WITH husband Russell Barrett on the Bombers’ coaching staff, son Liam in seniors and son Drew in reserves, Kyabram’s Cathy Barrett had a nervous day ahead of her on Sunday.
But she had nothing to worry about, because every one of them came away with a flag.
Although the reserves’ one-point win kept Cathy – and the whole of Deakin Reserve – holding their breath.
“It was tough watching Drew’s game. I knew he really wanted to win and it was a nail-biting finish. I was almost sick with nervousness,” she said.
“And I went into the seniors game just as anxious. Everyone wants to knock off the favourites. I didn’t settle until the siren went.”
Russell and Cathy’s nephew Jesse Cucinotta also made a winning appearance on Sunday, playing in Shepparton United thirds.
Although proudly wearing Bombers’ red and black, blood proved thicker than water with Cathy barracking for her nephew.
“My heart was with Kyabram and it was very sad to see them lose. But of course we were still very excited to see Jesse come away with a win,” she said.
The Barrett family – which also includes daughter Ellen and son Mitch – say they have been sports-mad from day one.
When it wasn’t footy it was cricket – and with a coach for a dad, advice was never far away.
“We always had heaps of training gear around the house and if we ever needed feedback we’d just go straight to the coach – which was easy when he was just sitting in the lounge room,” Liam said.
Russell’s advice to his sons was simple but evidently effective – do your best, polish your skills and keep practicing.
And while most believed the Bombers had the premiership in the bag in the lead-up to Sunday, Russell said his sons have only ever focused on the task at hand.
“The boys have never been cocky and both teams have gone in each week focused on the next game – not looking back, not looking forward, but just concentrating on what they need to do at the time,” he said.
This focus paid off on the day, with Drew – a smart, speedy player for the reserves – playing a key role in his team defeating grand final favourites Euroa in a close, scrappy contest.
After seeing three grand final losses while on the reserves side, Drew was elated to celebrate with his brother at the end of the day.
“It was very emotional when we won. When we lost last year, it couldn’t help but dampen the celebrations with the seniors. It felt so good to celebrate alongside them this year,” he said.
After sitting on the edge of his seat during his brother’s game, Liam faced a challenge of his own – helping to secure Kyabram’s record of two consecutive perfect seasons.
A vital link in Kyabram’s defensive unit, the football talent – who already served the Bombers in last year’s premiership win – contributed to an outstanding team effort on the day.
Russell Barrett watched tensely from the sidelines as his son’s team battled for victory against the Bears.
“I didn’t relax until the 24-minute mark of the last quarter. At that point, we were pretty sure we had it,” he said.
While the Barrett family may be made up of drought-breaking, history-making winners, Russell, Liam and Drew point to Cathy as the true family legend.
Although she brushes aside her contributions as minor “background” jobs, Cathy, like many sporting mums, is an unsung hero.
“When they were young I’d cook the teas and get them from point A to B. Now they’re older they can drive, so it’s much easier,” she said.
“Now, I’m mostly just cheering them on.”