Lions praised for their effort

Great Western went into the clash with SM&W Rovers missing several key players including captain Brett Dowie.
Great Western went into the clash with SM&W Rovers missing several key players including captain Brett Dowie.

GREAT Western Lions showed early promise against an inform SMW Rovers, but fell just short in their Mininera and District Football League clash.

Great Western went into the game missing several key players including captain Brett Dowie.

The signs for the Lions were good early. Kicking against the breeze, they were able to match it with the Rovers around the ground, with ruckman Rayne Salmon and onballers BJ Burton, Tom Cairns and coach Nick Thomas winning plenty of the football.

Shannon Notting played a crucial role in defence, getting himself on the end of several forward entries from the Rovers mand repelling their attack.

Towards the latter stages of the first quarter, Rovers began to break clear to lead by more than three goals at the first break.

The second quarter saw the Lions begin to bring the game back within reach with Issac Debono and Cody Virgona getting involved across half forward.

Young wingman Tom McCord was involved in plenty of play including a courageous mark running back with the flight inside his defensive 50.

Cairns continued to win the ball from stoppages, getting first use from the inform Salmon. However, wasted opportunities were the story of the second quarter with several gettable goal scoring opportunities being missed.

Although controlling much of the play, the Lions were still trailing on the scoreboard.

Scoring in the second half slowed with the heavy ground and slippery conditions playing a part.

Rovers were able to adjust and wrestle back control of the game, holding the Lions scoreless in the third term while kicking three goals themselves.

With a bench full of injured players, coach Nick Thomas tried to spur his players on at the final break and they responded with important goals to Tim Shalders and BJ Burton.

Two early last quarter goals gave the Lions some hope, but on a wet, soggy day the lead was too much for them to make any significant inroads.

Rovers again jumped out to a five goal margin with two quick goals on reply, which spelled the end for a gutsy Great Western side.

Thomas was again disappointed by the final result, but was quick to applaud the effort of his players and concentrated on the positives post match.

He was impressed by the willingness to put their heads over the ball and win a majority of the stoppages.

Thomas acknowledged several players including ruckman Salmon, half back Sam Cocks and defender Adam Bullock.

Several players are again under injury clouds for this weekend's clash against powerhouse Tatyoon, with star midfielder Lachie Malloy suffering a groin injury in the second quarter as well as Ben Iseppi (ribs) and Tom Cairns (groin) who are unlikely to take to the field this weekend.


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