Sport

Lions regain roar power

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July 24, 2017

A week really was a long time in football for the Lions, as they turned around from one of their worst efforts in years to knock off reigning premier Nagambie.

That old cliche applied perfectly to Stanhope on Saturday evening.

A week really was a long time in football for the Lions, as they turned around from one of their worst efforts in years to knock off reigning premier Nagambie.

Stanhope went down to Murchison-Toolamba by a point after the Grasshoppers did not kick a goal in the first half.

But it was a completely different Lions team as they overpowered the Lakers 14.14 (98) to 11.7 (73) at Stanhope Recreation Reserve.

Brenton Gray’s side took a while to get going and sprayed a number of chances in the first quarter, but failed to give up.

The Lions grinded down their opponents and were able to keep their 26-point lead at three-quarter-time, with the Lakers winning the final term by only one point.

Gray said his team worked hard at training to rectify the mistakes made against the Grasshoppers.

‘‘We’re coming into a hard run of games, so it was pleasing to win that one and take some momentum into the next couple of weeks,’’ Gray said.

‘‘During the week it was more about concentrating really hard on running at the footy and our opponents and it paid off.

‘‘We can start believing we’re better than what we showed previously and that we can match it with the top two sides because we’ve beaten Violet Town and Nagambie now.

‘‘We can’t afford to rest on that because we’ve got Avenel coming up and we’ll have to concentrate hard because they’ve been having a good run.’’

Jye Patten was superb with five goals, while Ryan Emmett and Tom Hepburn popped up with three each.

Michael Coad got the job on rejuvenated Lakers forward Pat Rattray, who made a spectacular return to the senior side against Avenel with six goals.

Coad restricted Rattray to two majors, comfortably winning that battle.

Adam Auld, Colin Harvey, Tim Somerville and Simon Collis were excellent for the Lions.

Tom Durward made a solid comeback in his first game since May and will be better for the run.

The Lakers went into the game without dual McNamara medallist Mick Shiels, as well as Marty Shadbolt.

But Nagambie still had star power in the team, with Anthony Haysom and Brett Connors, who have been best-on-ground in the club’s past two premierships, playing significant roles.

Steve Barber, Danny Haysom, Ben Hutton and Mark Nolan were other Lakers to have an influence.

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