KYABRAM started the new Goulburn Valley League season as it finished 2017 — emphatic winners.
Paul Newman’s charges overcame a sluggish start to swamp their spirited rivals Mooroopna in the second half on the way to a thumping 113-point win — 22.21 (153) to 6.4 (40).
Despite the decisive win, the game wasn’t as one-sided as the scores indicated with Mooroopna having a decent dip but lacking the firepower in attack of the Bombers.
In fact the Cats had the better of the Bombers at the stoppages for a good portion of the game.
The Cats even kicked the first two goals of the game in an enthusiastic opening which raised the eyebrows of supporters of both sides, but as the game wore on Kyabram’s clear-cut dominance emerged.
Exciting small forward Kyle Mueller set the Bombers in motion with the first goal in both the first and second quarters. He had four by half-time and finished with five but had little game time in the second half when rested.
But Brad Whitford and Kayne Pettifer stepped up to kick goals as the floodgates opened.
Pettifer had only two to three-quarter-time but turned on a clinic in the last term to kick five goals to take his tally for the game to seven.
He also took the mark of the game and kicked the goal of the game, a snap in the last term, to give a reminder he may well be in the twilight of his career but is still a very dangerous player.
Whitford bagged four goals in an impressive display while key forward Brad Mangan, who kicked two goals, provided a physical presence in attack that had the Mooroopna defenders under the pump all game.
These players were able to feed off the running Kyabram players in new recruit Mick Mattingly, the ever reliable Liam Ogden and Jordan Williams while Josh Pell, Axel Childs, Patrick Wearden also got their share of the sherrin .
Mattingly made an auspicious debut. His hard running, decisive decision making and use of the ball from a wing stamped him as a very classy act and a massive pick-up for the club.
IN DEFENCE Jason Morgan was again the general and he was well supported by Sam Sheldon and Tom Holman who shut down the Mooroopna forward line for most of the game.
Kyabram coach Paul Newman was delighted with how his side absorbed the early pressure Mooroopna applied and got on top.
‘‘The (Cats) really put it to us in the first 15 minutes or so and kept at us but we were able to shake them,’’ Newman said.
This Saturday night at Kyabram the Bombers meet one of the sides that is given a chance of beating it this season — Euroa, so there is no rest for the reigning premier who will be trying to make it 44 wins in succession.
The only injury worry for the Bombers this week was tall utility Luke Morris who suffered a hyper-extension of his elbow in the second half which forced him from the field.
Newman also said there is big chance Lachie Smith will be available for this game.
KYABRAM reserves were also big winners in the opening round, crushing the Cats by 157 points with one of the youngest line-ups it has had for years.
It was unrecognisable from the side that won last season’s flag with 10 players from last year’s runners-up thirds team in its line-up for the game. Only five players remain from last season’s premiership side
The Bombers were just too accomplished for their rivals with winners all over the ground.
Red-headed and red-blooded onballers in Charlie McLay, Dom Watt and Cade Mueller were inspirational at the coalface and Nathalia recruit Bailey Bell and Mackenzie Ryan wreaked havoc in attack.
Ryan kicked five goals and the elusive Bell snared four in an impressive debut.
Zaid Besim and Josh Dillon were also in everything on the ball and up forward and ruckman Kyle Fitzgerald played a lone hand for the four quarters on the ball in a tireless effort.
In defence Locky Dillon, Josh Wild and Brenton Bassett set the example of keeping non-stop pressure on their rivals.
It was actually the four-quarter effort of constant pressure Kyabram applied which pleased coach Mark Dillon most about the win.
‘‘It was good we kept the intensity up all day and that was the best part of our game I thought,’’ Dillon said.
But Dillon expects a much tougher assignment this Saturday when the Bombers take on Euroa, the side they deprived of last season’s flag by a solitary point and who were big first round winners last Saturday.
A NEW-look Kyabram thirds team made a positive start to the new season with a strong second half which delivered a 61 point win over Mooroopna.
The young Bombers always had scoreboard pressure on their rivals and held them goalless in the second half while adding nine goals to record the solid win.
Ethan Palma-Ludeman with four goals and Sam Langley who booted two were reliable aerial targets in attack for the young Bombers while the work of onballers and midfielders in Mitchell Gugliotti, Billy McLay and Ben Turpin ensured the forwards got plenty of chances to kick a winning score.
New coach Glenn Hart was happy with his young charges and how they went about it.
‘‘You would take a 10-goal win first up anytime,’’ said Hart who revealed just five players from last season’s grand final side remain in the thirds ranks this season.