WHILE their losses are significant, Kyabram Bombers can still be a potent force when they press to complete a club equalling hat-trick of Goulburn Valley Football League premierships in 2018 .
There is no denying players of the calibre of Lachie Smith, Jake Reeves, Rhys Clark, Billy Burstin and Josh Vick have been huge influences in Kyabram’s back-to-back flag triumphs. But there is a still a lot of very capable players remaining in the Kyabram ranks.
And remember the Bombers were at least six to eight goals better than any other side in the league this season.
Talented players who were in this year’s premiership line-up in Jordan Williams, Jason Morgan, Sam Sheldon, Liam Ogden, Kayne Pettifer, Brad Mangan, Kyle Mueller, Hayden Gemmill, Axel Childs Nic Coulstock, Aaron Hayes, Luke Morris, Patrick Wearden, Liam Barrett, Tom Holman, Brad Edwards are all going around again.
There is still a lot of talent in that lot and with Eamonn Ogden returning after two outstanding seasons at Keilor in the Essendon District Football League competition will again be keen to get a senior spot.
Players such as Zac Norris, Josh Pell, Brad Whitford, Drew Barrett, Locky Dillon and Adam Lovison who were members of the reserves premiership side this year have all played with the club at the top level and will all be bursting to get a game. They will get their chance.
Coby McCarthy, Cade Mueller and Tom Schumann are among some talented players emerging next season from the club’s thirds team who are also expected to press for senior selection.
So what I am saying is that anyone who may be thinking the Bombers are in for a big slide should have second thoughts.
The Bombers won’t be as strong as this season but they will still be very hard to beat.
I’ve come up with a team (below?) I’m confident would be more than competitive again next season and one that will do the club proud again despite the losses from this season’s line-up.
Backs: Axel Childs, Adam Lovison, Tom Holman
HB: Liam Barrett, Jason Morgan, Sam Sheldon
C: Patrick Wearden, Eamonn Ogden, Aaron Hayes
HF: Hayden Gemmill, Brad Mangan, Luke Morris
F: Kyle Mueller, Kayne Pettifer, Josh Pell.
Foll: Zac Norris, Jordan Williams, Liam Ogden
Interchange: Nic Coulstock, Brad Edward, Brad Whitford, Locky Dillon, Drew Barrett.
■ Kyabram reserves and thirds coaches for the 2018 season will be named this week.
Boom Blues recruit
COULD Tongala have the Recruit of the Year in its ranks next season?
Champion Northern Territory Thunder club champion Cameron Ilett is being hotly tipped to play with the Blues.
Ilett has been one of Northern Territory’s premier players over the past decade.
He has just enjoyed a stellar final season with Thunder and was runner-up in Most Valuable Player award.
He was also named in the North Eastern Australian Football League’s Team of the Year for the sixth time. He was part of the inaugural Thunder team when it joined the NEAFL in 2009 and since then has played 172 games in nine consecutive seasons.
He has won almost every award as a NEAFL player, including the NEAFL’s Grogan Medal in 2011.
Hicks joins AFLW ranks
FORMER Kyabram female footballer Reni Hicks was picked up in the AFL Women’s draft last week.
Reni was selected by Carlton with pick 29 in the draft.
From Nathalia, Reni was a star in Kyabram and Mooroopna women’s teams before joining VFL Women’s team Diamond Creek this season where she played mainly in defence and as a tagger. She enjoyed a big year, named in the best eight times, including two best on grounds.
At 164cm in height Reni is not an imposing figure but according to Merrigum coach Mick Power, who coached her when she was playing for Kyabram, she plays well above her weight and height.
Goal machine switches clubs
JERILDERIE goalkicking machine Aaron Purcell will join rival club Deniliquin Rovers in Picola Football League’s north west competition next season.
The 39-year-old is a veteran of 318 games for Jerilderie but is best known for kicking 222 goals in the 2013 season — the fifth most ever recorded in a season.
Only Deniliquin’s Trevor Sutton with 249 goals in 1982, Killarney Vale’s Mick Smith with 234 in 1986, Peter Harris with 228 for North Mackay in 1991 and South Mandurah’s Rod Tregenza who booted 223 in 2008 have kicked more goals in a season than Purcell.
Deni Rovers have also recruited Picola United’s dual premiership player Des Morgan and Murray Bushrangers’ Dave Smith in a bid to make a serious assault on the flag next season.
Meanwhile Deniliquin’s major league side Deniliquin Rams have promoted Todd Gallagher to the senior coaching role in the Murray Football League next year.
Gallagher, 25, has served the past two seasons as assistant coach under Gary Parsons who stepped down.
Change at Storm front
FORMER Colbinabbin boy Darryl Wilson’s successor as coach of Strathfieldsaye Football Club in the Bendigo Football League is a high profile country footballer.
Troy Coates, who had led Kerang to four Murray Football League premierships, is replacing Wilson who has stepped down after leading Strathfieldsaye to its three Bendigo League flags, including this year.
Coates has also coached Northern Territory League club Nightcliffe where he won a Nichols Medal for the competition’s best and fairest player.
Crow is Demons’ best
SHEPPARTON United Football Club’s best and fairest has been won by Reid Crow.
Crow was recruited by the Demons this season from Finley and beat towering ruckman Shane Neaves to claim the award.
Abikhair Medallist Tom McCluskey won the reserves award while Lachlan Holthuissen won the Under 18 award.
In netball the A grade award was won by Kirsty Holmes.
Gee set to lead The Road
MURRAY Football League club Congupna has appointed a club stalwart as non-playing coach for next season.
David Gee, 49, who has coached at reserves and Under 17 level with the club, has taken on the senior role and the club is in recruiting mode at the moment in a bid to better its eleventh placed finish this season.
Shepparton Swans star BJ Squire is one of the star recruits and will be vice-captain.
Congupna has never won a flag in the Murray Football League with its last premiership success coming in 1993 when it was in the former Tungamah League.
Cats gain French connection
MOOROOPNA Football Club has signed a Tasmanian footballer with top credentials in its bid to move up the GVFL ladder next season.
Aaron French who played 140 games in the Tasmanian State League with Clarence Football Club where he was a member of premiership sides in 2009-10.
A mid fielder French joins fellow Taswegian Clint Riley, this season’s best and fairest winner for the Cats.
In other GVFL news Seymour is still seeking a coach to replace Brett Colbert and star utility Hugh Robertson is on the move and will play with Bendigo League powerhouse and defending premier Strathfieldsaye next season.
Big win for Miss Fondue
IT’S all happening for young Kyabram trainer-driver Tiana McMahon at the moment.
Fresh from a recent successful trip to South Australia, Mahon produced pacing mare Miss Fondue to win at last week’s Shepparton meeting.
McMahon was able to give the five-year-old Courage Under Fire mare the run of the race on the back of the pacemaker Village Encounter and she zoomed home along the sprint lane to snare the win.
Miss Fondue was one of the winners — the other was Blissfully Unaware — who won at Globe Derby for Tianaon a recent trip to South Australia where she first cut her teeth in the harness racing game.
Miss Fondue has got stronger as she matures and she posted a PB mile rate out of her three career wins of 1.58.4 in winning the C1-2 1690m event at Shepparton.