McMasters: Winning close games good for Lions’ character-building

WHOROULY has made a bit of a habit of winning by narrow margins.

But that doesn’t worry coach Scott McMasters who says it’s giving his young Lions confidence against the top sides in the Ovens and King competition.

The Lions clung on for a one-point win against Moyhu, running out the game 12.16 (88) to 13.9 (87) for their fourth win by 14 points or less in a row.

“We’re a very young group so it’s good for them,” he said.

“It’s a good way to learn and it’s nice to know they can find a way to win these close games.”

The Hoppers had got off to a flying start, taking a 21-point lead into the first break.

McMasters said the Lions were bracing themselves after the Hoppers’ big 116-point loss to Tarrawingee last week.

“They’ve been an ultra successful club so we knew they’d be stinging,” he said.

“They came out really hard but we just chipped away — and we knew at quarter-time it would take us all day to get back into it.”

The Lions dug deep to nearly level the scores by half-time.

“From that point on it was a bit of a scrap,” McMasters said.

“But we were fortunate enough to hold on — it was another great win and a lot of relief.

“They have a strong midfield, so they’re always hard to beat and it was another win we weren’t expected to have, so it was pretty satisfying.”

The Lions undoubtedly have a tough draw, playing twice many of the league’s top sides.

McMasters said those early wins, no matter how close, were important for the club.

“Hopefully later in the season it will bode well for our finals chances,” he said.

Liam Harrington has had a stellar start to the year and was again the Lions’ best.

“But it was a very even contribution,” McMasters said.

“There were no bags of goals, there was a good, even spread and the boys found something when we needed it which was very pleasing.

“We think our best footy is ahead of us — we’ve had a run of injuries but we keep finding players that are standing up.

“Our reserves have been in great form so there’s a bit of depth there.”

But McMasters conceded one of the Lions’ biggest challenges will be next week when they take on the might of Tarrawingee.