Kyabram Free Press

Flag tilt memories still fresh

- Gus Underwood

No prizes for guessing a frequent topic of conversati­on when three of Kyabram’s Warramunda residents get together these days.

Kevin Mcdonell, Leo Connally and Doug Graetz can cast their thoughts back 67 years when Lancaster Football Club played neighbour and arch enemy Undera in the Kyabram District Football League grand final.

They were teammates in the 1954 Lancaster side, which was attempting to win its first flag since 1932.

History reveals Lancaster’s wait for an elusive premiershi­p went on for another 26 years until the Chris Salter-coached Wombats ended the flag drought in 1980.

‘‘We often talk about it,’’ Kevin said this week. ‘‘It was a long time ago now but I can remember we were well beaten. Undera had the Ough brothers and they were too big and strong and experience­d for us.

‘‘I was only 15 and Bruce Sheppard and Max Mclay were about the same age, so we were pretty inexperien­ced.

‘‘I played in a forward pocket, Leo was fullback and Doug, who had been a rugby player, was on a back flank.“

Kevin recalls the game was played on the Kyabram recreation reserve when the goal posts were east and west.

‘‘Dick Jackson umpired the game,’’ Kevin said.

Kevin said he was disappoint­ed the unbeaten Lancaster probably would not get the chance this year to try to win another flag.

‘‘It’s just a shame they probably won’t play (finals series) because they have had a great season,“he said.

Now’s not the time for individual medals

Has the GVL board gone far enough in back-flipping on its decision to award premiershi­ps to sides finishing on top of the ladder after cancelling the season?

The board reversed its decision to award flags after an outcry from fans who were staggered that such a decision — given the circumstan­ces — could be reached.

Those clubs finishing on the top of the ladder will now have the title of minor premier and not premier, which in fact is what they are.

Even Echuca Football Netball Club president Ash Byrne raised a good point when he said that if premiershi­ps had been awarded, who gets in the premiershi­p photos?

The league, however, is standing by its decision to award league medals and other individual awards won during the stop-start and eventually aborted season.

This will take place on Tuesday night, September 21 — almost certainly in a livestream­ed ceremony.

But I’m questionin­g this decision on the same grounds as awarding premiershi­ps.

I can’t see how the awards will carry the same esteem as in an uninterrup­ted season.

The Murray League won’t award individual awards, but the Picola League will.

But in the case of the Picola League it was able to get in a full home-and-away round before the plug was pulled on its season.

That’s not the case in the GVL.

Cricket clubs can apply for grants

Cricket clubs in the area need to be aware the Victorian Government is providing grants to assist with improving infrastruc­ture at their facilities.

A third Victorian Government instalment of $1.4 million is up for grabs for clubs to utilise, for items ranging from training nets to change rooms for female cricketers.

More than $2.8 million has been invested in the program since 2019.

For more informatio­n and to apply, visit:

Applicatio­ns close on September 22.

GVL coaches locked in

GVL clubs have been quick off the mark naming coaches for next year.

Following Kyabram’s announceme­nt that Paul Newman is returning to the role of head coach and Rochester is sticking with Steve Stroobants, Seymour and Shepparton have also decided their senior coaches for next season.

Ben Davey has been reappointe­d at Seymour while Ted Lindon has taken over at Shepparton Football Club from joint coaches Sam Ahmet and Ramadan Yze.

Lindon, who captained Shepparton when it broke Kyabram’s 62-game winning sequence in the 2018 GVL grand final, has been given the job for two years.

Since then Lindon has spent time in the United Kingdom, tried his hand at rugby and spent time with the Southern Mallee Giants in the Wimmera Football League.

Duncan goes again

In the Kyabram District League, Avenel is sticking with Kasey Duncan as coach for next season.

It will be his fourth term in the role and he said it was an easy decision to make when offered the job again, regardless of what happened for the rest of this year.

Duncan won the league Mcnamara Medal in 2016 and has some unfinished business with the club, which is sitting second on the ladder and a main contender for this year’s premiershi­p if the stop-start campaign reaches that stage.

The Swans are seeking an assistant coach for Duncan.

Other KDL clubs in Violet Town and Longwood have named their 2022 coaches during the past couple of weeks.

Club legend Sean Horsburgh is taking on the coaching job again at Violet Town while Mick Galvin will continue in the role at Longwood.

Wines and Oliver make it a perfect 10

The naming of former Echuca footballer­s Ollie Wines and Clayton Oliver in the All Australian side takes the number of Goulburn Valley League club players to 10 who have been awarded the honour.

Kyabram Football Club has had two players — Garry Lyon and Brett Deledio — named in this select side while Shepparton has had three — former North Melbourne captain Anthony Stevens, Melbourne’s Steve Tingay and Geelong ruckman Steven King.

Seymour product and current Fremantle marvel David Mundy, Benalla’s recently retired Port Adelaide player Tom Rockliff, who made the side when playing for Brisbane, and Shepparton United’s Adem Yze make up the list of 10.

Will Priest answer United’s prayers?

Murray Football League clubs Echuca United and Cobram have named their coaches for 2022.

Echuca United is putting its faith in one of its former players, Farran Priest, to resurrect the club’s fortunes next season while Cobram is sticking with John Brunskill, who had the Tigers poised to make a bold bid for this season’s flag until COVID-19 forced the cancellati­on of the season.

Priest, a TAC Cup league Morrish Medallist in his younger days, played in the Eagles’ 2013 premiershi­p side and also in Benalla’s flag-winning side of 2015 when it beat Kyabram.

He returned to Echuca United in 2017 before moving to Heathcote District Football League club Elmore for the ill-fated 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Priest has had a horror run with injuries but hopes to continue playing at some time next year.

He will have a heavy focus on coaching and developing some of the promising younger players in the club.

Local links to AFL finals

There is plenty of district interest in Port Adelaide’s bid to win the AFL flag.

Echuca has produced gun midfielder Ollie Wines while one of his teammates is exciting Deniliquin Rams key poition player Todd Marshall.

And of course another Echuca-raised gun, Clayton Oliver, will have a lot of admirers as Melbourne makes a bid to win its first flag since 1964 — that’s 57 years ago.

Payne gain at Shepp

Kyabram trots trainers have been to the fore in the past week.

Mick Blackmore flew the flag for northern Victorian trainers at last week’s Echuca meeting while Mark Watson and Gary Payne produced winners at the Shepparton meeting on Sunday night.

The Blackmore-prepared Justa Philtra was the only winner from the area at the Frank Ryan Raceway meeting.

The Watson-prepared Miss Artemis made a successful return to racing at Shepparton, gunning down the favourite and pacemaker Argy Bargy over the concluding stages to post her third career win.

The Gary Payne-trained and -driven Artizz broke a drought of over two years out of the winner’s circle with an all-the-way win in which he was a $14 chance in the field of six runners. His 1.59.0 mile rate was the quickest of his three career wins.

 ??  ?? Sticking together:
Kevin Mcdonell, Leo Connally and Doug Graetz are still teammates today, 67 years after playing in Lancaster’s 1954 runners-up side against Undera.
Sticking together: Kevin Mcdonell, Leo Connally and Doug Graetz are still teammates today, 67 years after playing in Lancaster’s 1954 runners-up side against Undera.
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