Sport

Up to the test

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April 06, 2018

Up and About: Moama player Ben Welch takes a high mark during his side's win over Nathalia. Ben Welch of Moama takes a mark during the MFNL seniors football match between Moama and Nathalia. Photo by Luke Hemer.

THE first round of the new-look Murray league officially kicks off tomorrow with Moama facing up to the league’s power club of the past decade.

Following a nine-point victory over crosstown rivals Echuca United in the season’s opening round, Moama now turns its attention to reigning premier Nathalia.

Nathalia, which has won the last three Murray league premierships, is coming off a 109-point demolition of Tongala sending shivers throughout the rest of the competition.

However, Magpie coach Mark Lloyd is buoyed by his team’s previous form against the Purples.

‘‘We beat them on our own turf last year,’’ Lloyd said.

‘‘It wasn’t an easy victory for them when we went to their ground last year either.

‘‘It’s one of those things you can take a lot of confidence out of when you are preparing for the match.’’

The club will also be getting confidence from their start to the 2018 season against Echuca United.

The Magpies led at every change to hold off United, with Lloyd saying his teams effort was fantastic.

‘‘We put together a pretty solid performance across the entire match, it’s what we need to do if we are going to beat good oppositions,’’ Lloyd said.

‘‘We had a tendency during our pre-season matches to be a bit scratchy and not put in a full four-quarter effort.

‘‘You can’t afford to do that in proper games. We let United back in to the game during the second term on Friday, which was a bit disappointing from our perspective.

‘‘If you let teams in for a bit they will put you to task. It shows what happens when you don’t stay focused for the whole match.

‘‘When you are on top you need to maintain that scoreboard pressure to stay on top. It’s one of the things that we will be really focusing on with Nathalia.’’

Lloyd said that the side would have to be at 100 per cent to be in the game.

‘‘Nathalia are obviously a fantastic team,’’ Lloyd said of the team that has won eight flags in the past 13 seasons.

‘‘They’ve been the best side in the comp for a while now, but we know that we can be in the game. We’ve shown it before.

‘‘It’s one of the games that you really do enjoy. They are the premier side in the competition.

‘‘We go in with an attitude that we have nothing to lose.

We had a really good win to open our season but you have to show improvement and there is no better opposition to test yourselves against.

‘‘We all want to test ourselves against the best clubs in the competition.’’

In the A grade netball, Nathalia is coming off a heavy 38-goal defeat at the hands of Tongala putting Moama in the box seat to record its second win of the year.

■ ECHUCA United must turn its form around in a hurry if it is to avoid back-to-back defeats in the opening rounds of the season.

Both football and netball sides fell to defeats in the opening round against arch rivals Moama during the first of the Three Jacks Trophy games on Good Friday.

And it won’t be an easy match to secure parity — as United travel to Cobram on Saturday.

The Tigers secured a 21-point win away at Barooga in round one and sit fourth on the MFL ladder. That is three spots ahead of the Eagles.

And the netballers came away with a three-goal win over the Hawks, leaving them in fifth — six places ahead of United.

The Eagles A grade netball side will be looking to put its first win on the board in 2018 when they play the Tigers on the weekend.

■TOMORROW’S round sees former Picola and District league clubs Shepparton East and Tungamah play each other in their first outings in the Murray league.

The third Picola league club to join the MFL — Katandra — has the bye.

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