Sport

ECHUCA LEFT IN WAKE OF SPEEDY EUROA

by
April 17, 2017

Echuca did not get the start it was looking for in 2017, going down to Euroa at home.

Ruory Kirkby, above, was out-jumped by his opponent and left.

ROUND one was an early wake-up call for the Echuca Football Club.

And showed there’s still plenty of work to be done if it wants to compete with the big boys for this year’s Goulburn Valley title.

Echuca jumped opponent Euroa for a 21-20 quarter-time lead, but never led again falling to a disappointing 55-104 defeat.

Coach Andrew Briggs said the club was very dissatisfied with how the season had kicked off, but would be looking to improve as early as next week.

‘‘The guys were very disappointed when we met (on Sunday morning) and that’s how we feel as an entire club,’’ he said.

‘‘We know what we need to change and it’s about taking responsibility as a coaching group and a playing group and turning things around.’’

After a slow start, the Euroa midfield took control of the game for the visitors, winning much of the contested ball to put the Murray Bombers on the back foot.

Outside of the first twenty minutes, the majority of the game was played in the Euroa forward half, with poor execution in front of goal the only thing keeping Echuca within touching distance.

The Magpies kicked 7.10 to half time, a 23-point margin not nearly reflecting how they had dominated the game with their brilliant run and carry.

While he called Euroa one of the best running teams he’d seen over the past few seasons, Briggs said Echuca’s inability to slow them down was as much down to their own decision making as anything.

‘‘Our decision making without the ball and our starting position around stoppages let us down,’’ he said.

‘‘We need to play senior football not kick-chasing underage football.’’

More energy was on show from the Murray Bombers after half time but their usage with the ball slowed any form of a comeback.

The tackling pressure from Euroa was high and they created plenty more chances to build a lead.

After squandering more opportunities in front of goal, the dam wall broke late in the third-quarter with Euroa extending to a 45-point lead.

Echuca kicked the first goal of the last quarter but never looked a chance of overhauling their opponent, Euroa running out 14.20-104 to 8.7-55 winners.

With most of the game played in their defensive half, Briggs said that would need to change going forward.

‘‘Our starting position around stoppages was poor and the Euroa tackling pressure was really good.

‘‘Their run meant we couldn’t attack and transition how we wanted to. We’ll address that with changes to our midfield personnel, not by dropping players but by changing the roles of our players.’’

JD Hayes broke the game open for Euroa with his ability to find the football and break clear of packs, while three brilliant goals for Andrew Bell gave the Magpies the results on the scoreboard their play warranted.

Cameron Valentine fought hard for Echuca, while Ruory Kirkby kicked three goals in his return to the club.

Gun forward and Echuca captain Jordan Florance hurt his ankle in the third-term in a ruck contest, but hobbled through the pain to run out as much of the match as he could.

Briggs said he rolled his ankle and was touch and go for round two.

The task is hardly easier for Echuca next week with a trip to Benalla, which was victorious 122-60 against Mooroopna.

Briggs said the losing start to the season did not shake his confidence in his squad.

‘‘We’re not worried, we’re confident we can turn it around,’’ he said.

‘‘We head to Benalla with good memories of beating them last season. It’s a tough task but we’ll make changes to our mindset and the way we play.’’

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