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Saints need to put foot down

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August 18, 2017

Star Benalla forward Jarrod Bannister (right) is a sure starter for tomorrow's clash against Mansfield.

Benalla coach Luke Morgan has declared star forward Jarrod Bannister a certain starter to take on Mansfield tomorrow.

The Saints have slipped to sixth on the ladder after consecutive disappointing defeats, compounded by losing Morgan to a broken hand last week.

Morgan had surgery on his hand in Melbourne yesterday, but will miss the rest of the season.

Benalla (10-6) will definitely play finals, but Morgan is determined for his side to enter September with more momentum.

‘‘The last few weeks haven’t been ideal and we need to turn it around or our season will be over like that,’’ Morgan said.

The Eagles (5-11) can’t make the top six, but will enter this clash with belief after getting within seven points of the Saints when the sides met at Mansfield in round six.

‘‘We’ve struggled to get a full four quarters out of the guys this year, but the big message for the last two weeks is to finish off the season well and keep putting in that effort,’’ Mansfield coach Cameron Hotton said.

‘‘The Benalla and Echuca games coming up, they were our closest games without getting the win earlier in the season, so we want to improve on those previous performances.’’

Mitch Wareham injured his shoulder in the 67-point defeat against the Magpies last week, which was his first game in two months.

Star Nick Gray is unlikely to feature again for Mansfield this season because he is tied up with Collingwood’s VFL team. Jayme Rekers is unavailable, while Guy Murray and Matt Martin come up from the reserves.

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