Evenly matched

By Meg Saultry

Nothing, including the scores, separated one and two when second-placed Seymour faced competition leader Shepp United at Deakin Reserve on Saturday.

In a fierce battle in which neither team gave an inch, the final score stood at 40-all.

While Shepp United pulled ahead a number of times throughout the match, the Lions always responded and made sure they were never out of the match.

With scores level at three-quarter-time, Shepp United looked to snap up the win when it scored a goal in the final minute of the game, but it was a penalty to Seymour shooter Jessica Lallo with seconds remaining that allowed the Lions to sink one last goal to level the game.

‘‘Obviously it was really tight the whole time,’’ A-grade coach Elle McDonald said.

‘‘We were lucky that we could take that [penalty] opportunity, but it also would have been nice to take the win.’’

A victory would have seen Seymour snare first place on the ladder, with the draw allowing Shepp United to stay a step ahead of the Lions in first place at the end of the round.

Seymour holds onto second place, ahead of Shepp Swans and Echuca only through a winning percentage.

It was also the Lions’ second draw for the season after they tied with Kyabram in round 7.

Throughout the high quality match, Seymour’s Ellie O’Sullivan (16 goals) again joined Lallo (24) in dominating in the ring, Laura Carland had a huge workload around the top of the ring, while Meg Grbac and Sarah Szczykulski worked in tandem in defence to get the rare rebound.

Now officially midway through the season, McDonald said she was happy with how the team was jelling.

‘‘We’re really starting to form those connections, especially in attack and in a somewhat new-look team,’’ she said.

‘‘And we’ve got a lot of depth in our team regardless of who comes on.

‘‘But there are areas of improvement that are highlighted when you go against those top teams.’’

With the back half of the season now ahead of it, Seymour’s round 10 target will be bottom-of-the-ladder Tatura this Saturday.

While Seymour will go into the match the heavy favourite, the Lions won’t look to be complacent.

‘‘No matter who you come against in the GV league, it’ll be a competitive and physical game,’’ McDonald said.

‘‘We’ll take each quarter as it comes, and work towards the goals that we set ourselves regardless of the scoreline.’’

●In earlier results, Seymour’s B-grade squad lost its match by 15 goals, with Shepp United taking advantage of a number of turnovers to make the Lions pay after a tight first half.

●B-reserve lost its match against Shepp United 25-53, with the second quarter the Lions’ best of the match.

●Seymour’s Under-17s’ slow start cost them in the end, with the Lions falling four goals short against Shepp United. Ruby Martin (24 goals) and Abbey Cook (12) combined well in attack while Bridie Cantwell also impressed.

●Shepp United defeated Seymour 61-28 in the Under 15s, though Mia Allen (24 goals) shot with accuracy and precision for the Lions while Sophie Conroy was strong in wing defence.