TIME TO DARE AT BEARS’ LAIR
ONE more stand.
A chance at the ultimate prize is what awaits.
The Echuca Murray Bombers will make the voyage to Deakin Reserve in Shepparton on Sunday to face the Bears with the opportunity to play in a Goulburn Valley League grand final on the line.
Both sides would have some feelings that — if they do get there — maybe they are more of a chance to break the mighty Kyabram down.
In fact, perhaps the GVL premiership is not that far out of reach for the remaining teams.
Kyabram have twice showed mortality this season and it’s come in their past two games.
Whoever enters the grand final will have some serious belief that they can finally get the win.
But two strong teams will have to butt heads first to get the chance.
The Shepparton Bears were not the same side in 2018 they were in 2017.
They dropped games they weren’t expected to, they didn’t always produce their best football.
But they were still the second best side in the competition in 2018.
Only two weeks ago, the Bears sent a hell of a fright through Kyabram at Victoria Park.
After a slow start last week, Shepparton dispatched of Mansfield to get one more shot.
In Echuca and Shepparton’s sole meeting for the year, things went badly for the Murray Bombers.
The Bears handed out a 57-point thrashing in their round nine meeting, keeping Echuca out of the game after quarter time.
Since that day, the Bears are nine from 11, with just two losses to Kyabram as marks on their record. Sound familiar? It should, because that’s Echuca’s exact form line since that day.
And both teams were blown out in the regular season, and massively reigned in the margin come finals. So, what has changed in that time? Echuca has gained a number of players back from injury.
So these teams will now line up incredibly well against one another in this coming match.
Echuca’s young brigade will be a concern for Shepparton.
Noah Wheeler has been elite in his appearances for the club this season, being named in the best in all seven of his appearances, including a three-goal effort on Saturday against Kyabram.
Cameron Valentine has proved to be one of the best defenders in the competition in recent weeks, with his intercept marking against Kyabram playing a key role in slowing the Bombers down, while his performance against Tatura arguably won the game for the Murray Bombers.
At the other end, centre halfforward Angus Byrne will be a massive headache for the Bears as a direct match-up, as well in allowing Tim Allan into the game.
This will be nothing like playing Echuca in round nine.
This team is far better than they were at that stage, and arguably better than anyone expected them to be this quickly.
The cream remains as good as ever, the youth has more than stood up. This is Echuca’s moment. And we expect them take it. Prediction: Echuca by 10 points.
LET’S GO: Kane Morris and his Echuca teammates are making a path to the GVL grand final with only Shepparton Bears standing in their way.