GVL | Undefeated Cats excited for big Euroa test

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Welcome return: Mooroopna hard-nut Jack Hunt will return to the Cats’ line-up this weekend. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

Despite sitting atop the Goulburn Valley League with a perfect 5-0 record, many still question if Mooroopna is a genuine contender.

Dealt a favourable draw to begin the season, the Cats have taken full advantage, easily accounting for Shepparton-based teams Bears, Swans and United, before triumphing over a bruised Seymour and battling Tatura.

But as the old saying goes, you can only beat who’s in front of you, and now perfectly poised for a finals assault, Cats coach John Lamont and his men prepare for their biggest test of the new campaign.

The Cats will welcome a seasoned Euroa outfit to Mooroopna Recreation Reserve, fresh off three consecutive wins.

“We are really looking forward to the challenge, it is very well documented that Euroa has a strong list, and are really starting to play some good footy,” Lamont said.

“It will clearly be our biggest test of the year so far on our home deck, and there is a lot of enthusiasm around the club at the moment.

“There really is nothing like winning games, so we come into this clash in a great place to give a genuine top-four club a shake.”

This clash comes at a perfect time for Mooroopna, with Lamont keen to see exactly where his young, rebuilding side is at.

“We realise that Euroa are a premiership window club at a completely different stage to us, a young team on the up,” he said.

“We’ve had a favourable fixture, but to our credit have won our games, so I’d say we are eagerly awaiting the challenge to see exactly where we are at.

“I’d like to think belief is growing, and even if we lose on Saturday, if we give a good account of ourselves we will take a lot of confidence moving forward.”

Euroa on the other hand, endured a rocky start to the year, before three straight wins against Seymour, Shepparton Swans and Shepparton United propelled it back into the top six.

Beginning to play the devastating attacking brand of football we saw in 2021, Magpies coach Scott Rowan said confidence was beginning to grow.

“The most pleasing thing is we’ve just improved each week, we weren’t playing great footy at the start of the year, so to now be getting wins on the board is very pleasing,” Rowan said.

“We changed our approach a bit after the Echuca loss, and I think our game style is really starting to hum along now.”

Rowan said the trip to Mooroopna would be a perfect litmus test for his team, as it looked to continue to climb the GVL table.

“It is going to be a really good challenge for us, we want to test where we are at, so coming up against an undefeated side is a good opportunity to do that,” he said.

“The game will be one decided in the midfield I think, they are young and very quick while we are more mature-bodied, so we’ll be hoping to get on top through there and give our forwards enough opportunities.”

Euroa will welcome star on-ballers Jack Hellier and Jacob Gleeson back to the line-up for this crunch clash, while ball magnet Ben Giobbi and boom recruit Ryan Pendlebury remain on the sidelines as they recover from injuries.

Mooroopna on the other hand will be boosted by the return of Keelin Betson and Jack Hunt as it looks to extend its winning streak to six.

Around the grounds, Shepparton United and Benalla will be itching to get their first wins as they do battle at Deakin Reserve.

Kyabram will welcome an injury-ravaged Seymour as it looks to entrench itself in the top four.

Shepparton makes the daunting trip north to Echuca to face the red-hot Murray Bombers.

Rochester will be looking to make it four straight wins as it welcomes Shepparton Swans to Moon Oval.

Tatura rounds out the round six action with a trip to the High Country to face a finely-tuned Mansfield squad.