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Stirling effort inspires Avenel comeback

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July 31, 2017

Avenel supporters can start making plans for another finals campaign.

Avenel supporters can start making plans for another finals campaign.

The Swans pulled off an outstanding 15-point win against Kyabram District Football League rival Stanhope on Saturday.

In tricky conditions, Don Stirling’s men finished strongly, overhauling a three-point deficit at the final break with four goals to one in the final quarter.

The victory keeps Avenel in fifth on the ladder, but within a game of Stanhope in fourth.

It is a remarkable turnaround for last year’s grand finalist, who lost the first four games of the season, including being thumped against the Lions to the tune of 79 points at Stanhope in round three.

This time around, it was a topsy-turvy encounter, with Avenel holding firm in the first quarter before pulling away to a 23-point buffer at half-time.

Brenton Gray’s Lions responded in the third quarter, edging in front and keeping the Swans scoreless.

But it was always going to be a tough ask for the visitors to hold out Avenel, who got the job done in the last quarter.

Stirling led his side in outstanding fashion with a best-on-ground performance, while John Green, Scott Tyers, Michael McKenzie, Mitch Thomas and Paul Arandt played key roles for the Swans.

Avenel faces a tricky run to finals, with games against Violet Town and Tallygaroopna to come following a clash with Merrigum this Saturday.

Nathan O’Reilly, Craig Emmett, Alex O’Reilly, Jye Patten, Ryan Emmett and Simon Collis were Stanhope’s best.

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