Sport

Saints can’t Bear sight of them

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July 28, 2017

Shepparton coach Tracey Brereton is thrilled with how consistent her under-17 graduates, included Grace Egan, are fairing.

Shepparton is a problem side for Benalla.

The Bears defeated the Saints in round four, having knocked them out of the finals last season, despite being without injured goal shooter Steph Gorrie.

Benalla has not beaten Shepparton since 2015 and coach Dylan Nexhip said the side was looking to make amends for that at Deakin Reserve tomorrow.

‘‘I think it’s been like that for a while, the girls can remember a few occasions where we’ve been in front and then the Bears have ended up beating them, so they’re definitely a bogy side,’’ he said.

Nexhip said his side learned a lot from the 11-goal loss in round four, particularly in the goal circle.

‘‘Rotation can be the key in that circle, that’s where the Bears can get on top of you because they are so rough in there,’’ he said.

‘‘With Kelsey Rigg in there too, we’ll have the four moving goalers and holding goalers to keep them guessing.’’

The Saints can just not pull together enough consistency to stamp their claim as a real danger side.

The question remains about when they are going to hit their peak, having conceded an important four points to Shepparton Swans in the final seconds of their match last week.

‘‘Our season’s like a rollercoaster — it’s been so up and down and we’re waiting for that part where we stay up, we don’t have too much longer, so fingers crossed,’’ Nexhip said.

‘‘We thought we’d had a few turning points last week, but it didn’t go the way we wanted, but you never know, we want to go into the bye with momentum.’’

Bears coach Tracey Brereton echoed the fact the Saints could be dangerous when at the top of their game.

‘‘They’re the sort of team that if they get it together on the day, they’ll beat anyone,’’ she said.

Having pulled away in the second half of their first encounter this season, Brereton hoped there would be a sizeable lead early.

‘‘I’d rather be 18-5 up in the first quarter and try and put the nails in the coffin by making sure our intent and endeavour is there from the start,’’ she said.

Starting the season with a team made up of predominately young players, Brereton was thrilled with their development.

Grace Egan is a regular in centre, while Ella Sidebottom continually makes improvement in goals and Maddie Moore has also had increased court time.

‘‘I’m impressed more with their consistency, I’ve seen young kids come up to A-grade and you get one good game in four, but this lot that we’ve got coming through have shown consistency more often than not,’’ Brereton said.

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