Sunbury Lions have toughed out a hard match against Melton to continue their stellar record of making Ballarat Football League finals.
In a match of high value for both sides – the Lions eager to claim a finals berth, Melton eager to help keep its finals hopes alive – no quarter was given in the first half.
Lions coach Ben Jordan said it wasn’t the prettiest game of football in windy conditions. He said it was the third quarter that proved the difference in the 8.7 (55)-4.7 (31) result.
“There was a fair bit to play for, for both teams,” Jordan said.
“I think both sides play a contested game and I didn’t think it was going to be a high-scoring match.
“It was a scrappy, tight contest. There wasn’t fantastic ball movement, but in the third quarter we were more efficient going forward and the intensity lifted.
“It gave us a buffer going into the last quarter. With the wind in the last quarter, we were able to control the footy and grind out the win.”
Alik Magin was the only multiple goalscorer on the ground kicking two goals in the Lions’ win. Ruckman David Kovacevic was named best on ground.
The Lions’ win came with a quarter of their best side missing.
Jordan said those coming up from the under-19s and reserves were holding their own.
Jacob Bygate and Bradley Mundy made their senior debuts against the Bloods.
The win seals a finals berth for the Lions, maintaining their impressive record of having played finals every one of the 21 years they’ve been in the Ballarat Football League.
They are currently sitting in fifth position on the ladder.
“It’s an impressive record and shows success is expected,” Jordan said.
“Over the years, we may not have been right up there, but we’ve still managed to make finals.
“It speaks volumes of those who have come before me.”
The Lions face Darley this weekend, then have a bye before playing bottom-side Sebastopol in the final round.
Jordan said that they were looking for good performances in the remaining rounds to take momentum into finals.
The club has also had an eye on things going forward off the field, with Jordan re-appointed for next season.
Jordan said the club was keen to avoid a repeat of last season, when he was appointed late.
“The committee were happy to offer me the role and I was happy to do it again,” he said.
“I feel we’re going in the right direction. Hopefully, we’ll sign most of the playing group as well.”
In A-grade netball, the Lions easily accounted for the Bloods 57-23.
In a battle between top and bottom, the Lions jumped out of the blocks to lead 20-6 at quarter-time. That trend continued for the rest of the game.
Chloe Curran shot 40 goals for the Lions, with Ashleigh Hardy named best on court.