Eagles run over Kyabram

September 29, 2016

Mansfield players celebrate winning the GVFL reserves grand final. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

In only their second grand final in 15 years, Kyabram’s reserves were over-run by a persistent Mansfield in Sunday’s Goulburn Valley Football League decider.

The full time margin was worth two goals.

The Eagles withstood the Bombers for three quarters and initially at least took too long to get the ball upfield.

But as Mansfield edged closer on the scoreboard as the final term progressed, there was a turnaround in both momentum and mindset.

Then it became Kyabram’s defenders missing tackles and the Eagles passing with more urgency.

And with 10 minutes left on the clock, Mansfield had the lead for the first time in the match.

The Eagles had weathered the on-field storm, tamed a tricky cross-field breeze and kicked two clutch goals in an at-times tense last quarter to hang on for the win.

Bomber coach Jarrod Chapman’s black duffel coat matched the prevailing — if temporary — mood of the players as they milled around post-siren, listening to the Mansfield theme tune blaring nearby.

‘‘They’re a very good side and we had to play at our best all day,’’ he said of being denied a chance to upset the pre-game favourites.

But Chapman wouldn’t buy into any suggestion that Lachie Dillon’s yellow card — for lashing out at Mansfield’s James Octigan minutes from full time — cost them a last-minute form reversal.

‘‘It was before that when they (Eagles) had the wind and momentum — and height,’’ he said.

Conversely, Chapman could see how well his men had played, particularly early in the contest.

‘‘When the pressure was on early, they used the ball well into the breeze,’’ he said.

As for 2017, that would be a case of ‘‘we’ll see’’, according to Chapman.

‘‘I’ll have to clear it with the wife and kids,’’ he laughed.

—Ben Carter

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