Broadford-Yea’s Liam Lucas is eyed off by Kinglake’s Ethan Robinson earlier this season. ​

By Colin MacGillivray

WHILE the scoreboard showed Broadford-Yea’s 3.5 (23) to Powelltown’s 36.12 (228) after Saturday’s Outer East Football Netball division two seniors clash, it failed to tell the whole story.

The Broadford-Yea combination faced an unprecedented confluence of circumstances – from injuries and illness to unavailability – that conspired to leave the side shorthanded.

The Broadford-Yea reserves would have been unable to field a team if not for Eastern Football Netball League club Coldstream granting temporary permits for six players during its bye week.

Not even Broadford coach Jayden Welch was exempt, testing positive for COVID-19 before the game, leaving reserves coach Alwin Neilson in charge.

Playing away, against arguably the division’s most dangerous side, Neilson said it was always going to be a tough task.

“We went in very short on cattle and they jumped us in the first quarter. They’re a quality side and I think they’re flag favourites, so when you’re undermanned in that situation it’s always going to be tough,” he said.

“I could never doubt [our team’s] endeavour. All the leaders who were left put everything into it and to their credit fought the game out.

“You look at the scoreboard and think it was never a contest, but the boys never stopped trying.”

Jayme Ruedin was best afield for Broadford-Yea, while Neilson also praised the efforts of Isaac Smithwick, Liam Lucas, Will Schwab, Braydon Hardstaff and Nick Gilbee.

Neilson said the side expected the return of several reserves players and possibly senior player Neil Johnson this week, which would add some depth before this weekend’s home game against Warburton-Millgrove at Harley Hammond Reserve.

He said the team remained on the right track despite the 205-point defeat.

“When our best side is in we know we would get a lot closer than that,” he said.

“We’ve got something we can build on, but we have these setbacks and it doesn’t look great on paper even though we can see light at the end of the tunnel.

“Now it’s a matter of everyone sticking together for the rest of the season and into next year, when we’ll be better again.”

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