The Sunbury Lions road drought has ended, after defeating Lake Wendouree in the Ballarat Football League on Saturday.
It had been more than 12 months since the Lions had won away from Clarke Oval and nearly two years since they had won in Ballarat, but that all changed on Saturday afternoon.
It took the Lions a little while to get going against the Lakers, but once they did they ran away for a 16.16 (112)-10.16 (76) win after trailing by 15 points at half-time.
Lions coach Travis Hodgson said the win was a relief.
“It was 721 days since we had won in Ballarat,” he said. “Even though Lake Wendouree has struggled the last couple of weeks, they were pretty competitive.
“They were playing for their season. They were still hard at it and gave it a crack.”
Not for the first time this year, the Lions found another gear in the second half.
Even in some of their losses, they have cranked it up in the second half.
On this occasion, they kicked 11 goals to three in the last two quarters.
Hodgson said their midfield started working a lot harder in the second half.
“I didn’t think they worked hard enough in the second quarter,” he said. “They let us down a little bit in the second quarter when we were beaten exiting the clearances.
“To the boys credit they dug deep.
“It took us to half way through the third quarter to get the ascendancy.”
Despite a below par second quarter, the midfield trio of Lachie Bramble, Mitch Conn and Alik Magin were named in the best.
Ruckman Jayden Eales had a good game, as did first-gamer Harry Power and late inclusion Luke Goater.
Both Goater and Power added something to the forward line that was missing Jack Sheahan and Jack Landt.
Dylan Landt kicked four goals for the Lions, while skipper Andrew Duhau kicked three goals for a second straight week.
Hodgson said they had changed Duhau’s role.
“The first five rounds he was in the midfield rotation,” Hodgson said. “We changed his role and made him a permanent forward.
“He provides some leadership down there.”
Mick Edwards, who has started to find some form, was reported. Dylan Featon failed to play out the match due to injury.
The win moves the Sunbury Lions to 4-3 and for the first time ahead of the ledger.
It doesn’t get any easier with another trip to Ballarat to face East Point.
“It’ll be a good test how far we’ve come,” Hodgson said.
“They’re the benchmark.”
Meanwhile, three Sunbury Lions players have been selected in the AFL Victoria Country senior representative squad.
Jack Landt, Conn and Bramble have been named in the squad. The final team will play against a Victorian Amateur Football Association team on July 13.