GVL | Lions steal famous victory in Sunday afternoon thriller against Mansfield

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Grinding it out: Dylan Scopel played a vital role in the midfield in Seymour’s one-point win over Mansfield. Photo by Aydin Payne

Two goals in the dying stages of the final term has seen Seymour steal victory from the jaws of defeat in a Goulburn Valley League thriller against Mansfield at Kings Park on Sunday.

Rory Scopel was the hero for the Lions, booting two goals in the final term against Mansfield, including the winner from a rushed snap, to gift Seymour a victory that well and truly keeps it in the finals hunt.

Speaking after the game, Scopel recounted the match-winning goal that lifted his Lions to a season-defining 8.7 (55) to 7.12 (54) round 11 triumph.

“I didn’t touch it much all day, but I always thought I was there or thereabouts heading into the last quarter,” Scopel said.

“I seen little ‘Nugget’ (Nathan Beattie) launch a big fist forward and I got on the end of one and I didn’t want to kick it at the start, I wanted to give it off.

“And then I thought, ‘I’ll just snap it here because I don’t have a left foot’, and I just went for the banana and it floated through.”

Having dominated field position through the final term, it appeared Seymour was going to rue those missed opportunities after Mansfield’s Ben Christopher was awarded a free kick at the 20-minute mark and converted to put the Eagles 11 points up.

But the Lions’ midfielders continued the charge, driving the ball forward which allowed Nathan Beattie to get on the end of a ground ball and goal, before Scopel’s heroics put them in front only seconds later.

Down low: Seymour’s Nathan Beattie gathers the ball. Photo by Aydin Payne

Seymour coach Ben Davey said the win was incredibly sweet given the side’s push for finals and recent history of close losses against Mansfield.

“It was such a low-scoring game and just a grind for the whole day. You just get moments and we got a couple of good moments in the final few minutes,” Davey said.

“Because they’ve done that to us twice it makes it that little bit sweeter, but just the win is so important for our season.

“We lose that and the last four games we won don’t even count, so with a win today we are still in touch.

“The dream is still alive.”

Earlier, Mansfield took control of the contest with a brutal second term, making the most of the perfect conditions to open up a 15-point lead.

But as the rain began to fall at Kings Park, the Lions onballers started to come to life, with the likes of Ben Rigoni and Jack Murphy winning the ball at the contest and creating scoring opportunities.

The Lions were 11 points down at the final change and the match was set for a grandstand finish, with Seymour’s field position dominance eventually seeing it over the line in arguably the game of the season.

Davey said the change in weather conditions and his side’s willingness to hunt the footy were what brought about its fourth-quarter resurgence.

Running machine: Mansfield skipper Brett Mahoney continued his fine season in the Eagles’ loss. Photo by Aydin Payne

“When it got wet it probably nullified them having such a tall jumping ruckman and then we started to win more ball around the contest,” he said.

“The game really flipped as we started to work harder at the stoppages. Ben Rigoni was terrific along with Nathan Beattie and they had a real drive to push us into attack.

“In that last quarter it was our pressure that set up the win and our ability to not let them win any easy ball.”

Despite recording a fifth straight win, the Lions still find themselves outside of the top six after Mooroopna and Rochester also recorded pivotal round 11 victories.

“If we had lost today it would have made things so much tougher, so to still be in the hunt is a great feeling,” Davey said of his side’s finals chances.

“But straight away you think in six days we play again and today will have meant nothing if we don’t win next week.”

Earlier in the day, Seymour claimed a decisive 14.14 (98) to 3.9 (27) victory over Mansfield in the reserves, while in the under-18s the Lions went down by one point in a thriller.