THERE is nothing like some actual football to get a club, dwindling in numbers, back on track to enter its 31st season in the Sapphire Coast Australian Football League.
On Sunday nine of the more dedicated Lions Senior players travelled down to Pambula to play three games of nine-a-side football in the preseason carnival. The team, itself was truly representative of the club’s core and despite an impending shellacking the players were raring to go come the first bounce. It was always going to be a long day for the Lions with three 40 minute games to play and no bench cover.
During the first game against Bermagui, Kim Harbottle injured his ankle coming down from an aerial contest. The Lions were down to eight players and it really showed with Bermagui seemingly kicking goal after goal. A good fight back in the latter part of the first half and in the second showed how much some heart can match an opposition loaded with their best nine players. Bermagui won convincingly but Narooma got some belief and invaluable match practice out of the encounter.
With newcomer, Steve Errington the next casualty and another game starting against strong-numbered Eden, Narooma would rely on the insertion of veteran Bruce Day and a late call up by an underdone Mitch Lansky. Eden was hungry, tall and despite Narooma’s classier midfield, drove the ball long and obtained a big lead in the first half. The second half was Narooma’s and showed that they will be a competitive line-up over the full 80 minute games in the season proper.
Narooma drew last year’s premiers, Tathra in their third game and like their two previous encounters for the day were smashed early but, to the amazement of all, matched their talented opposition goal-for-goal in the second half.
Results from the pre-season carnival were:
Tathra 13.6.84 defeated Eden 3.3.21
Pambula 9.6.60 defeated Merimbula 8.3.57
Bermagui 19.7.121 defeated Narooma 4.3.25
Bega 11.5.71 defeated Cooma 7.3.45
Pambula 14.4.88 defeated Bega 4.2.26
Merimbula 7.11.53 defeated Tathra 7.8.50
Eden 11.3.69 defeated Narooma 6.4.40
Bermagui 12.5.77 defeated Cooma 3.6.24
Pambula 15.6.96 defeated Cooma 6.2.38
Merimbula 12.7.79 defeated Eden 2.2.14
Tathra 15.4.94 defeated Narooma 6.3.39
Bermagui 10.4.64 defeated Bega 5.4.34
Bermagui (1) 11.0.66 defeated Merimbula (4) 3.0.18
Pambula (2) 8.4.52 defeated Tathra (3) 5.1.31
Pambula (2) 6.0.36 defeated Bermagui (1) 5.3.33
The following points could be taken from the carnival:
* Narooma have the heart and soul to fight hard for wins in 2014;
* Bermagui look like a strong side if they can keep their guns on the park;
* Tathra are beatable in 2014;
* Narooma’s, Tommy Clarke and Will Farrell will be fantastic defenders this year; and
* Some of the Lions Seniors’ fringe players from previous years have shown big improvement and can be relied on to play important roles in 2014.
With three weeks until the Lions’ first encounter, their squad is taking shape and it is now a question of whether or not they can field a reserves team in the SCAFL Development grade. Any past players, wishing to have another run (whether in Reserves or Seniors) are encouraged by the club to attend training on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5.30pm.