LIONS ROAR

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By Will Lawerence

2019’s Division Four premiership side Fairpark have finally got back in the winners circle this week for the first time this season, breathing life into their season and reigniting hopes of staying in the division, knocking off a disappointing Glen Waverley outfit by seven points.

This Fairpark side have struggled for wins this year with many premiership players from 2019 not returning for the 2021 season, following the 2020 break, giving us a number new – and young – faces out at Fairpark Reserve.

Despite the nine losses recorded in their first nine games, the Lions was not putting up performances of a typical winless side, with their inability to kick straight and see off games more of an issue than general ability or talent.

Fairpark Head Coach, Sean Stanton, says his team have been competitive in multiple games this year, at times leading in the last quarter before being overrun.

“We have been around the mark, we have been competitive, and that was a reward for effort on Saturday,” Stanton said.

“When I first came to the club and things weren’t going well, you found training attendances dropped off and training in general dropped off (during a lean patch).

“But this time round the guys have been working extra hard to make our season turn.

“So, it was a good reward for the playing group on Saturday.”

Knowing their problems with kicking straight, kicking accurately (13.11.89) and coming home strong with 5.3 in the last quarter is a clear positive to be taken away from Saturday’s game for the Lions.

“Throughout the year our goal kicking has been atrocious, we’ve probably kicked ourselves out of games and it’s probably only the second time this year we’ve have more goals than behinds,” Stanton said.

“I think the most pleasing park is that we had four guys under 20 playing and another 10 in the under 25 brackets playing on the weekend,

“So, in the final quarter we would’ve only had 8 or so of our premiership players,

“I think it was good to get the win and take the opportunity for some belief, because we’ve been in games this year and we haven’t got results.”

Stanton also said that a key factor to getting this win was that it was a genuine team effort, when in previous close games three or four have gone missing but this week all of Fairpark stood up.

It was the team gelling overall and particularly in the forward line in the new look side which saw them over the line.

“We’ve essentially lost our entire forward line from 2019, so we lost a bit of connection in that area but I think they did really well this weekend and they (the forwards) converted which they hadn’t really done this year,” Stanton said.

Fairpark now have a bye next week and they are hoping that in that time they can have their captain, vice-captain and more experienced players back from injury in time for their match up with ladder leaders Warrandyte.

Stanton believes that despite how the ladder might look, his side can take it to anyone now.

“The results showed on Saturday that if we play well for four quarters, we are capable of getting wins,

“We have a tough run home but there is certainly belief there now.”

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