Best Battles | Looking back

By Benalla Ensign

Welcome to McPherson Media Group’s new series, Best Battles – taking the commonly uttered pre-game phrase “we owe these boys one” to a whole new level.
Although football is – like almost all other sports – on a long hiatus, the MMG sports team has decided there is no reason we cannot still report on the matches which were scheduled to happen, but with a twist of course.
Best Battles takes you to the most important duel, result or individual performance between the teams in recent memory.
We know our memory is not as good as yours though, so make sure you let us know where you think we have missed the mark – or hit the nail on the head – and we will publish your thoughts.

Echuca v Benalla
Round 13, 2017 at Victoria Park
Echuca 9.12 (66) lt Benalla 11.13 (79)
This game isn’t anything to avoid as a fan – no huge winning margins, no season ending injuries, just a good game of football.
Though in the end, this match was essential for Benalla, and a what could have been for Echuca.
The Murray Bombers were fast out of the blocks in the opening quarter of the contest, heaping on five goals to Benalla’s two.
The Saints immediately hit back in the second quarter, kicking five of their own, while the men in green could manage just four behinds.
Both sides spent the remainder of the game going goal for goal, with Benalla ending up claiming the win by 13-points.
Brody Webster nailed five majors for Benalla, with Jordan Wolff coming off at half time with three to his name, while Simon Buckley would add another best on ground performance to what ended up being a Morrison Medal season.
Benalla coach Luke Morgan hailed the contest as a “brilliant win.”
‘‘We were three goals down and had played poorly, we couldn’t get our hands on the ball and Echuca was playing some good footy,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘The win was made even more impressive to do it without Jordan playing after half-time, it was a real gutsy win up there.’’
Echuca coach Andrew Briggs said the scoreboard ended up flattering his team.
‘‘We were lucky to be that close in the end,’’ he said.
‘‘We started well and got some scores on the board which was exactly what we wanted.
‘‘But they kicked 5.7 in the second quarter and had more than 30 inside 50s to half-time. They were always getting opportunities it was just whether or not they took them.’’
The match would end up having a major impact on the finals, with Benalla finishing in sixth place with 10 wins, while Echuca would fall two games short and end up in seventh place.