After being starved of success for the past 17 years, Kyabram claimed this year's Goulburn Valley Football League premiership in a spirited game against Shepparton United.By Marc McGowan
The year’s best side doesn’t always win the year’s biggest match. But it did yesterday.
Kyabram kicked eight last-quarter goals to Shepparton United’s one to score a runaway 51-point grand final victory and end a 17-year Goulburn Valley Football League premiership drought.
It was particularly emotional for coach David Williams, captain Paul Newman and stalwart Chris Atkins, who strived for so long at the Bombers without success on the last Sunday in September.
Williams and Atkins experienced ultimate glory at Rochester and Nathalia, respectively, but this was Newman’s maiden premiership. He kicked five goals.
All three were involved in Kyabram’s losing 2009 and 2010 deciders.
‘‘We talked about it at three-quarter time and we thought we’d done our apprenticeship,’’ Williams said.
‘‘There’s that saying, ‘Don’t get bitter, get better’. We can’t do anything about what’s gone, but we’ve got probably 10 players who played in 2009 and 2010 and it’s a bitter pill to swallow.
‘‘You don’t deserve them until you earn them .
The greatest challenge came late in the third term.
United had just two goals entering red time in the third quarter before kicking four in as many minutes, including two to Matt Forys, to close within seven points of the Bombers at the final break.
The best of them was the last in the sequence, when Tim Looby gathered, skated along the boundary line and threaded it with a marvellous left-foot kick.
Then came Demons coach Marc Quarrell’s impassioned three-quarter time speech. He has delivered some beauties in his time and this was one of his best.
It was his last game in charge and he referred to the joy his players had given him, including flags in 2010 and 2011, and said the team with the ‘‘biggest ticker’’ would win the contest.
That team was Kyabram.
It was fitting Newman slotted the opening major of the fourth term after Nathan Beck, gifted a free kick against Chris Down in the ruck, sent a titanic kick within inches of the goal line.
Next came excitable teenager Nick Holman, whose post-goal celebrations — he had three of them — were almost as impressive as his ground-level work and underrated hands.
Holman is AFL-bound, but his last two matches for the club were from the top shelf.
The door was slightly ajar for United when Shaun Huy’s accurate snap crept across the line and cut the deficit to 19 points at the 11-minute mark, but it was false hope.
Kyabram resumed its early dominance, kicking five more majors to complete a convincing triumph.
‘‘I reckon Donald Duck could have coached this side to a flag,’’ Williams said.
‘‘People say it’s a great achievement, but if you look at how hard these guys worked, it’s not a great achievement, because I think they were destined for it.
‘‘I know that sounds a little cocky, but they deserve it. You have to win that game and I just thank the Ky footy club for giving me a chance to coach again.’’
There were disappointing scenes late in the game when an all-in brawl broke out.
Demon Joey Perkovic was in the thick of it. Umpires reported him for separate strikes on Nick Coulstock and Sam Sheldon and sent him from the ground.
He was already under investigation from the second semi-final clash with the Bombers two weeks earlier.
It is unlikely Perkovic will grace a football field again in a competitive sense, given he is just two further games’ suspension from deregistration.
Those incidents had little consequence on the end result.
But opening-half injuries to Sam Burls (quadriceps) and David Gillespie (hamstring), who started on Newman, cruelled United’s chances.
‘‘It’s disappointing and an empty, hollow feeling, but the reality is we were beaten by a far better side on the day and full credit goes to Kyabram,’’ Quarrell said.
‘‘They’ve had the wood on us all year. I thought at three-quarter time we might have mustered something and might be able to go onto it, but they were super in the last quarter.’’
There were many other Bomber contributors, including Jason Morgan, who performed an excellent lockdown job on Demon focal point Jason Eagle, creative youngsters Luke Morris and Liam Ogden and defensive playmaker Tom Sheldon.
Morris won the media-voted Wilf Cox Medal, while Sheldon picked up the AFL Victoria Country best-on-ground medal.
United on-baller Matt Di Bella, who was superb with 34 disposals, claimed player-of-the-finals honours.
The Demons’ other best players were Forys (three goals), Ryan Butler, Sam Dawes and Huy.
Artist Nici Cumpston will hold a free Artist Talk at Shepparton Art Museum tonight, speaking about her body of work based around the Shepparton region.
It’s been a long journey for Tim Roadley but his dream of creating a multi-sport endurance event on the Murray River is now going to be a reality.
It was a big day for Jye McNeil on Sunday, not only celebrating his 19th birthday, but riding a double at the Tatura and Shepparton Racing Club’s meeting, including the big one, the Vraca and Varapodio Italian Plate (1600 m), on the Gerald Egan-trained Jetconi.
Echuca Football Club has signed Joel Magnabosco and Kane Morris for next season.
On Friday Rochester’s St Joseph’s Primary School opened a time capsule which was buried in the 1980s.
Waste collection in Campaspe Shire will change for two weeks during the festive season.
Valley Park Farms' egg production facility is expected to increase production and staff after a $100 000 Victorian Government grant.
Murchison’s Jane Spencer’s first exhibition It Just Dawned On Me will be on show in Shepparton in the first half of next year.
Lisa Milligan has started a new dog grooming business in Heathcote to help fund her Wild ABout Wildlife centre in Kilmore.
Police allege a man attempted to rob a Cobram supermarket today.
Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley says plans are in the works on how to get natural gas to Deniliquin.
New Transport Accident Commission research has revealed why some young country drivers habitually take risks on regional roads.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Parks Victoria and Country Fire Authority will be performing planned burns in Goomalibee on Monday.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.