Wahgunyah Lions facing test of resolve

Chiltern’s Wayne Shannon shapes as a dangerman for Wahgunyah on Saturday.

Chiltern’s Wayne Shannon shapes as a dangerman for Wahgunyah on Saturday.

WAHGUNYAH coach Nic O’Bryan is happy to be sitting in the top five.

After dropping their opening two matches against Rutherglen and Barnawartha, the Lions have fought back with wins against Wodonga Saints and Tallangatta to be one of five teams on eight premiership points.

But O’Bryan said they would have to improve to stay there.

“It was a pretty ordinary start as we should have won one out of our first two games,” O’Bryan said yesterday.

“While I’m happy to be back level at 2-2, we’re a game behind where I would like to be.

“In round one we weren’t ready with Rutherglen having a game already and the fact we had eight or nine new players in the side, it took us a while to get going.

“Then against Barnawartha we led by 20 points and fell away.

“At least we are back in the mix though.”

Wahgunyah’s aspirations of nailing down a finals berth will become clearer on Saturday when it takes on a side with similar aspirations in Chiltern.

The Swans have also let themselves down in two matches including last weekend’s disappointing fadeout against Barnawartha.

“Chiltern is going along all right,” O’Bryan said.

“We are doing the same things each week, we just have to do them a bit better and for a bit longer.

“And hopefully Doolan (Mark) has a shocker.”

O’Bryan, who coached Mulwala into last season’s Murray Football League grand final and previously played for Yarrawonga, estimated it would take 10 or 11 wins to play finals.

The Lions have a tough run ahead against Chiltern and Mitta United before the TDFL takes on Kyabram and District at Albury Sportsground on May 24.

“There are a lot of good players running around in the league,” he said.

“Each week you can win or lose which is healthy.

“I like how even the league is compared to the Murray league where there are eight teams you know you can win by 15 goals.

“Saying that we haven’t played Mitta and Kiewa yet so I mightn’t think it’s that even in a few weeks time.”

Wahgunyah’s success in the past fortnight has been built around strong performances from Heath Northey, Liam Tobias, Tom and Jake Beams and James Wilson.

Like Chiltern it is also gaining plenty of drive through its youngsters with help from Wayne Shannon, Matt Nichol and Cameron Cassidy.