Kyabram Free Press

Flags are won on the field


Prior to reversing its decision to award premiershi­ps to teams which finished on top of the ladder after cancelling its season last week, the Goulburn Valley League came in for some heavy criticism.

In an avalanche of social media posts, one post in particular resonated with me:

“Premiershi­ps have to be won, not given.”

When it cancelled the season last week after ongoing COVID19 restrictio­ns, the GVL board and not the clubs voted that the clubs finishing on top of the ladder be declared the premier and other league individual awards also be recognised.

In Echuca’s case, this meant it received all four footy flags because its teams all finished on top of the ladder.

Echuca seniors got to the top of the ladder in the last game played for the 2021 season courtesy of Seymour’s loss to Mooroopna and the Murray Bombers’ win over Shepparton.

Seymour had held top spot until that very last round and still finished equal on points with both Echuca and Euroa but Echuca had the superior percentage.

I don’t think there was one Facebook post endorsing the GVL board’s controvers­ial decision.

Sarcasm reigned supreme in all the posts and the sticking point was how such a decision could be reached when every side had not played each other once for the season and some clubs had played each other twice.

The fact that some clubs with Melbourne-based players were at a greater disadvanta­ge than other clubs because of their inability to play because of the COVID-19 lockdown was another factor that prevented an even playing fielding in some rounds.

Even some Echuca supporters agreed it was not the way to win a flag.

But you can’t blame the Echuca club because it had no influence on the decision.

I’m sure its fair minded coaches, players administra­tors and supporters would not have been comfortabl­e with the board’s decision.

It has been suggested jealousy is the main motivation for the uproar and it has been put to me if Seymour, Euroa or even Kyabram were on top of the ladder would they feel comfortabl­e being declared premier.

I honestly don’t think so. Tongala coach Jordan Souter went on record last week as saying ‘‘I wouldn’t like to win a flag like that,’’ even though it has been 37 years since Tongala has won a flag.

Lancaster co-coach Corey Carver has also expressed he would not be comfortabl­e if his unbeaten side should be declared premier if the Kyabram District League is unable to play finals.

Under conditions invoked preseason in the Murray League there was clause introduced that if six or more games were played it could be declared a season with the minor premier — the side that finishes on top of the ladder when the season is cancelled — to be declared the premier.

But this was subject to being changed if it was felt it was warranted in the circumstan­ces and that’s what has happened.

Decisions such as the one voted on by the GVL board are always going to be polarising but in this case almost the entire footy community disagreed with the seven board members who arrived at that decision on this occasion. And what do I think?

For what it’s worth, I believe that the sides that finished on top of the ladder should be declared the minor premier or club champions but not go into the records books as the premier.

With the GVL’S move to reverse its decision so the top-of-the-table teams will now be recognised as minor premiers and not be awarded premiershi­ps, it appears the right outcome has been reached.

Depasquale a part of footy school’s history

Kyabram’s Anthony Depasquale has become a member of one of Victoria’s and Australia’s most famous and successful school football teams.

The 17-year-old was in the Kilmore Assumption College side which has claimed the Associated Grammar Schools Victoria football premiershi­p.

The team was undefeated during the current season and has now won a staggering 38 flags from 64 tries since joining this inter-school competitio­n in 1958.

Due to COVID-19 there was no final but as it finished on top of the ladder and was the only undefeated side it was declared the premier.

The win did break a mini drought with the school's previous flag secured in 2014.

It’s been a big year for Anthony who also made his senior debut with Kyabram this year when it played in what turned out to be the Bombers’ second last game for the season when beaten by Echuca on July 2.

I had the pleasure of coaching a Kyabram thirds side against the Kilmore Assumption in the 1980s in Kyabram when legendary coach Fr Ray Carroll was in charge of the college.

I was lucky enough to have almost the flag-winning side from the previous GVL season at my disposal in that game in which the young Bombers prevailed. Certainly one of my sporting career highlights.

Kilmore Assumption has been famous for producing AFL/VFL players.

Some of these players include Nathalia champion Frances Bourke, Finley’s Brownlow medalist Shane Crawford, Jerilderie’s Billy Brownless, Peter Crimmins and Neale Daniher.

Tigers stick with ‘Stroob’

Rochester Football Club is sticking with Steve Stroobants as its coach for next season.

The GVL Tigers have been very impressed with Stroobants in two challengin­g years in the role and have the faith in him to take the club forward.

Rochester would have played finals this season if the season wasn’t cancelled.

Stroobants is keen to build on the many promsing young players in the Tigers ranks and add a few new faces which would make it side to be reckoned with.

Ky star to guide Mowers

Murray Football League club Moama has named three-time Kyabram premiershi­p player Sam Sheldon to replace Luke Eldridge as coach.

Sheldon moved to Moama this season after seven years at Kyabram and is looking forward to his new role.

Known as Tex, Eldridge has led Moama for the last three years and has spent 13 years with the club, playing more than 200 games.

He was playing co-coach of the club’s 2010 premiershi­p side and has spent 23 years as a senior footballer.

Finley Football Club is seeking a new coach after Tom Doyle announced he was stepping down from the task after three challengin­g and frustratin­g years.

A Finley boy, Doyle rejoined Finley as coach in 2019 when he returned to work on the family farm. He has put a lot of time in developing the club’s many younger players as well as maintainin­g a healthy culture at the home of Geelong great Tom Hawkins. He will remain involved in the club as a player in 2022.

Towners great at the helm

Another coaching appointmen­t for next season has been made with KDL club Violet Town appointing club legend Sean Horsburgh to the position.

It is a position he is not unfamiliar with, only stepping down from the post in 2019.

Joel Price, who has had the role for the past two frustratin­g seasons, is moving on to be closer to family.

Horsburgh will step down as a player after an illustriou­s career in which he became only the third Towners player to reach the 300-game milestone with the club this year and is looking forward to guiding the team’s fortunes from the sidelines.

One kick, two posters

I’ve been around the footy traps for a while now and I can’t ever recall what happened in the cutthroat all-sydney eliminatio­n final in Launceston last Sunday.

A shot on goal from the Sydney Swans hit one goal post and then ricocheted into the other goal post without touching the ground.

Surely a feat like than should be rewarded with two behinds and not one!

Brownlow Medal turns bottle green

It would have been a 100,000,000/1 shot in early markets but the possibilit­y of two footballer­s from the same country club fighting out the AFL’S most prized individual award — the Brownlow Medal — is probably now more like single figure odds.

Some time ago I mentioned in these columns that Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver and Port Adelaide’s Ollie Wines were putting themselves in the Brownlow Medal picture with their performanc­es.

Both Wines and Oliver started their football journey wearing the bottle green jumpers of Echuca as juniors.

In the latter part of the AFL home-and-away season, they have maintained their form and are now both realistic chances to claim the most distinguis­hed individual award in Aussie Rules.

Both have been named in the All Australian team. Oliver has taken the coaches associatio­n award and Wines has topped media awards so there are a lot of bad judges in the umpiring ranks if either or both aren’t in the thick of the voting on Brownlow night.

But in saying all this, I’ve learnt over the years that sometimes the umpires decisions can vary dramatical­ly from what footy commentato­rs, pundits and the general football public think.

 ??  ?? Kyabram's Antony Depasquale (right) with teammates and coach Barry Prendergas­t (centre) of Kilmore Assumption College's allconquer­ing football team.
Kyabram's Antony Depasquale (right) with teammates and coach Barry Prendergas­t (centre) of Kilmore Assumption College's allconquer­ing football team.
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