Seymour’s Youth Girls' first ever season has come to a close after losing their semi-final clash against Benalla by 36 points on Sunday.
With three key players out for Seymour due to injury, the Lions went in as the underdogs, fielding 13 players to Benalla’s 20.
With the odds looking insurmountable, the efforts of those 13 young Lions were nothing short of inspiring as they fought it out to the bitter end.
As she has done all season, Chloe Locke led the troops and gave a stirring pre-match speech, which had a strong effect on Monique Purchase, who came out all guns blazing from the first bounce.
The midfield battle was the key and Siobhan Laffan along with Locke and Molly Libardi continued to dish it up to a very skilled Benalla outfit, while Shelley Seal had the biggest task of the day as she attempted to curb talented Saints youngster Tayissa Gray at centre half-forward.
Bree Merrifield also stood up and ran her heart out, using her judgement to take a number of marks across half-back.
A Purchase pack mark late in the first quarter got Seymour on the scoreboard, though Benalla’s seven-player bench soon took a toll on Seymour’s stamina mid-way through the match, with the Saints kicking away with the lead.
The Lions dug deep and soon the game moved into Seymour's forward line.
For a blinding moment all players went one way, but the football and Grace McLoy went the other and Seymour supporters all roared when McLoy ran into goal and slammed home the Lions’ second.
A barrage of points followed by a Lucy Dawe goal meant Benalla was on the back foot for the first time all day, with the Lions outscoring the Saints in the third quarter.
In the final quarter, young Erin Libardi was put on the ball, Shelley Seal was sent to the ruck and the team’s key stoppers, Ashleigh Seal and Georgia Consiglio, were moved into the forward line.
The fresh legs gave the Lions a bit of spark to play out the match in great spirits, but alas the deficit was too much to peg back.
The youth girls’ squad would like to thank all the mums and dads who have helped in the Lions' first ever season, taking the squad as far north as Moama and Nathalia.
The Lions are also looking for more players for the 2020 season, so if you would like to be involved, please get in contact with the club.
Final score: Seymour 3.9 (27) def by Benalla Saints 9.9 (63).
Goal kickers: M. Purchase, L. Dawe, G. McCloy.
Best players: C. Locke, M. Purchase, B. Merrifield, M. Libardi, S. Seal, S. Laffan.