It may not have been their prettiest win, but it was a win nonetheless, with Avenel sneaking past Murchison-Toolamba by five points in the Kyabram District League on Saturday.
Nabbing their fifth win of the season at Murchison Recreation Reserve, Avenel started strongly to post a 22-point lead at quarter time, before failing to score a goal throughout the second term, with Murchison pegging the margin back to nine points by the main break.
Avenel returned stronger in the third term, pushing the lead back out to 23 points, but a second lapse of concentration meant they conceded five goals to two in the final quarter.
While the result always looked likely to go the way of the Swans — with the Grasshoppers kicking their final goal after the siren to bring the Swans’ winning margin down to five points — Avenel senior coach Kasey Duncan said it was a lack of effort from his players that meant the result ended up being too close for comfort.
‘‘We stopped running and Murchison got up and running,’’ Duncan said.
‘‘It was a bit disappointing on the day but we’ll take the four points.’’
Although Avenel were able to hold the lead across the four quarters, the Swans’ ball use moving forward also seemingly caused a few problems for the away side.
‘‘We tended to rush ourselves going forward and that played into Murchison’s hand,’’ Duncan said.
‘‘We need to focus on lowering our eyes, controlling the footy and scoring the best goal, not the quickest.’’
Despite his tough love, Duncan said there were a number of players that stood up on the day in the absence of several senior players.
‘‘Jacob Nipperess was serviceable on the wing, and Jake Sutherland came up for his first seniors game in the ruck,’’ Duncan said.
‘‘Harry McLean was a big focal point down forward.
‘‘And Dean Giles was superb down back.’’
With bottom-of-the-ladder Longwood next in Avenel’s sights, Duncan said his side would need to work on bridging their concentration lapses in the coming rounds.
‘‘We just need to stay engaged in our style of footy — we can tend to go away for 10 minutes at a time,’’ he said.
‘‘We need to play our Swans’ brand of footy.’’
With several key players missing in action against Murchison, including Kyle Maynard, Michael Morgan and Angus Durnan, Avenel should have a greater selection of players for its match against the Redlegs.
‘‘We’ll get a few back this week, and should get our full list back within the month,’’ Duncan said.
‘‘And hopefully we’ll keep going on our winning ways.’’
Final score: Murchison-Toolamba 10.7 (67) def by Avenel 10.12 (72)
Goal kickers: H. McLean 4, J. Myers 2, K. Duncan 2, G. Davies, B. Avola
Best players: J. Nipperess, J. Sutherland, K. Duncan, H. McLean, G. Davies, D. Giles