A six-goal-to-one second half effort from Avenel’s reserves has seen the red and white book a ticket in next weekend’s Kyabram District League reserves grand final after overcoming rivals Nagambie by 52 points in its preliminary final on Saturday.
After a less than impressive showing in its semi final encounter with Tallygaroopna, minor premiers Avenel had a lot to lose against a revitalised Nagambie squad, who have taken down all in their path so far after a sixth-place finish.
Against the Redlegs, it was effort that let the Swans down.
But among the team that showed up at Dookie Recreation Reserve, there was no doubt the Swans had restocked in that department as they flew to a three-goal lead by half time, before putting the foot on the gas in the second half to run to a 52-point victory.
“The effort was there today,” Avenel reserves coach Joey Pollock said post-match.
“We executed it for four quarters, and this is what we are capable of when we do that.”
With a grand final appearance firmly in their sights, the Swans were strong starters against the Lakers and used the most of an easterly breeze to blast home five goals to one in the opening term.
There had been a slight hiccup in the team's preparations, with Nathan Wood and Kyle Hopkins late inclusions for Nick Goodwin and Jac Smith-Williams, though it barely caused a ripple among the group on the field.
“With the two boys today, it was a difficult situation they were put in, but to their credit, the way they went about it was first class,” Pollock said.
“They both fired for us. Woodsy kicked a goal for us early, and Hoppo kicked a couple.
“I’m wrapped for them. It’s a good result.”
But it was perhaps Cam Berry’s inclusion which was most influential for the Swans, with Berry giving his teammates a much-needed target down forward.
“Cam, he’s a bare mountain, he was really good,” Pollock said.
And among the best was ruckman Scott Richardson, as well as a number of Avenel's back six.
“Richo was pretty quiet last week, but I challenged him before the game and he responded," Pollock said.
“He was our best player all day, it was a massive effort in the ruck all day."
“(Lachlan Drummond) was everywhere, he tried his guts out. And Clint (Donohue) off half back was again impressive."
For Nagambie, its season is over in reserves, and while the team faded late in the game, there were impressive individual performances from Shaun Silver and youngsters Trent Gladwin and Mitchell Lusted.
With the grand final schedule now locked in, Avenel will take an unchanged line-up into its final match - Tallygaroopna - next Saturday, which is set to be played at Mooroopna Recreation Reserve.
And if they can play the way they did against Nagambie, Pollock is confident his side can take home the flag.
“I probably sound a bit like a broken record, but our game plan is based around effort," Pollock said.
“It's something your opposition can't take off you and it's something you can control yourself.
“We just need to give it.”
Final score: Avenel 12.8 (80) def Nagambie 4.4 (28)
Avenel goals: J. Sutherland 3, K. Hopkins 2, C. Berry 2, W. Dundon, N. Woods, L. Drummond, C. Thomson, T. Heaysman
Nagambie goals: T. Gladwin 2, J. Shepherd, M. Lusted
Avenel's best: S. Richardson, L. Drummond, C. Donohue, K. Hopkins, C. Thomson, J. Carrafa
Nagambie's best: S. Silver, S. Riddle, F. Butler, L. Hayman, J. Shepherd, J. Lloyd
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