It's been a memorable 2016 and it could be just as good in 2017.
That’s the whisper around the local footy traps.
Kyabram Bombers have hardly finished celebrating their recent unbeaten GVFL premiership season and excitement is already building for its defence of the title.
The optimism has been created by very few departures and the latest signing of a former star player.
Brad Mangan has committed to play with the Bombers in 2017.
Mangan, 25, is the youngest player ever to have pulled on a senior jumper with the club.
He had just turned 15 when he made his debut in 2006 under Mark Adamson against Rochester.
Mangan was rookie listed by the Kangaroos in 2012 after spending a season with VFL club Werribee in 2011 before moving to South Australia in 2013 where he put in a season with West Adelaide.
He returned to Victoria in 2014 and spent that season and last year with Williamstown in the VFL.
This year he played with Strathmore in the Essendon District League.
Mangan said he is looking forward to his home club and renewing some friendships with teammates before leaving the Bombers after the 2009 grand final when Kyabram lost the grand final against Mansfield.
Kyabram coach Paul Newman welcomed the news Mangan was returning to play with the Bombers.
‘‘It seems he has been away for an eternity and it will fantastic to have him back. He is very versatile and can play anywhere as well so that’s a huge bonus,’’ Newman added.
At this stage the losses from this season’s Kyabram premiership side are minimal.
Chris Atkins and Nathan Beck are gone, coach Paul Newman is ‘‘pretty sure’’ he is retired and Axel Childs is uncertain due to employment.
At this stage Mangan is the only notable recruit although former Brisbane Lion Sam Sheldon will also come back into the side next season after a hamstring injury sidelined him for this season’s grand final.
Early final here to stay
The Goulburn Valley Football League’s claim to being the last of the Victorian league’s to stage its grand final may be now a thing of the past.
Clubs have indicated they are in favour of staging the season decider the weekend before the AFL grand final as was the case this year.
This means the GVL finals series will be conducted from September 2 with the grand final at Deakin Reserve, Shepparton, on Sunday September 24.
While the final draft is still to be provided to clubs for feedback on specific games and requests the following has been locked in for the 2017 season:
• The season will commence at Easter with round one to be played the weekend April 14 and 15 with some games on Easter Friday (April 14).
• A full bye will be held for the AFL Victoria Community Championships in May where the GVFL expect to face off against the Ovens and Murray League.
• A split round will be held over two weekends for round 16
MURCHISON lost a favourite son last week with the death of Laurie Dwyer.
Dwyer, a member of Murchison’s Dwyer clan, enjoyed an illustrious career with North Melbourne and although small in stature - he was 173cm and weighed just 65kg - his skilful style of play caught the eyes of umpires.
He was runner-up in the Brownlow Medal in 1961 and again in 1967 and was third in 1960. He won North Melbourne best and fairest award - the Syd Barker Medal - in 1961 and 1967.
Dwyer played 201 games in the royal blue and white stripes between 1956 and 1970 and was named on a wing in North Melbourne’s official ’Team of the Century’.
His prowess as a ballroom dancer also earned him the nickname of "twinkletoes" from supporters.
He was part of the historic 1975 North Melbourne premiership as its runner.
After his time at North he became a recruiting officer at the Sydney Swans and among the names he helped recruit to that club included Michael O’Loughlin, Brett Kirk, Paul Roos and Tony Lockett.
During the 1960s and 1970s Dwyer ran a sporting goods store in Pascoe Vale and entered into the hotel business in Brunswick in the 1980s.
Two of his sons also played for North Melbourne, Anthony and David.
He won the Jack Titus Award in 1999.
Dwyer died on October 17 at the age of 77.
KYABRAM’s young trots trainer-driver Tiana McMahon took just six days to improve her winning Victorian record by 200 per cent.
After partnering the Gary Pekin trained Illawong Fantasia to a runaway victory at Bendigo on October 13 to bring up her second success in this State, Tiana repeated the dose on the same pacer at last Wednesday night’s meet in Kilmore.
Illawong Fantasia, owned by the Stanhope trainer’s wife Jane, has brained her rivals in her two wins under Tiana’s driving.
In her Bendigo win the seven-year-old won by 16 metres in a personal best mile rate of 1.55.6 and at Kilmore she had nearly 23 to spare over the runner-up.
Tiana, 19, drove seven winners in South Australia before moving to Kyabram 18 months ago.