New Shepparton caretaker coach keen to chalk up a win

By Aydin Payne

Shepparton replacement coach Troy King will look to start his tenure on the right foot tomorrow when the reigning premier fronts up against Shepparton United at Deakin Reserve.

Assistant coach King will step up to steer the Bears for the rest of the season.

Sean Harrap’s shock exit means Shepparton and King will jump straight into the gladiator pit in the next instalment of the battle at the D.

It is only fitting that the Bears’ first match under King is against one of their closest rivals.

And it is a United side that enters the round 14 contest in superb form.

Stephen Scott’s men have won three straight, with the wins coming against Tatura, Benalla and the Shepparton Swans.

Although the Bears have been in the headlines for off-field reasons, Scott is expecting a big response from the reigning premier.

‘‘Obviously with the fallout that’s happened during the week you can expect a response,’’ he said.

‘‘And they’re coming off a pretty heavy loss to Kyabram before the bye.

‘‘I reckon they will look to send a message and bounce back strongly.

‘‘I’m expecting a pretty heated battle that’s for sure.’’

The last time these two sides met was in a Good Friday spectacle.

United was one point up at three-quarter time in that round three contest, but the Bears ran away to clinch a 21-point win.

Scott said his side had been hard at work in fixing the final quarter lapses.

‘‘We’ve learned a heap since then,’’ he said.

‘‘Our last quarters have been great recently.

‘‘In the wins against Tatura and Benalla, we gave ourselves a chance because we were still in the game.

‘‘They’re the little things that we have been working on.’’

In recent weeks, United’s mix of experienced players have led the charge.

Captain Matt Rendina and ruckman Shane Neaves were standouts in the one-point upset of Tatura before the bye.

‘‘Matty’s performance in the past few weeks have been really great,’’ he said.

‘‘Having spent a few years away at Shepparton East, it’s taking him a while to adjust.

‘‘And Shane Neaves is a quality leader on and off the field.

‘‘Since round 10 we have really jelled and it’s been led by those older guys.’’

On the injury front, Harry Osborn will slot into tomorrow’s side, with the youngster missing the past two games.