Avenel v Shepparton East
Round 12, 2019, at Central Park Recreation Reserve
Shepparton East 4.12 (36) lt Avenel 10.18 (78)
Avenel and Shepparton East have gone to battle only once - with the Eagles joining the league last season - but last year’s contest managed to enthral as a literal pressure test for both teams.
The Eagles came into the match looking to make a big statement against a top-four side, and after starting the game shakily, Avenel looked far from its best.
Three unanswered goals from the Swans in the second term gave the visitors more confidence as the match slipped away from Shepparton East’s grasp.
And with tensions boiling over between the two sides, along with a number of big hits fuelling the fire, it erupted into a full-blown melee in the third quarter.
With play halted, Avenel’s Harry Mclean, along with Sam Maitland and Adrian Moor of Shepparton East, were eventually sent off with yellow cards.
The game tempered out after that, with Avenel running away with the victory as coach Kasey Duncan kicked six by the final siren.
Nagambie v Tallygaroopna
Semi-final, 2019, at Nagambie Recreation Reserve
Nagambie 21.11 (137) d Tallygaroopna 5.8 (38)
Nagambie and Tallygaroopna have been the two powerhouse teams for the past two seasons, with a number of high-quality matches to choose from.
But it was last year’s semi-final encounter that proved the most telling.
Tallygaroopna was the team to beat for most of the season, with a winning streak stretching back to late 2017.
Nagambie beat the side in the penultimate home-and-away match a fortnight before the semis, with the Redlegs missing key players, but the resulting clash showed it was no fluke.
Nagambie absolutely dominated the play-off game, with coach Anthony Haysom (five goals) helping his side run away with the 99-point win. It was a stark reality for a team as good as Tallygaroopna.
Not even a Kevin O'Donoghue pep talk heading into the final quarter stirred the visitors from their slumber.
It set up another interesting clash a fortnight later, with Nagambie and Tallygaroopna meeting in the big dance, where the Redlegs failed to withstand the Lakers’ dominance once again.