Premiership credentials put to test

June 01, 2018

After last week's come-from-behind win against Euroa, Shepparton coach Sean Harrap is feeling confident in his troops ahead of tomorrow's showdown with in-form Benalla.

Benalla and Shepparton will put their respective premiership credentials on the line tomorrow.

The Benalla Showgrounds showdown between the pair of in-form outfits is certainly shaping as an electrifying Goulburn Valley League fixture.

On one hand, the Saints have proven to be almost unstoppable this season, reeling off six victories from their seven matches (only losing to powerhouse Kyabram), including a 225-point procession last week against the Shepparton Swans.

Meanwhile, the Bears were galvanised by a stunning come-from-behind win against Euroa last round — a performance coach Sean Harrap believed could catapult his group to new heights from here on in.

‘‘It was a really, really good win last week,’’ Harrap said.

‘‘We had it all to do at three-quarter time, but to get ourselves off the deck and win was great.

‘‘We had a win a couple of years ago, against Euroa as well, but over there I think, where we came from behind and it just changed the course of our season.

‘‘It could have made us or broken us, so hopefully the really quality win will make us.’’

The Bears will have plenty to celebrate tomorrow with Nik Rokahr (100 games) and Rhys O’Sullivan (150) reaching milestones, but in order to sing the song around the pair at the end of the game the group will have to first deal with the red-hot Saints.

‘‘They (Benalla) have probably been the form team of the competition apart from Kyabram, so it will be a good challenge,’’ Harrap said.

‘‘We’ll have to take the game on and really execute with ball in hand.

‘‘(Getting our skills right) will play a really important part and whichever team gets it right will go a fair way towards winning the game.’’

Benalla coach Luke Morgan is confident his charges can stay grounded after racking up a rare 252 points last week.

‘‘Our feet are firmly on the ground and we’re looking forward to the next month of football, we’ve got some really good challenges coming up,’’ he said.

‘‘Obviously wins like last week don’t happen very often and the Swans are in a different spot to other teams, but they were still competitive and fought it out.’’

Morgan and his selection panel would have given themselves a headache after training last night, with a number of players vying to be involved in the senior side’s success.

‘‘Mark Marriott should come in for just his second game of seniors for the club due to his unavailability with the Murray Bushrangers and Vic Country,’’ Morgan said.

‘‘Pat Warner will play again too, he’s another Bushie, and Tom O’Brien should be back as well after missing last week.

‘‘We’ve got a couple of boys in strong form in the two’s as well, so we’ll just have to sit down and work out our best team.’’

The Saints will also look to keep the consistency of their form up as they head into the clash against the Bears.

‘‘It will be a good game, (Shepparton) are obviously a really good side and they’ve been going well,’’ Morgan said.

‘‘We’ve been playing some good footy but we’ve just got to really battle and keep our structures and consistency going.’’

Last time the two teams met it was the Bears who took home the four points by more than 11 goals and the Saints will be looking to turn that result on its head this time around.

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