Kyabram Football Club’s three football teams are all still in the hunt for premiership glory after the opening round of the GVFL finals series last weekend.
Kyabram Football Club’s three football teams are still in the hunt for premiership glory after the opening round of GVFL finals last weekend.
Kyabram seniors put the cream on the cake, after the reserves won on Saturday and the under-18s followed on Sunday morning, when they did what they have done many times this season — risen to the occasion when the game was up for grabs.
And it certainly was at three-quarter-time when scores were locked up in the battle with a young, enthusiastic and hard-running Benalla side in Sunday’s qualifying final at Mooroopna.
After taking an early lead and setting a frenetic pace, Benalla wouldn’t go away for three quarters. But as the Bombers have done so many times this season, they were able to wear down their rivals in the last term.
On this occasion, they kicked five unanswered goals to go onto a 33-point win.
It was the stamp of a classy side, but the clash was also a reminder that this premiership is still up for grabs and any of the four sides left in the battle for the flag could win it.
The Bombers are in a good position to clinch a grand final spot, but have to face Shepparton United to book that spot and that’s going to be another great challenge.
Kyabram looked slow early as Benalla won the ball at the centre clearances through the efforts of its coach Luke Morgan, James Martyn and James Martiniello, while a rampant Alistair Jacka booted three of the five first-quarters goals the Saints scored.
At this stage, the Bombers were under immense pressure and it was only for the desperation of Nick Coulstock, Josh Linton Axel Childs, Chris Atkins and Sam Sheldon that saved Kyabram from being further down than three goals at the first break.
But the other big positive for the Bombers was that Paul Newman had scored Kyabram’s opening goal and was moving reasonably freely.
History shows Newman went on to kick eight matchwinning goals in the game. He could have easily had a bag of 12 or 13 if he had not missed some set shots.
No-one in this league or any other country league, for that matter, can do what Newman does when he is on song and some of his marks and goals again had to be seen to be believed.
But Newman had plenty of teammates who also rose to the challenge.
Defender Tom Sheldon hasn’t done much wrong all season and along with Jason Morgan and Brad Edwards held together the Kyabram defence, which was under constant siege for three quarters.
And Rhys Clark also stepped up when the game was up for grabs.
Big ruckman Jake Reeves has been warming for something like he produced on Sunday. He added some strong marking around the ground to his dominant ruck work for the last three quarters.
Nathan Beck’s great competitive spirit was also on show again and his willingness to fearlessly take on every contest in Kyabram’s forward half has been a great asset for this finals campaign for the Bombers.
Kyabram’s young brigade, led by Luke Morris, Tom and Nick Holman and Hayden Gemmill, all had run in their legs and ferocious commitment when the game was in the balance in the last term.
Kyabram coach Dave Williams praised his players’ ability to keep their poise and cool when Benalla was in full flight and the ability to again step up when the game was in the balance.
‘‘We knew we were in for a torrid game and it was credit to all the players who responded when we they had to,’’ he said.
Williams said the same desperate approach would be needed again on Sunday when the Bombers tackle Shepparton United for a berth in the grand final.
‘‘They (United) are right up at the moment and it’s another huge challenge for us and we won’t be able to carry any passengers,’’ Williams said.
My best — Kyabram: P Newman, J Reeves, N Coulstock, T Sheldon, J Morgan, A Childs, J Linton. Benalla: J Martyn, J Martiniello, L Morgan, J Pallpratt, A Jacka, B Pollard, S McKean, B Martyn.
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