Saints come up trumps

By Benalla Ensign

With the halfway mark of the GVL season reached, Benalla is shaping up to be serious finals contenders.

After round nine the Saints are still holding onto second position on the ladder, two games ahead of third-placed Euroa.

Players in Goulburn Valley League donned arm bands this week for Blue Ribbon Round, in recognition of police who have lost their lives on the job.

Rochester did not make it easy for the high-flying Saints, forcing Benalla to put forward a strong second half to come away eight-point winners.

Michael Ryan starred in his best game so far for the Saints, while fellow 19-year-old Blake Uebergang was also a standout.

Jamie Dunne and Nich Warnock were the leading goal kickers for Benalla, scoring seven between them.

Coach Luke Morgan said although it was not their best performance this season, it only made it even more satisfying to snag the win.

‘‘They’re (Rochester) a quality side and they play well on their ground, so to get a win was very pleasing,’’ Morgan said.

‘‘Our young kids are still developing and coming through the ranks and our experienced players all played well in the centre.

‘‘It’s halfway, but we’ve readjusted and we’ll move into the second half of the season now.’’

The Saints will now face up against Mansfield, where they’ll lose one of their star players in Sam Martyn.

Mansfield is coming off the back of a loss to Euroa and will have the in-form Saints in its sights.

‘‘Mansfield are going well and playing at Mansfield brings out some challenges, they play really well at home,’’ Morgan said.

It will be a tough ask for any team to run down the seemingly unstoppable Kyabram this season, with the Saints looking to meet them on the field for round 14.

The Saints will clash with Mansfield on Saturday at Mansfield Recreation Reserve at 2pm.