Kyabram Free Press
Bombers soar over Swans
THE new look Kyabram Bombers brushed aside Shepparton Swans in Goulburn Valley League football on Saturday at Kyabram to set up a much anticipated showdown against Echuca this weekend.
In fact, coach Brad Edwards claims Kyabram’s trip to Echuca will be one of his team’s biggest challenges in several years.
Kyabram’s 2019 grand final rival bounced back from a surprise first round loss to Seymour to win well at Benalla on Saturday and will be desperate to try and end its losing streak to the reigning premier which stretches nine seasons.
The Bombers knocked the Swans over by 94 points in Saturday’s second GVL round without nine players from their 2019 premiership line-up.
Four of the players — Mick Mattingly, Tom Sheldon, Axel Child and Hayden Gemmill — are still at the club but missed Saturday’s clash.
Co-coach Mattingly and possibly Sheldon will return this Saturday for the Echuca match.
Although it's early days, some of the new faces in the Bombers sides have shown in two games they up to the challenge of holding down a regular spot in the team.
New midfielders Zac Keogh and Kaine Herbert have shown in two games they are well above being capable replacements for those who have left the club.
They are potential matchwinners while another new face, Nic Denahy, looks a composed player in Kyabram’s already potent midfield and on-ball brigade and was particularly good in the first half.
Reid Crowe, who had an injury interrupted debut season with the Bombers in 2019, is also showing some encouraging form.
On Saturday Keogh, Herbert, Denahy and Josh Dillon continually pumped the ball into Kyabram’s
forward line, reaping the dominance of ruckman Zac Norris who put in another top display.
Key players in Kyabram’s attack and defence also stood up in the win.
Lachie Smith was back to his magical marking best with his trademark intercepts while Jason Morgan kept new Swans fullforward Michael Cook, who kicked nine goals in the opening round, to just one goal.
Smith and Morgan got plenty of support on the day from Sean Dillon, Jack Sheldon and Jake Parkinson.
Up the other end of the ground the Swans had no answer to Kyabram’s Big Three — Kayne Pettifer, Brad Mangan and Kyle Mueller.
Pettifer defied his 40 years to slot 8.1, including a hot candidate for goal-of-the-year, a mid-air kick that sailed through the goals from 40m out.
The fast, elusive and strong marking Mueller didn’t have his straight kicking boot on early but ended up with 6.5 to heap more scoreboard misery on the Swans.
And the young brigade and future stars of the Kyabram team in Riley Ironside, who was good when moved into defence late in the game, Aiden Robinson, Mitch Gugliotti, Billy Mclay, Cooper Vick and Tom Burnett all did a bit in the win and will gain more confidence with every appearance.
Kyabram copped a threequarter-time dressing down from coach Brad Edwards after being outscored in the third term and answered by kicking nine goals to one in the final stanza.
The Swans won’t be playing finals but this Saturday’s rival Echuca will, so it's a major early season challenge for Kyabram.
■ KYABRAM reserves were too strong for the Swans.
The Bombers were in command from the start and with Tom
Curnow a reliable target at the goalmouth, skipped to an early lead which they built on as the game progressed.
Curnow finished with four goals and reaped the benefits of prime movers in onballer Liam Dillon and midfielder Cade Mueller.
Ruckman Jayden Fitzgerald also set up a lot of chances for his teammates.
Mobile Sam Langley was another player to win the ball regularly for the winners while Jarod Pertzel, Noah Ryan and Luke Donnell also played well in the 65-point victory.
■ KYABRAM thirds reaped the benefits of accurate forward work to open their season with a 20-point win.
The Swans had five more shots on goal but with Charlie Barnett showing the way and booting six of Kyabram’s 10 goals, the Bombers prevailed by 20 points.
Barnett and defenders Jordan O’neill, Will Burnett were standouts for the Bombers and received a lot of support from Blake Mcauliffe and Adam Pulsoni.
Onballers in Kaleb Williams and ruckman Mitch Fitzgerald also put in good games along with Jack Millar.
■ KYABRAM’S under 16 side is still chasing its first win in the new league age group after going down to an impressive Shepparton Swans side.
The young Bombers led for the first quarter but then fell behind and ended up losing by 48 points.
Good players in the previous week’s loss to Rochester in Millar Griffiths and Ben Railton were busy again for the Bombers while ruckman Archie Watt was prominent all day.
Riley Williams and Bailey White also stood out at times.