Saturday the Lions took the trip to Eskdale to take on the mighty mountain men in Mitta, in a game where the Lions needed to respond from last week’s disappointing loss.
As soon as the ball was bounced the Lions knew the day was going to be a slog, on a heavy ground and playing against a well-respected side, a win wasn’t going to come easy.
The first term was exactly that as both sides traded blows without stamping any real authority on the game.
The young Lions had their chance early to put some damage on the scoreboard as they dominated play inside the forward half however only resulted in one goal for the quarter.
Down the other end of the ground the defensive six were as solid as ever and also held Mitta to only one goal for the term.
The Lions took the smallest of leads into the first break as they were well in the game.
The message at quarter time was simple, the Lions had to use the ball more efficiently inside 50. Again with most of the control in the early parts of the term the Lions failed to take their chances when in the forward half and with crucial turnovers in the middle of the ground the home side capitalized on Wahgunyah’s mistakes.
The ever reliable Angus Lingham who continues to show why he is the most improved player in the side repelled any forward attack as he stood up all day with his defensive work and attacking run and carry on display.
Dylan Cook who is in career best form was a ball magnet as the wingman threw himself into everything winning contested football in dangerous areas of the ground while also finding space to throw the visitors into attack.
As the second term rolled on Mitta quickly responded with three goals in a row to round out the half to take a 16 point lead.
Again with missed opportunities being the main focus the Lions had to be cleaner with the ball in hand, the third quarter was all Wahgunyah as the visitors went inside 50 repeatedly and showed signs of blowing the game away.
As was the sign all day the Lions kicked an inaccurate 1.6 for the quarter.
Shannon Schulz who was playing his best game for the club in a defensive role was doing his best to make sure that the home side couldn’t score as he mopped up everything deep in defence and with the addition of co-captain Rhys Carlisle back in the line-up with his fierce attack on the contest the back six stood tall all day.
Backman turned midfielder Jye Holcombe again proved that he can play in multiple positions on the ground with his ability to read the play a real factor as he continues a strong run of form.
With Wahgunyah’s inaccuracy up one end it was the opposite at the other with the home side kicking 4.2 to take a 30 point lead into the last break.
The visitors although behind on the scoreboard were playing the better football but just had to convert chances.
As the last quarter rolled on the margin closed as Wahgunyah were holding Mitta scoreless as the Lions slammed on two quick goals to be back in the contest.
Dan Carlisle who presented all day as a forward was marking everything as his strong hands were providing a real target alongside Dean Druce who ended up with three for the day.
The Lions then kicked another with three minutes remaining to get a real sniff.
Needing three goals to hit the front it was just too much of an ask as the young group dominated play all day to only waste chances in the forward half of the ground.
Mitta running out eventual 14 point winners in a tough contest.
With the interleague bye this week the boys will enjoy the weekend off and hit back against Chiltern in two weeks’ time.
Good luck to Heath Northey and Kodee Lowe who have been selected for the interleague next weekend a great achievement.
Goals: D Druce 3, J Pieri 2, W Goodwin, H Northey, K Lowe.
Best Players: A Lingham, D Cook, S Schulz, J Holcombe, R Carlisle, D Carlisle.
Awards: Fairy’s Meal - A Lingham, Fairy’s Pots - D Cook, Caltex - R Carlisle, Cellarbrations - S Schulz, Corowa Computers - D Carlisle, Auction Vote - D Cook.
An early morning drive to Mitta proved to be good for the Lions.
The first quarter saw Wahgunyah’s determination to win the contests and lead going into the second quarter.
With our backline united and the midfield showing plenty of skill, it provided multiple goals for the young lions to be in front by two goals when the siren sounded.
The second quarter was even with both sides putting their bodies on the line.
Goals were hard to come by with points bring added to the scoreboard before each side added a goal to their tallies.
The third quarter provided a great start for Mitta but Wahgunyah dug deep and answered with multiple goals scored going into the last quarter.
The last quarter Wahgunyah turned up the heat and kept Mitta goalless.
A win to the young Lions was very much needed and well deserved.
Let’s keep up the momentum boys and finish off the season in style.
Wahgunyah 12-7-79 def Mitta 5-9-39.
Awards: Club - Robbie Harrigan, Blake Eales, Corowa Dry Cleaners- Brady Bartlett, Brady Kirk, Origin Braiden Mclean, Ricky Ds - Flynn Kirk, Sportspower Nathan Lau.