Sport

Special K’s surge

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April 27, 2018

Sam Sheldon dodges a Benalla opponent in Kyabram's win on Saturday

KYABRAM shrugged off a lack-lustre first half to score a commanding win on the road against Benalla in Saturday’s third round of GVL games.

And the big difference between the two sides was again Kyabram’s now lethal special K’s goalkicking team of Kayne Pettifer and Kyle Mueller — who were able to hurt the hosts where it hurts most — on the scoreboard.

After a quiet game the previous week Pettifer bounced back to present at every opportunity and was rewarded with a seven-goal haul. He might be 37 but be played with the enthusiasm of an exuberant debutant.

Mueller finished with four goals but missed as many, again showing he is a very difficult player to man-up because of his aerial strength, speed and evasive skills.

The young Benalla side, which had obviously gained confidence with two wins to start the season, put it to Kyabram in the first half and was only 10 points off the pace at the long interval.

Apart from Pettifer and Mueller the Bombers had good players to this stage in onballers Nick Coulstock, Patrick Wearden, Zac Norris while Mick Mattingly, Brad Mangan, Jordan Williams, livewire Nathalia recruit Bailey Bell and defenders Lachie Smith and Jason Morgan were also presenting.

Kyabram coach Paul Newman wasn’t happy at half time, and told his charges, which sparked the side into a committed second half to secure the desired result.

Liam Ogden, Brad Whitford and Luke Morris all stepped up and Morgan became a reliable target after being moved into attack.

Pettifer was now unstoppable, bagging four goals in this term in which Kyabram blew the game open with five goals to one.

The Bombers kept the pressure up in the last term to kick three more goals, two from Mueller, while holding Benalla goalless.

Ky coach Paul Newman said better ball use in the second half enabled Kyabram to kick away from its rival.

‘‘We got it into the corridor more and opened a lot more and it was good to finish as strongly as we did,’’ he said.

Kyabram has the improved Echuca to meet this week in a home game which will be a further test of its depth with star onballer and the most reliable kick in the side Jordan Williams and Axel Child missing for the next four games while holidaying in America.

But experienced Josh Pell is set to return and there are some players in the reserves itching to get into this Kyabram side.

My best: Kayne Pettifer, Liam Ogden, Mick Mattingly, Brad Whitford, Patrick Wearden, Jordan Williams, Jason Morgan and Nick Coulstock.

Reserves

KYABRAM reserves rebounded from a loss to Euroa the previous week to thrash Benalla by 91 points.

The Bombers had ten individual goalkickers with Mackenzie Ryan continuing his improvement to kick six goals, mostly from strong aerial work.

Skipper Tom Curnow set the example in the midfield along with another of its few experienced players Locky Dillon while onballers in Charlie McLay, Josh Dillon, Cade Mueller, Connor Cowley and Kyle Halliwell were able to supply a constant of stream of chances to the team’s forwards.

Matt Wild also did some good tough work in the win and Rylan Cunningham provided run from defence.

The Bombers welcomed back former senior ruckman Zane Coventry who along with Kyle Fitzgerald were able to set Kyabram alight from the stoppages.

Kyabram faces a tougher challenge this Saturday against Echuca.

Thirds

KYABRAM thirds remain unbeaten after a 10 point win in a tough struggle.

There was only a kick or two between the two sides for most of the game which was in the balance at the last change. But goals to Sam Barbagallo, Ben Turpin and Ethan Palmer-Ludeman early in the last term gave the visitors enough breathing space to hang on.

—Continued page 12

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