Sport

The occasion

by
September 29, 2016

Chris Atkins, left, watches as Luke Morris (right) runs in to celebrate with a teammate at the sounding of the siren. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Kyabram Bombers supporters L-R: Katie Cordingley, Rachel McCormack, Ashleigh Cottrill holding Ryder McCormack, Rachel McCormack holding Hunter McCormack, Kirsten Oughton holding Mason Croxford. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Grand, old-time stuff

Kyabram can claim to be the ultimate grand masters of Goulburn Valley footy after Sunday’s historic 13-point win over Rochester.

The result meant a perfect 21-0 season streak for the Bombers, making them only the second side in the annals of GVFL folklore to go through a year unbeaten.

The other was Nagambie, back in 1939. They took 14 games in a competition restricted in size due to the Second World War.

The ‘‘Lakers’’ as they are known, dress in the red-white-black stylings of St Kilda.

And, appropriately, it was another traditionally-trimmed team in the red-sash-on-black of Kyabram’s Bombers who equalled the record. And arguably surpassed its magnitude at the same time.

By beating the Tigers — yellow-sash-on-black in the playing shirt department.

It was that kind of day.

A delightful hark-back to the old school of football.

And entirely appropriate in an otherwise often zing-zang new era of AFL at a national level, which dominates the public discourse.

But the public came to Deakin Reserve on Sunday.

With kind weather, a good crowd assembled to see something they wouldn’t otherwise get at the top of the footy tree this year.

Bombers and Tigers playing off in a grand final.

With the Bombers victorious.

That’s what makes country footy great.

Same sport, different perspective.

And, this being grand final week for the top flight, there were other familiar names cropping up on the title tally over the weekend.

Footscray (as in the still-proper suburban version) won the VFL premiership to kick off the road to the decider for their AFL bigger brother Western Bulldogs, who will be aiming to end more than 60 years of hurt (England’s footballers know the feeling).

While across in South Australia the good old Double Blues of Sturt found the flag for the first time in almost 15 years.

The only element of spectacle possibly lacking on Sunday was a plush Tiger (or Tigger) waved by Rochy fans from the sidelines. Maybe next year?

However, the fairytale script was written with Kyabram in the starring role.

And Bomber coach Paul Newman taking his team to the summit of the sport.

As he said on the podium, premierships are very hard to win.

And perfect seasons are even harder to achieve.

Still, they have one now.

‘‘Thanks for an amazing year,’’ Newman said on the podium prior to receiving the trophy.

‘‘These things mean a lot to a lot of people.’’

Kyabram continued its song and dance routine above in the grandstand, while Rochester’s players trudged off directly underneath into the dressing room.

At the sounding of the final siren, it was Queen’s Brit-pomp anthem ‘‘We Are The Champions’’ which blared out over the public address system.

While not the traditional team song, you can’t easily tire of it.

The tune never gets old.

Brian May’s guitar still sounds like Brian May.

Kyabram’s way still succeeded like Kyabram’s way.

These are the champions.

Of the GVFL? Undisputed.

Of Kyabram? Absolutely.

So, with an eye on the coaching journey of Doggies’ AFL mentor Luke Beveridge — from a suburban amateur side three-peat with the St Bede’s Mentone Tigers to a defining meeting with Sydney’s Swans — where to next for Newman?

Plucked from semi-obscurity to lead Essendon in 2018? That’d be another fairytale entirely.

Maybe one’s enough for today.

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