“Relief” for Cats

April 28, 2024 8:12 pm in by
Lara co-coach Shayne Stone (Marcel Berens/Sports Media)

Lara has snapped a 17-game losing streak against Grovedale in impressive fashion, opening its 2024 account with a 34-point win in the annual Spirit of the Anzac clash at Bisinella Oval.

For the first time since Round 10, 2012, the Cats walked off the ground following a meeting with the Tigers with four points, claiming a 12.14 (86) victory.

Co-coach Shayne Stone labelled the victory a “relief” after pushing reigning grand finalist South Barwon to 17 points last week.

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“We were disappointing and disappointed after the first round against North Shore,” he told

“Then the effort last week to go down the way that we did, we fought really hard and bounced back.

“Then, the week leading in, you just never know where this group is at at times.

“They set the tone pretty early; our pressure was up, and our connection forward has probably improved in the last couple of weeks compared to the first week, where we didn’t have Mitch (Day).

“He’s just straightened us up a little bit.”

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Day kicked five goals, including three in the second quarter, as Lara extended its seven-point quarter-time lead to 23 points at the main break.

He was the beneficiary of some solid transition from across half-back where best-on-ground medal winner Dan Weigl and young gun Tom Gunther cut off numerous forward forays by Grovedale.

Ben O’Brien was outstanding in keeping Tigers spearhead Tom Gillett to one goal, which came during the closing stages of the contest.

“We’ve tried to change our ball movement up a little bit and just focus a little bit – the last two weeks probably more so – just on valuing defence in this comp,” Stone said.

“It’s probably been a bit of an Achilles heel from us being able to be scored against too easy.

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“Whereas, I think the last couple of weeks, we’ve made it a little bit harder for sides to do that.”

Tigers coach Jacob Spolding labelled his team “off the mark”.

“We didn’t play anywhere near the brand of footy we would like to have,” he said.

“I think the preparation during the week was pretty good. The boys had a game plan in place to try and use the ground … and get it into our forwards.

“But, we certainly didn’t do any of that in the first half.

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“I thought our third quarter was really good, but we just couldn’t score.

“We’ve got to go back, and we’ve got some work to do to try and improve.”

Grovedale’s loss was further soured by the suspected rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament suffered by Geelong Falcons-listed big man Cooper Leach.

“He’s gone for a scan,” Spolding said. “The first initial diagnosis looks to be the mechanism of an ACL.

“We hope it’s not. But, it’s shaping that way, I think, that the poor kid, he’s gone over.

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“He went to change direction and his knee’s buckled on him.”

Ryan Abbott battled hard in the ruck against Lara’s Ryan Bell and up forward, where he kicked two goals.

Will Jeffery and Will Ford never stopped trying.

In Round 4, Lara faces reigning premier Leopold after a six-day break, while Grovedale hosts unbeaten St Mary’s.


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Leopold captain Marcus Thompson has been cleared of serious injury after being sent to hospital for precautionary scans following an incident during a melee at half-time of the Lions’ 21-point win over Colact at Memorial Park.

Footage of the incident shows players engaged in the melee for around a minute before players made their way to the rooms with the home team seven points in front.

Thompson told K rock Football that he expects to play against Lara next week.

Leopold finished the contest the better, kicking nine goals to six after the main break to record a 13.13 (91) to 9.16 (70) victory.

Key defender Trent Thompson was the Lions’ best, along with Brock Williamson and James Edmonds (three goals).

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Adam Garner and Darcy Lang each kicked four for the Tigers, who were again best-served by ruck Zach Zdybel.

Flynn Young’s nine-goal haul was the highlight as Newtown & Chilwell showed no mercy to an injury-depleted St Albans, recording a 179-point win.

The Eagles kept the Supersaints goalless in recording a 26.25 (181) to 0.2 (2) victory.

Charlie Byrne and big man Cam Wilkinson also stood out for the winners.

Fletcher Keck and Ben Miller tried hard for St Albans, which became the first team to be held goalless since the Supersaints failed to kick a major against South Barwon in Round 13, 2018.

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St Mary’s maintained its perfect start to the season with a 58-point win over Geelong West at Anthony Costa Oval.

The Saints took charge of the contest in the first quarter, opening up a 22-point lead.

Despite being outscored in the second quarter, they were never seriously threatened in the 15.14 (104) to 7.4 (46) victory.

In the absence of Sam Dobson, Harry McMahon kicked five goals for the winners, with captain Jack Blood and Brayden Ham the standouts.

Max Kelly was the shining light in the Giants’ forward line, finishing with three goals, while Titiy Nyak worked hard in defence.

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Bell Park again did what it had to in beating North Shore by 36 points at Hamyln Park to maintain its unbeaten beginning to 2024.

The Dragons took more than a half to completely shake the Seagulls, with a 6.4 to 2.1 third quarter proving crucial to the 14.13 (97) to 9.7 (61) victory.

Matt Jones, Hamish Lucas, Jack McMahon, and Jack Sarcevic each kicked two goals for Bell Park, with big man Ollie Bridgewater again being dominant.

For North Shore, Will Milsome was best in front of goal with four majors. Ruck Kobe Annand and Lachie Hayes were the Seagulls’ best.