Chance for redemption

September 18, 2017

Clean hands: Violet Town's Ash Hobbs takes a great mark in front of Avenel's Lachlan McKenzie.

Nailed it: Violet Town's Chris McKay was up and about after kicking this goal.

Gotcha: Avenel defender Ryan Lambert looks to bring down his Violet Town opponent.

Violet Town showed early that its second semi-final performance was a complete aberration.

The Towners smashed Avenel from the first bounce on Saturday, charging their way into a first Kyabram District Football League grand final since 2012.

Violet Town did as it pleased in the preliminary final at Tallygaroopna, with the Swans off the boil as they struggled to convert opportunities at goal when they did come.

The final margin of 51 points flattered Avenel, with the vanquished team putting through the last three goals of the game when the result had been beyond doubt for a long time.

Violet Town will take on Nagambie in Saturday’s grand final at Mooroopna, as it looks to respond from a 16-point defeat against the Lakers less than a fortnight ago.

The Towners had to book their spot in the decider without coach Sean Horsburgh and star ruckman John Woodcock.

Horsburgh was again troubled by the same calf injury that had him miss games near the end of the home-and-away season.

He is in doubt to take on the Lakers and also has to weigh up whether to make a change to a winning team.

Woodcock is a near certainty to come back in.

‘‘I’m fairly confident to say John will play,’’ Horsburgh said.

‘‘It would’ve been a bit of a gamble for him to play in this one, it was obviously a gamble for him to not play here considering it was a sudden-death game, but it’s paid off.’’

While Woodcock is one of the league’s dominant ruckman, Jake Cowman stepped up in his absence against classy Swans veteran Paul Arandt.

Cowman rucked for most of game, with Rob Staff giving him a chop out at times.

Violet Town wanted the win more, with a gruelling first two weeks of finals taking its toll on Avenel.

Sam Poole stepped up to the level he is known for after a down game against Nagambie.

The Shepparton United premiership player did it all, kicking goals and winning plenty of his own ball in the midfield.

Lochie Morrison and Pat Horsburgh fired as well, with Avenel’s excellent midfield well beaten.

Horsburgh said he knew his side would lift to avoid a straight sets exit after finishing the home-and-away season on top of the ladder.

‘‘I’ve been quietly confident all week because seeing the boys in the rooms after the game, they were all filthy with their own performances against Nagambie,’’ Horsburgh said.

‘‘As a side altogether, the way the boys bounced back has shown maturity and can’t be faulted.’’

Avenel battled hard to work its way back this season after a tumultuous start when it lost the first four games.

The Swans won 12 of 14 games to make it through to the preliminary final, but like their namesakes in Sydney on Friday night at the MCG, playing catch-up proved too difficult.

Avenel struggled for too many winners, but Scott Tyers, Nathan Thomas, Mitch Thomas and Michael Morgan never gave in.

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