Lions strive for strong finish

Alec Goodson. (Shawn Smits) 241304_01

By Oliver Lees

The Sunbury Lions will look to build their consistency in the second half of the season in the Ballarat Football League.

Lions coach Travis Hodgson said his team, currently sitting in eight spot with two wins and four losses, is capable of beating any side when they play their best.

“We do a lot right, but then we have patches where the game gets away from us,” Hodgson said.

“Even in our losses, there’s been a couple that we really could have won.

“As a playing group we’re just after more of our best, with the changes we’ve had it’s natural to not always be consistent.”

This season the Lions have lost a few star players, including last year’s Henderson Medallist Alik Magin, who returned to his home state of Queensland.

Lachie Bramble was another notable departure from the Lions side that played finals in 2019.

After playing junior and senior football at the Lions, Bramble made his AFL debut for Hawthorn in the AFL over the weekend.

Hodgson said it was “fantastic” that his former player had made it to the national league.

“It’s a really good thing for him and everyone at the club to see that transition,” Hodgson said.

“He played every game [for the Lions] in 2019 so it’s a really big story.

“Now anyone who is 23 and playing local footy can look at him as an example.”

Bramble and the Lions finished fourth in the 2019 season, equal on wins with the top side, but were ultimately eliminated in the first round.

The Lions have only missed out on playing finals on three occasions since 1974.

The Lions managed to build some form before coronavirus restrictions halted community football, defeating Ballarat 78 to 54 in round six.

Alec Goodson has been consistent in front of goals having slotted 11 goals in six matches.

Crowds up to 1000 people will be allowed at games in the BFL and other regional football matches across the state.

To accommodate for the disruptions, the BFL has decided to shorten the competition to a total of 16 rounds instead of 18.

Speaking before the Lions round seven match against Sebastopol, Hodgson said the irregular season structure makes the rest of the year unpredictable.

“It’s a bit of an unknown this week, coming off such tough and interrupted preparation,” he said.

“The time off has meant we can give the players some more detailed feedback on their first six weeks.

“Group training [before the match] was some of the best energy I’ve ever seen at the club. But Sebastopol are a very good side and they’ll have a big home crowd behind them.”

Sebastopol were in fourth position after round six.

Hodgson said he still had his eyes set on finals.

“It’s a really good comp in that no one thinks they can just rock up and win any game,” he said.

“You look at how close the ladder is and you can see that any side could easily climb.”