Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Big clash for Newman's 200th game

Kyabram and Shepparton Swans will renew hostilities tomorrow and star Bombers forward Paul Newman will line up for his 200th game in what is expected to be a battle royale.

DAMEN FRANCIS June 20, 2014 3:10am

Kyabram champion Paul Newman will play game 200 for the Bombers when they host Shepparton Swans tomorrow.

Round 12 last year holds some significance for Goulburn Valley Football League heavyweight combatants Kyabram and Shepparton Swans.

The Swans led by six goals early in the final term at Princess Park, before the Bombers stormed home to snatch the victory by eight points.

Kyabram went on to win the premiership, while the Swans gained a new lease on life and were surprise preliminary finalists.

They meet for the first time since at Kyabram Recreation Reserve tomorrow.

‘‘We spoke about it (last year’s game) and somehow still shake our heads,’’ Swans coach Brett Warburton said.

‘‘It probably changed us that game. Even though we lost we knew we could match it with the best sides in the comp and it probably put us in the position we are today.

‘‘It gave a lot of belief to guys like Kaiden Antonowicz, the (Jessie) Finnens that have been there over the journey, the Micky Tinklers and even though it hurt, we realised ‘hang on, we’re going all right here’.’’

Kyabram also answered critics that day, who suggested the Bombers couldn’t win big games without Paul Newman.

The champion forward was out injured, but will play game 200 tomorrow and Bombers coach David Williams hoped his side could do its champion forward justice.

‘‘He’s been a great clubman and a great ambassador for the football club, so hopefully we play good footy and get the four points,’’ Williams said.

Tom Campbell has got most of the big jobs in defence for the Swans this season, but Andrew Riordan is expected to start on Newman.

The Bombers beat the Swans without their best forward last year, but will have to do so without their best defender this time around, having lost interleague backman Jason Morgan to a knee injury.

Tom Jones (calf), Kyle Mueller (hand) and Brad Edwards (lower leg) are still two or three weeks away from a return and Brett Morgan is overseas.

Rhys Clark will pinch hit for Jake Reeves in the ruck, whose duel with Mitch Bell — supported by Brodie A’Vard — looms as key to the all-important midfield battle.

‘‘They’ve got a lot of players that are very classy, so we’re going to have to try to get our match-ups right and play good physical football to get over them,’’ Williams said.

‘‘We’ll play our game how we’ve been successful over the last year-and-a-half. There’s no defensive side to it, it’s just one-on-one football and be aggressive and get numbers to the ball.’’

Swans leading goal-kicker Justin Maddern is in doubt with a broken toe, but on-baller Tyson Sidebottom, who was a late withdrawal against Echuca last weekend, is expected to play.

Swans are second on the ladder and Kyabram third, separated only by percentage.

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