THE EMUs had their first home game for the year at the Echuca South oval, hosting Kerang-Swan Hill Rams for round three action in the AFL Masters football competition.
The EMUs were the first to bother the scoreboard as Bruce McCahon was able to win a foot race for a kick into the fifty that went overhead to soccer it through for a major.
Jason Cartledge presented hungrily from full forward creating a good target up front.
Unselfishness from Billy Smith found Kevin Pascoe directly in front but failed to convert due to the appearance of a strong breeze.
Olivier Oranje made great positioning to take a strong mark and hit the scoreboard for the first of his two goals of the day.
The forward entries in the first came off the back of work horse Jeff Abela’s clearance work in and under the packs.
The second quarter saw the EMUs taking more advantage of the corridor able to link up between players for some forward entries through Jeff Abela, Chris Hagan and Justin Voss.
Olivier Oranje roved a scrappy forward entry to slot it through the big sticks from the boundary line.
Craig Taylor presented as a strong target in the forward line clunking a few good grabs within range but unable to convert.
The defensive line was under more pressure through the second with Garner Smith and Kevin Dunque working hard to defend the Rams attack.
The third quarter saw Bruce McCahon find some space and saunter in to slot a goal from fifteen out to keep the EMUs scoreboard ticking over.
Robert O’Connor was a driven man through the third and claimed the centre as his own finding himself working hard in some outnumbered situations.
Echuca was struggling to keep the ball in hand with a few turnovers giving the Rams opportunity to make a mark on the scoreboard.
Paul Lavars, who was in for his first game of the year, was found in the pocket and able to put it through unopposed for another EMU goal.
Across the backline Garner Smith continued to show strength while Damien Hammond seemed to be everywhere the Rams didn’t want him to be showing off his ability to intercept marks.
In the fourth quarter the Rams upped the ante giving the Echuca side issues with being able to get it across the centre but the EMUs strived and were able to lock it into their forward fifty once it was there.
A couple of controversial behinds in quick succession at both ends with both sides unable to hit a major in the last.
Chris Hagan’s running proved problematic for the Rams as he seemed to be all over the ground at any given time.
The contest was strong, fair and moving in both directions with both backlines proving to be major factors in the last quarter.
The EMUs were able to come away with a narrow one-point victory and got to sing the new song again, even if it does need a bit more rehearsal.
The Echuca Masters head to Bendigo on May 20 for round four. If you’re interested in having a run, training is every Wednesday at 6pm at the Echuca South Recreation Reserve.
GOALS: Bruce McCahon 2, Olivier Oranje 2, Paul Lavars.
BEST: Chris Hagan, Justin Voss, Craig Taylor, Olivier Oranje.