Kyabram Free Press


Veteran steers Ky to hard-fought win against Tongala

- By Gus Underwood

THERE were plenty of hiccups but Kyabram’s 2019 GVL campaign got off to a positive start with a tough win over an impressive Tatura on Saturday at Kyabram.

The Bombers were seriously challenged by their hard-running rivals and even looked in a spot of trouble early in the last quarter when the Bulldogs kicked three unanswered goals to draw within three points. But just as it looked questionab­le whether the home side were going to have the legs to outlast their rivals their oldest player, 36-year-old Kayne Pettifer, provided the answer. He scored successive inspiratio­nal goals to provide crucial breathing space.

The Pettifer goals came from the 11-minute mark of the last term and were the first Kyabram had scored since six minutes into the third term — an alarming stat ordinarily but not at this stage of the season.

In the end Kyabram steadied things down enough to get home by a comfortabl­e 23 points.

And just as they have done for 63 of their past 64 games Kyabram found a way to win.

That was the big positive out of the game as far as co-coach Paul Newman was concerned.

‘‘We looked in trouble when they came really hard at us early in the last quarter so to steady and get on top again was really good,’’ he said. ‘‘I think they (Tatura) are a pretty good side so I was pretty happy with our effort.’’

Another plus was the fact that five senior players — Jake Reeves, Bill Burstin, Hayden Gemmill, Brad Whitford and recruit Reid Crowe — were missing from the Kyabram line-up.

Gemmill and Whitford may be back for this Saturday’s game.

Early on Saturday it was cocoach Sam Sheldon, Mick Mattingley, Josh Pell, Josh Dillon, Zac Norris, Lachie Smith and Josh Dillon who kept Kyabram’s nose in front.

Zac Norris battled manfully against two classy and big-bodied rivals and Mattingly was telling with his running power and silky skills. But it was Aaron Hayes, Cade Mueller, Josh Dillon and Luke Morris in particular who made the most impact to keep Kyabram in front after half-time.

Hayes, who missed last season’s grand final, had a blinder of a third term along with Smith, Pell and Jordan Williams in Ky’s defence, ensuring Kyabram had a handy buffer going into the last quarter.

Axel Childs was influentia­l in his 100th game with the club while Lachie Smith and Josh Pell were best of the defenders, with support from Jordan Williams and Jason Morgan.

Josh Vick, as usual, did some timely spoiling work in his return to full back.

Patrick Wearden was also a good contributo­r for the Bombers with his mobility and provided spark when it was needed.

Club stalwarts in Nic Coulstock and Brad Edwards were prominent, but some of Kyabram’s key playmakers were well down on the day.

Tatura have picked up some impressive recruits in Numurkah trio Nick Fothergill, Jordan O’Dwyer and Braydon Sutton while Jason Tutt is another classy pick-up.

Jaydan Thewma showed he is a dangerous forward and Matt Shannon, who is on the comeback trail, stepped up after a slow start along with another returning player, James Sullivan, who made an impact early.

Brad Ryan was good in defence all day and coach Jamason Daniels picked up a lot of possession­s.

Apart from the loss the downside for Tatura was a knee injury to dual best and fairest winner Mitch Elliott, which won’t be diagnosed until this week. But the fears are it could be a major injury.

Kyabram meets another first round winner, Shepparton, this Saturday at Deakin Reserve and shouldn’t need much motivation to be extra hungry for a win, with last season’s agonising grand final loss still fresh in the memory.

My best for Kyabram were Mick Mattingley, Lachie Smith, Josh Pell, Zac Norris, Axel Childs, Patrick Wearden, Aaron Hayes.

■ A new-look Kyabram reserves side put in a spirited effort against Tatura, going down by seven points in an entertaini­ng clash.

Given there were only three players from last season’s premiershi­p side in their line-up the Bombers gave signs that things mightn’t be as bad as it looked after the exodus of players over the summer months.

It was the work of players such as onballer Locky Dillon and ruckman Ben Napier who were the inspiratio­ns behind Kyabram’s plucky effort.

Dillon won the ball at will all day to provide selectors of a reminder he is still about while Napier’s dominant ruck work generally gave Kyabram first use of the sherrin from the stoppages.

Kyabram also may have unearthed a recruit in solid forward Jika Lovett who presented well in attack and kicked three goals.

In defence Will Wild was solid and Daniel Gentle did a lot of positive work and Maddern Genio was also active in Ky’s forward half.

Last year’s thirds players Billy McLay, Harry Browning-Briese and Leighton Ironside also made solid contributi­ons for the Bombers in their step up to senior grade football.

■ Kyabram thirds had a big win to open the season.

Tatura, battling for numbers, opted for a 16-player clash and were always going to find it tough going, eventually going down by 128 points.

New Kyabram skipper Mitch Gugliotti set the example for his teammates with a tireless and classy display on ball while up forward Ethan Palma-Ludeman was unstoppabl­e in doing the finishing off work.

Palma-Ludeman’s strong bodywork and marking resulted in an eight-goal haul and he unselfishl­y handed off a couple more.

Kyabram has plenty of new faces in their team this season and Tongala recruit Elijah Gillie showed enough to suggest he is a good pick-up.

And a familiar, long-standing Kyabram footballin­g name in Cox was also very impressive.

Ryan Cox is the son of former Bomber Mal Cox and a member of the Wilf Cox clan, the GVL’s first Morrison Medallist.

Noah Ryan, from another Kyabram footballin­g family, also showed out in attack.

Cooper Gentle and Connor Hawes were other players to make an impact for the Bombers.

 ?? Picture: Cath Grey ?? Kayne Pettifer of Kyabram during the GVL football game between Kyabram and Tatura.
Picture: Cath Grey Kayne Pettifer of Kyabram during the GVL football game between Kyabram and Tatura.

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