LAVINGTON coach Tim Sanson paid a glowing tribute to Kerry Bahr, who became the Panthers’ games record holder in a hard-fought 22-point win at the LPO last night.
Bahr was carried from the ground by his team-mates after his 291st appearance for the Panthers after being instrumental in reviving Lavington, which trailed the Raiders by seven points at half-time.
“Tonight probably summed it all up,” Sanson said.
“When we needed a lift he was probably the one who gave us a lift.
“He won a heap of the ball.
“He has done a great job.”
Bahr, who also represented Wodonga Raiders before returning to Lavington in the mid-1990s to play in the Panthers’ 2001 and 2005 premiership teams eclipsed club champion Ralph Aalbers’ previous record.
Aalbers’ son Ben played alongside Bahr last night and also contributed his part to the victory which has given the Panthers a dream start to the season ahead of a round two clash against Wangaratta Rovers at the W.J. Findlay Oval.
“They are pretty similar as footballers,” Sanson said.
“He is dependable, he’s hardy and he is the sort of bloke you can rely on in a crisis.
“He did that tonight.
“He will play on.”
Bahr spent the majority of the night up forward and kicked a priceless goal early in the third quarter when the Panthers were under pressure.
But the Panthers are bracing themselves for the worst on the knee injury to Brett Sanson in the first round win against Corowa-Rutherglen.
Sanson will learn his fate early next week when he visits a surgeon.
“The only reason he’s getting the scan is because the surgeon wasn’t quite sure,” the Panthers coach said of his brother.
“He is not holding out any hopes, but we will just wait and see.”
Wodonga Raiders coach Adrian Whitehead said the club’s former assistant coach Matt Pendergast’s decision to return to the Panthers in the off-season failed to rate a mention in the build-up to the historic Good Friday encounter last night.
Pendergast kicked the match-sealing goal mid-way through the final term following a 50m penalty.
“Not a thing was said,” Whitehead said.
“It wasn’t even spoken about.”
The Raiders performance against the reigning premiers was a major improvement on their first round showing against Wodonga.
“You couldn’t even compare the two,” Whitehead said.
“Last week was ordinary.
“We turned the footy over far too much and didn’t win enough of the ball ourselves.
“Tonight the focus was first in for the footy and win the ball.
“We didn’t carry anyone tonight.”
Wade Dixon, who has played the first two matches of the season for the Murray Bushrangers, was the only casualty from the encounter played in tough conditions.
He left the ground in the third quarter and took no further part due to groin soreness.