Sport

Battle royale to avoid spoon

by
August 11, 2017

Mooroopna will need to find another strong marking presence with power forward Romain Grenville ruled out for the remainder of the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament.

Mooroopna and Shepparton Swans play off in the Goulburn Valley League’s equivalent of the ‘‘Kreuzer Cup’’ tomorrow, although no number one draft pick is on offer.

But the chance to not claim the wooden spoon is motivation enough for the two bottom sides who have each won two games, with the Swans in last place.

The Cats’ chances of winning have faced a setback with Tasmanian recruit Romain Grenville ruled out for the year.

Mooroopna coach Dale Osborne said the power forward ruptured his anterior and medial cruciate ligaments after taking a shot on goal against Seymour last round.

Grenville’s season has been interrupted by injury, missing the round five match-up against the Swans after hurting his ankle in round one.

But Osborne said the side’s leading goal-kicker would continue to help on the sidelines as he implored the rest of the side to account for the forced change.

‘‘I’m expecting everyone to step up, the forwards are going to have to step up 100 per cent as well as the midfield,’’ he said.

Rising star Ajak Dang also exits the side as he competes for Victoria Country in an under-17 Futures match, but Bendigo Pioneers defender Keelin Betson makes his way back into the Cats’ line-up during the TAC Cup bye.

Osborne will debut under-18 talent Rory Huggard to try and provide some spark in the forward line.

Although Osborne believed there was room to finish the season with three wins, he did not want the side to lose focus.

‘‘We’re looking forward to getting back into it after having a week off, we’re excited about the weekend,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s a bit riding on the result, but I wouldn’t put any pressure on that, what will be will be, but we’ll just have a crack.’’

Swans coach Paul Griffiths is taking the same approach, leaving the hierarchy to focus on the intricacies of the match.

‘‘We feel like this is a game we let slip the last time we played for various reasons, so I think both teams are champing at the bit for a win,’’ he said.

‘‘We just need to make sure we focus on what we need to focus on, there’s a few tactical things that the coaches will focus on, but by and large if we get our processes right, the score will take care of itself.’’

While the Swans lost in round five to allow Mooroopna to enjoy its first win in 630 days, much has changed since then.

The Princess Park crew has continuously improved and gathered wins against Tatura and Echuca, although former Murray Bushranger Billy Cooper will not play for the rest of the season.

‘‘We’ve come along way, I’ve said before that this team plays above its talent and plays for each other,’’ Griffiths said.

‘‘They’re a lot more of a tight unit, they sacrifice for each other and our gameplan is ingrained in them, so they know it really well.’’

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