Upset had been brewing
THE first strong hint that the Shepparton Bears had bridged what seemed to be an unbridgeable divide against Kyabram came in the first week of the GVL finals.
The Bombers had scored two wins by 10 goals over the Bears during the home-andaway series but in the qualifying final the Bears had got within 15 points and played better football on the day.
There was another sign the Bombers had come back to the field in the second semi-final when Echuca, who had been smashed by over 70 points by the Bombers in their two home-and-away confrontations, pushed Kyabram to the limit for three quarters.
These two under-par efforts by Kyabram’s lofty standards no doubt strengthened the self-belief of the Bears going into the decider.
And it was this self-belief, persistence, a little more leg speed and a ruckman called Ash Holland that brought down Kyabram last Sunday and ended the recordbreaking winning streak of 62 games.
Yes, the Bombers had their chances to win it but the agonising truth was they didn’t. So you have to give credit where credit is due — Shepparton earned and deserved their first flag in 18 years.
Saying that, the Bombers can still be immensely proud of their achievements over the past three years, as can their respected coach Paul Newman.
Newman tasted defeat for the first time in his coaching tenure with the Bombers with Sunday’s loss, but with a 62-1 winning strike rate Newman also has to be mighty proud of his coaching record, which will probably never be matched in the GVL.
Lancaster thirds triumph against the odds
I MUST add my congratulations to the Lancaster Football Club thirds side, which claimed the premiership last Saturday in the Kyabram District Football League deciders.
The young Wombats battled for numbers all season but starred on the big stage when it counted most — at finals time.
They came from an elimination final win to premiers in a remarkable show of spirit against massive odds.
Coach Michael Mott and his players will treasure this unforgettable journey in what was one of the real feel-good stories from all the region’s premiership showdowns.
Now that’s a purple patch
AND while on great grand final wins, Nathalia has been as good as it comes in the modern era when it comes to winning country flags.
Nine premierships in 14 seasons is what the Murray League Purples are boasting after they outclassed Barooga at Rumbalara in the season showdown last Saturday.
The win completed another streak of four successive flag triumphs, a feat the club achieved in 2005, ‘06, ‘07 and ‘08. They were also premiers in 2012.
And Kyabram had a strong connection in the latest win with former Bomber Craig Kellow coaching the side and ex-Bombers Mick Croxford and Ryan Butler, who kicked three goals, sharing in the win.
Craig has coached Nathalia to its last four flags, Mick has now been in four premiership sides with the club and Ryan has savoured the last two flag wins. It can’t get much better than that.
And in another Kyabram connection in a premiership triumph last weekend, Julia Crockett-Grills was in the Hawthorn team which beat Geelong for the VFL Women’s League flag.
No medals for Bombers
THERE was no medal joy for Kyabram Football Netball Club players at the GVL medal count last week.
In the Morrison Medal, shared by Benalla’s Sam Martyn and Shepparton’s Nik Rokahr with 22 votes, Liam Ogden did best of the Kyabram players with 16 votes.
There was also a tie in the reserves Abikhair Medal between between Rochester’s Sam Frawley and Shepparton’s Mitch Heggart while Shepparton Swans’ Zac Alderton and Shepparton’s Hugo Ingham produced another dead heat in the thirds Pattison Medal.
In netball, Tatura’s Emma Ryan claimed the Wellman Family Medal while Seymour’s Andrea McKenzie, Shepparton Swans’ Jasmine Marshall, Mooroopna’s Lacey Paaka and Tatura’s Elsie Boyer took the B, B Reserve, Under 17 and Under 15 top individual awards respectively.
Narrowest of margins in netball deciders
THE GVL netball courts on Sunday’s grand final day were not for the faint-hearted.
Particularly for Echuca and Shepparton Bears supporters in the A and B grade season deciders.
Shepparton beat Echuca by one goal for the B grade flag and in the A grade final it was Echuca’s turn, also winning by one goal.
Heathcote turns to Primmer
HEATHCOTE Football Club has made an interesting coaching appointment for the 2019 season.
The club has signed on former Essendon player Wayne Primmer as non-playing coach for the next two seasons.
Primmer, 59, takes over from Luke Bell, who has coached the club for the past two seasons.
Primmer played 40 games with Essendon and had a standout season in 1978 with his 47 goals winning him the club’s goalkicking award.
After his time at Essendon he played for West Torrens in the South Australian Football League and since then has coached Lalbert (now Murray Eagles) in the Central Murray League and in 2016 and 2017 he led Sandhurst into finals in the Bendigo League.