K rock Football

Lions strengthen finals claims

Leopold forward Jake Pitt celebrates a goal. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

LEOPOLD has shored up its spot inside the GFL top five with a gritty come-from-behind 14-point win over Geelong West in heavy conditions at West Oval.

After rain fellow through much of the reserve grade clash, clean ball-handling went out the window, with the Giants adapting better to the conditions in the first half to hold the Lions to just one goal and claim a 16-point lead.

However, Leopold was able to get on top in the midfield in the second half, kicking eight goals to four to claim a 9.15 (69) to 8.7 (55) victory.

“It was a tough contest, and they got out of the blocks early,” Lions coach Garry Hocking told Krock Football.

“I’ve said for a while they’re well-coached and well-drilled; they’ve got great shape.

“They just outworked us early. They took their opportunities in front of goal.

“Our boys just stayed in the contest, and that’s what we all love.

“We all just love the way they show fight, resilience – they keep showing up.

“We talked at three-quarter time that we just can’t go into the bye next week fresh; we just have to give everything.”

Geelong West debutant Darnell Edwards takes a mark. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

For the Giants, it was a missed opportunity to join St Joseph’s on seven wins and only sit percentage outside the top five with six rounds remaining.

“We’re proud of that effort in terms of getting ourselves in a position to win the game,” coach Greg Mellor said.

“We just made a few little decision-making errors and then giving up three defensive 50m stoppage goals, that really hurt us as well, too.

“We had a really young side in – a lot of young kids – and will learn from that.”

GFL: SCOREBOARD – ROUND 12

Geelong West defender Nick Wood was taken to hospital after suffering a concussion and losing two teeth in a collision with Leopold’s Luke Justin, which is likely to attract the attention of the AFL Barwon Match Review Panel.

Lions veteran Sam Hughes failed to see out the first half after suffering a calf injury.

Click below to listen to interviews with Garry Hocking, Marcus Thompson and Greg Mellor

Twitter: @tom_king79