They didn’t quite make history

September 29, 2016

Kyabram celebrates their premiership. PHOTO: Bruce Povey

No, the Kyabram Bombers are not the only team to emerge from a GVFL season undefeated after all.

Nobody had challenged a widely accepted claim that Kyabram last Sunday was stalking history with its grand final appearance against Rochester in that it would be the first team to go through a season undefeated in the GVFL if it was successful.

But a GVFL history book titled Great Goals has revealed Nagambie Football Club had performed the feat 77 years ago in 1939.

Admittedly that year was the start of the War years when it was only a seven team competition — Kyabram, Seymour, Rushworth, Euroa, Murchison, Nagambie, Tatura — and the home-and-away season involved only 12 games.

Nagambie beat Tatura in the second semi-final to go straight into the grand final in which it beat Rushworth by five points at Murchison to complete a clean sweep of its 14 games for the year.

So the Bombers will now have to be content with the title of being the only team in the modern area to go through a season undefeated.

There is no doubt in my mind it’s a superior performance than Nagambie’s effort given the Bombers had to win 21 games and was up against 11 rivals to perform its feat.

Minor premiers’ major advantage

All three minor premiers proved why they had finished on top of the ladder at Sunday’s GVFL grand final.

Shepparton United won a nail-biter in the thirds, Mansfield got over Kyabram in the reserves while the Bombers cleared the final hurdle in its unbeaten season in the seniors.

And keeping with the trend, Kyabram A grade netballers also finished the home-and-away season at the top of the ladder and stunned hot premiership favourite Seymour to go all the way.

Favourite sons return

Two of Kyabram’s former VFL/AFL footballers Dick Clay and Maurie Fowler made the trip up from Ocean Grove to watch their old side in action on Sunday and I asked them to give their six best players for the Bombers.

Dick went for Rhys Clark, Jordan Williams, Jake Reeves, Liam Ogden, Luke Morris and Chris Atkins.

Maurie plumped for Rhys Clark, Nathan Beck, Luke Morris, Jordan Williams, Liam Ogden and Tom Holman.

It’s a Case of dual honours

Kyabram Football Club stalwart Lawrie Casey joined a rare club when he was awarded a life membership of the Goulburn Valley Football League at the league’s presentation evening last week.

The man affectionately known as ‘Case,’ a three-time Kyabram best and fairest winner, is just one of three recipients of dual life memberships of the league.

The only two other people bestowed with life memberships for both playing 200 or more senior club games and also for being a faithful servant of the GVFL are Tatura legend Freddo McMahon and former Rochester and Kyabram premiership coach Dave Williams.

Case not only represented the league in his playing days but has also been a long-time selector for the GVFL and regarded by many as one of the best judges of players in the league.

Oh brother, we tried our best

You have to feel for the Easton brothers, Jordan and Brodie.

They played their hearts out for the Kyabram reserves in the grand final on Sunday but didn’t get enough support to get the team over the line.

Melbourne based, they have made Kyabram their home at weekends this season, electing to play with the club for zilch because of club salary cap restrictions.

Jordan was one of the unlucky players who was injured and wasn’t able to get his senior spot back after he returned from injury.

The Eastons have Kyabram connections. Their grandfather, the late Paul Easton, was editor at the Kyabram Free Press when I started my career in journalism in 1961, and their grandmother, Paul’s wife Margaret (nee Healy) is an ex-Kyabramite.

Among the keenest supporters of the Easton brothers is their father Craig, who has been a regular at Kyabram games all season to watch his sons put their heart into every game.

Tigers were tough

YOU couldn’t help admire the effort put in by Rochester in its bid to bring Kyabram down in the season decider.

The Bombers have rarely been exposed to the kind of pressure the Tigers inflicted on them in the first half in particular which rewarded them with a slender half-time lead.

And let’s be honest — the lead should have been a lot larger because they squandered a lot of chances around goals.

There was an opinion that Kyabram was having a rare off day but that was because of what Rochester was doing rather than what the Bombers weren’t doing.

If there is any such thing as an honourable defeat in such a big game, Rochester can wear that mantle with justification.

Old Bombers kicking goals

Former Kyabram footballers Eamonn Ogden and Josh Linton were in the Keilor side which recently won the Essendon District Football League’s premiership.

Keilor beat Aberfeldie by 29 points in the grand final at the Essendon Football Ground with Eamonn being named second best player for the premiers.

And ex-Kyabram player Craig (Dogger) Whyte coached Nathalia to back-to-back wins in his first season as coach of the Murray League club.

The Purples prevailed in the dying moments with a Brodie Ross goal which delivered a three-point win over Finley.

The tale of the tape

It's not often umpires clear players after reporting them but it does happen.

In a dust-up in the first semi-final between Rochester and Shepparton two players — Rochester’s Perry Oliver and Shepparton’s Rowan Hiscock — copped a two match set penalty by the umpires.

But after viewing the footage of the alleged incident the GVFUA dropped all charges.

Sounds a bit like that GVFL 1996 grand final send-off fiasco.

Six of the best

The Shepparton News sports journos have named their GVFL team of the year which included six Kyabram players.

Recent 200 senior gamer and current captain Josh Vick was awarded the honour of captaining the side in his usual full back role.

Lachie Smith was slotted in at centre half back, Jordan Williams on a wing, Billy Burstin on a forward flank and Kayne Pettifer at full forward.

Luke Morris was one of four players named on the interchange.

Something such as this also creates debate, criticism and even occasional agreement and the only two other Kyabram players I would have tried to fit in this team would be Liam Ogden and Rhys Clark.

That might sound a bit greedy and due respects to the players in the side but given Kyabram’s season the entire side could have almost been named without much of an argument!

Punt is paying off

Tom Sheldon’s gridiron career in American took another turn for the better last week when he was a member of the North Carolina Tar Heels side which had its first win for the season.

The former Kyabram Football Club defender had three punts for an aggregate of 128 yards, with included a season best so far 45 yarder, in the win.

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