal.

The Grasshoppers were not playing bad, they just needed to believe they could beat a team that had thumped them by 71 points in round one.

‘‘We came in at half-time and I said to the boys, ‘why do we have our heads down?’,’’ Milne said.

‘‘We had plenty of the ball, we just hadn’t capitalised and we just needed to believe we could do it.

‘‘In the second half we came out and kicked the first couple of goals and that got everyone up and about.’’

Murchison-Toolamba still had a power of work to do in the last quarter when the Lions had a 22-point advantage.

But the Grasshoppers kept working until drawing level late in the contest.

Nathan Carroll was the match-winner with a shot from outside 50 that went through for a behind, with Murchison-Toolamba hitting the front for the first time.

‘‘It was a great day for the club and for the boys’ confidence, I still can’t really believe it happened,’’ Milne said.

On a day where best players were hard to choose, Jake Ewart, Jon Cooper, Jack Sanderson (three goals), Luke Armstrong, Luke Cecchin and Josh Lawrence were excellent.

Stanhope coach Brenton Gray was left fuming with his side’s performance and conceded there could be changes ahead of this Saturday’s blockbuster with Nagambie.

‘‘We were terrible for the whole day and it was one of the ugliest games I’ve seen,’’ Gray said.

‘‘Even though we were a few goals up at half-time, it was very ugly and we weren’t playing good footy.

‘‘Credit to Murch, they could’ve dropped away, but they kept coming at us and well done to Milney and the guys.’’

A rare highlight for Stanhope was youngster Jacob Liversidge making an assured debut.

Liversidge kicked two goals with his first two kicks, earning the praise of his coach.

Simon Collis and Alex O’Reilly worked hard, while Nathan O’Reilly, Sam Woodward and Colin Harvey put in good performances.

Craig Emmett suffered an injury late in the second term and did not take any part after half-time.

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