Bombers back where they be­long

Campaspe News - - SPORT - By ANDREW JOHN­STON

LEITCHVILLE-GUN­BOWER back on top of the HDFNL. But it’s come on a sour note. The Bombers came away with a 68-point vic­tory against lo­cal ri­vals LBU, but they could spend the next few weeks with­out a num­ber of play­ers.

While coach Michael Pilcher isn’t wor­ried about the im­pact on per­for­mance, he ad­mits it sours his club’s view of its cur­rent po­si­tion.

‘‘A lot of peo­ple are talk­ing ex­ter­nally about us be­ing back on top,’’ he said.

‘‘But we know within the walls of our club that we are miss­ing a few of our play­ers, which hurts us.

‘‘We have the play­ers in our re­serves ready to take those spots in the side, and we will go into the match with North Bendigo as con­fi­dent as we would ev­ery other game, but it is dis­ap­point­ing for our group to know a few of our mates are hurt.’’

But it shouldn’t take the shine off a great win.

The Bombers were at their ab­so­lute best, boot­ing six first quar­ter goals, putting the con­test in their con­trol from the early stages.

De­spite a valiant ef­fort from the Cats, the Bombers were not go­ing to be stopped.

Jake Van­don­gen booted seven — tak­ing his tally from the last two games to 15 — while at the other end Tyler Phillips kicked three for the Cats.

While the bests show usual sus­pects like Glee­son and Lin­coln for the Bombers, Pilcher — who was him­self named on that list in his re­turn from in­jury — doesn’t agree.

‘‘We firmly be­lieve that our back six were our best play­ers,’’ he said.

‘‘They were fan­tas­tic in shut­ting down the LBU for­wards. They only kicked six goals for the day, and to keep a side with that kind of scor­ing prow­ess to six is a great ef­fort, so we think it was their day.’’

Of those six, it was Phillips’ three that had the most at­ten­tion.

LBU coach Kahl Oliver spoke highly of his young for­ward.

‘‘He’s a 19-year-old kid play­ing in one of the hard­est po­si­tions on the ground,’’ Oliver said. are

‘‘He’s taken a bit of time to get to this form, but we are really happy with how he has come along to now.’’

Oliver ad­mit­ted his op­po­si­tion had just been too strong on the day.

‘‘They’re ob­vi­ously a very good side,’’ he said.

‘‘They played some really good football and had us play­ing catchup, es­pe­cially af­ter the first quar­ter.’’

LBU re­mains rid­dled with in­juries, so much so that Oliver pulled the boots on for a sec­ond time this sea­son.

‘‘I do en­joy it, it’s help­ful to have that ex­pe­ri­enced head around the young play­ers at times,’’ he said.

‘‘But it’s not some­thing I want to be do­ing ev­ery week, I want our best 22 out there ev­ery chance we can get.’’

Pho­tos: Luke He­mer.

LBU’s Xavier Kelly (above) gets a kick away un­der pres­sure from LeitchvilleGun­bower’s Lin­coln Sieben dur­ing the HDFNL seniors football match on Satur­day. Also in the same game, the Cats’ Simon Ste­wart was able to ex­tend him­self while driv­ing the ball down­field.

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