PREMIUM
Sport

Bombers have a hard road to finals

Leading goalkicker: Kyabram's go-to forward on the weekend was Aidan Robinson, who kicked three goals in the Bombers’ 38-point loss to Mansfield. Photo by Cath Grey

Kyabram’s tough draw to end the 2022 Goulburn Valley League football season will pit it against three of the top six teams in the final seven rounds of the year.

After 10 matches the Bombers have a 7-3 record and sit fifth on the ladder, on the eve of a second appointment for the season with sixth-ranked Rochester, at Barry Moon Oval this Sunday, June 26.

A win is vital to stay in the hunt for a top-two finish, and the double chance.

The double chance is not out of reach for the Bombers, despite them being a win and significant amount of percentage behind second-ranked Euroa.

In rounds 15 and 17 Kyabram has to overcome matches against top team Echuca (another Sunday fixture) and now third-ranked Mansfield, while its match against fourth-ranked Mooroopna is scheduled for July 9 (as part of the GVL split round).

In the remaining four rounds the Bombers have Rochester (this weekend), Tatura, Seymour and the Swans. The Bombers have beaten all four of these teams in the opening half of the season.

All three of the Bombers’ three defeats in 2022 have been against teams above it on the ladder: in round three to top-ranked Echuca by 19 points, in round seven to second-placed Euroa by 16 points and at the weekend to Mansfield, which has catapulted itself to third on the ladder.

The Bombers surrendered third place on the ladder as the result of a 38-point loss to Mansfield at GV Creamery Oval on Saturday.

A blistering opening quarter from the Eagles resulted in a 29-point quarter-time deficit for Kyabram, which it was unable to bridge and eventually lost the match 14.10 (94) to 8.8 (56).

Mansfield kicked seven goals in the opening term, Cameron Arnold and Ben Christopher responsible for half of their team’s goals in something of an upset result on Kyabram’s home ground.

The margin was reduced to 23 at half time as the Bombers outscored the Eagles in the second term, but the pace of the Eagles in the front half caused concerns for the Kyabram defence.

Injuries continue to plague the club, which won’t see Brad Mangan again this season and still has a long wait for the return of key forward Kyle Mueller.

Hayden Gemmill returned for his first senior match in almost 12 months, but did not hit the scoreboard. Ruckman Jack Reeves also returned to the team and spent some time in attack.

Match-winner Zac Keogh was closely tagged throughout the match by the Eagles’ Lachie Christopher.

Cooper Vick kicked two goals from the key forward post, while Aidan Robinson produced his best haul with three majors as veteran forward Kayne Pettifer played further up the ground and was kept goalless.

Cade Mueller in defence and the reliable Jack Sheldon finished among the Bombers’ best contributors. Sheldon started in an on-ball role, but had to take on the responsibility of curtailing Eagles forward Christopher after the opening term.

Full scoreboard details, along with Kyabram District and Murray league results inside Game On on pages 16-19 today.