KYABRAM Football Club is already kicking goals — and the new season is still two months away.
The latest coup for the club has been securing a pre-season practice match against Wangaratta Football Club.
Those who know their country footy will be quick to point out this will be a showdown between the reigning Goulburn Valley League premier and the Ovens and Murray League premier.
So there’s a fair bit at stake in terms of pride given the rivalry between the two leagues down the years.
And Kyabram will be on the receiving end monetary-wise because it is to stage the showdown at the Kyabram recreation reserve on Saturday, March 24.
That’s just two weeks before the GVL season kick-off so both teams should be up and running close to full steam.
I had talks before last season with Kyabram president Peter Croxford about the possibility of staging a game against another O&M club, Albury, providing both powerhouses won their respective league premierships.
Kyabram kept its part of the ‘deal’ but Wangaratta put a spanner in the works by beating the hot favourite in the O&M grandfinal.
So to get Wangaratta to come to Kyabram for a showdown with the Bombers is still a massive coup and you can bet the Kyabram ground will be packed for the occasion.
Whatever result transpires though it won’t be an accurate indication of the 2017 season strength of both teams.
That could only happen if the two premiers met immediately after the grand final in that season.
This scenario is something Kyabram coach Paul Newman embraces because he believes it would be a more accurate guide and create even more interest because of the turnover of players over the summer months.
Kyabram has lost superstars in Lachie Smith, Rhys Clark, Jake Reeves, Billy Burstin and skipper Josh Vick from last season’s grand final winning side so on paper the Bombers are considerably weaker than last season.
But the Bombers still have a very handy side in my humble opinion.
It may not be unbeatable like it has been for the past two years but it will still be very competitive and I’m sure Wangaratta will find that out on March 24.
Kyabram has also arranged for pre-season games against another O&M side, Myrtleford, at Myrtleford on March 3 and Bayswater at Kyabram on March 17.
Tongala promises a night to remember
TONGALA Football Netball Club has hit the jackpot with its upcoming sportsman’s night.
Already 150 of the 300 seats in the shire hall have been booked for the occasion on Saturday, March 3.
The guest speakers are AFL great Jonathon Brown and comedian Sam Pang.
Pang played with Tongala as an ex-radius player and other former ex-radius players in John Mrakov, Paul Fairchild, Michael Scicluna and Robbie Gilbert will also be in attendance on the night.
‘‘The night is certainly creating a lot of interest,’’ one of the organisers, John Bentley, said this week.
Cost is $70 a head, which includes supper.
Bookings can be made to Paige Wade on 0400 885 468 or on the club’s Facebook page.
Obviously get in quick or you will be disappointed.
Mackenzie makes the cut
TONGALA’S Mackenzie Cowley has survived a pruning of the state country under 15 cricket side after a practice match in Melbourne last Sunday.
The original squad has now been reduced to 22 players from which the final team to play in the national championships in September will be selected.
Mackenzie made an impression in the practice game with an unbeaten 26 off 18 deliveries and also bowled five overs of leg spin.
Junior team switches leagues
ECHUCA Football Club’s enthusiastic push for a revival has taken another step forward with its junior body announcing a shift of one of its teams to another league.
The club’s under 14 side has made the move from the Goulburn Campaspe Junior Football League to the Shepparton District Junior Football League for the 2018 season.
New president of a revamped Echuca Junior Football Club Shannon Cronin said the move was being made so players can familiarise playing on grounds that are the base for many GVL clubs and to compete against rivals they are likely to come across when they graduate to senior ranks.
Echuca already has sides competing in the Shepparton under 16 competition.
The Echuca under 10 and under 12 sides will continue to compete in the Goulburn Campaspe Junior League.
Tom and Cade picked in Shepp squad
KYABRAM Cricket Club players Tom Oliver and Cade Mueller have been named in Cricket Shepparton’s squad to contest Melbourne Country Cricket Week at the end of this month.
Thirteen players have been named in the squad, which competes in division two in the annual series.
It’s all a Blur
KYVALLEY Blur, bred and owned by Kyvalley’s Jim Connelly, caused a minor upset when he prevailed in the Group 1 $50,000 V L Dullard Trotters Cup at Melton on Saturday night.
The Brent Lilley trained and Chris Alford driven 10-year-old was neglected by punters after some sound New Zealand form late last year and started at odds of more than 18/1 on the tote.
Kyvalley Blur ran down the well fancied Kiwi Temporale in the concluding stages of the 2240m mobile event to register his 24th career win and take his prizemoney earnings to over $444,000.
Also at the Hunter Cup meeting at Melton, Kyabram’s star pacer Brallos Pass had to be content with another second placing for trainer Mark Watson, again chasing home his heat conqueror Ample Power in the Group 3 $30,000 final.