Albury co-coach Shaun Daly emerges as Morris Medal fancy with belter against Lavington

Albury co-coach Shaun Daly is emerging as a Morris Medal fancy after starring in Saturday’s 50-point win over Lavington.

Daly clocked up 31 possessions, while in his first game for almost seven weeks, Daniel Cross posted a staggering 43 in the 15.16 (106) to 8.8 (56) victory.

“The entire team played well, but those two played well, as they always do,” defender Luke Packer said.

It was only the third game for Cross, so he’s not a genuine Morris Medal contender, although he has qualified for finals.

His work commitments with AFL club Melbourne will dictate how much of a role he’ll play in the finals.

Daly, meantime, has now polled in five of the Tigers’ nine matches and the fact he was named ahead of Cross in the club’s votes showed what an enormous impact he had.

The Tigers’ mentor won the Morris Medal in 2011.

Albury went into the game without big man Dean Heta due to an ongoing back complaint and at least one opposition club is suggesting privately he’ll miss an extended period, although the Tigers will be hoping he returns next weekend.

“We obviously had a smaller team, I just think we ran and spread very well and put a lot of pressure on and covered the ground well,” Packer said.

That’s an interesting development as Albury’s next assignment – a top of the table clash away to Wodonga Raiders – pits it against the team best known for its run and spread.

The Tigers again had double-figure (10) goalkickers, with the classy Elliott Powell bagging three.

Cross, who generally plays either in defence or through the midfield, also spent time in the forward line, where he grabbed a goal.

Livewire teenager Rhys King also returned in style with a double.

“He laid a really great tackle in the second quarter that was pretty inspiring,” Packer said.

Lavington has now lost successive matches and would be disappointed to turn on just 18 points, with four wins and a draw from nine games.

Coach Simon Curtis continues to impress and the fact the first-year player was able to perform against Albury is the strongest indication of how good a player he is.

Defender Nick Meredith and ruckman Tim Hanna also played well, while Tom Hargreave maintained his consistency.

The Panthers are in danger of a third successive loss against Wangaratta.