Sport

Bannister ready to step back into action

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July 21, 2017

Shepparton Swans and Benalla Saints go head-to-head on Saturday, with the Saints welcoming back star full-forward Jarrod Bannister from injury.

With five rounds to go Benalla and the Shepparton Swans are at two different ends of the spectrum.

The Swans are searching for their second win of the season, while the Saints, who welcome back star full-forward Jarrod Bannister tomorrow, are looking to secure a top three position.

Benalla playing coach Luke Morgan said Bannister, who has kicked 34 goals in six games, would return after breaking his right wrist against Rochester in round five.

‘‘He is back and will play and we are excited to have him running around again, he is a class footballer,’’ Morgan said.

‘‘He is jumping out of his skin and if he gets through training, he will be out there (tomorrow).’’

The Swans travel to Benalla fresh off four straight defeats, but coach Paul Griffiths is not fazed.

‘‘That is footy, you are going to win some and lose some and at the moment with the young side we have, we are losing more than we are winning,’’ Griffiths said.

‘‘They put us to the sword earlier in the year, but (tomorrow) we will focus on things we can control like intensity, effort and cracking into the contest.’’

The Swans put in a resilient effort against Euroa last week, despite losing by 28 points.

‘‘We need to continue to get better at what we are trying to do, we are beginning to lay some foundations down at the Swans,’’ Griffiths said.

The fourth-placed Saints have won two games on the trot following successive losses to Kyabram and Euroa.

‘‘The last fortnight has been pretty pleasing, we got the job done against Mooroopna and then I thought we were brilliant after quarter-time (against Echuca) last week,’’ Morgan said.

‘‘We are moving in the right direction, so the next few weeks are critical for us.’’

Without Bannister featuring since round six, the Saints have had to find other avenues to goals and in doing so, they have a sense of unpredictability going forward.

Nick Warnock (34 goals), Bannister (34), Jordan Wolff (21), James Martyn (13), Lachlan Thompson (11) and Brody Webster (11) have all kicked more than 10 goals for the Saints.

‘‘Our forward line is functioning quite well to be honest, we are finding different avenues, which was not really happening at the beginning of the year,’’ Morgan said.

The Saints could jump into third position if results fall in their favour, but Morgan is not taking the Swans lightly.

‘‘It is going to be tough, we are excited about the challenge and we know the Swans will be up and about,’’ Morgan said.

‘‘They are coming off the back of a decent result, so we need to prepare well.’’

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