By Gus Underwood
KYABRAM is one win away from completing its fourth home-and-home season undefeated and its 17th consecutive win this season after a successful trip to Mansfield for the GVL’s penultimate round last Saturday.
The Bombers were able to overcome the shock loss of another key player, Jordan Williams, for the remainder of the season in recording a 10-goal win: 14.13 (97) to 5.7 (37).
Williams, who tore an Achilles tendon at training during the week, is to have surgery this week and has been ruled out for the rest of the season along with key defender Jason Morgan.
Promising Kyabram thirds players in Tom Burnett and Cooper Vick, and Billy McLay from the reserves, were promoted to help fill the gaps left by by Kayne Pettifer, Luke Morris, Axel Child, Hayden Gemmill and Jake Reeves for the Mansfield clash.
Pettifer missed because his wife was expecting a baby but he and the others could be available for this week’s final home-and-away round clash against Seymour at Kyabram.Given the circumstances and the long list of unavailable players, co-coach Paul Newman was happy with his team’s win.
‘‘They took it up to us early but I thought we got right on top after half time when our defence tightened right up and our skill levels lifted a lot,’’ Newman said.
Newman said the Bombers had standout players on the day in key defender Lachie Smith and dynamic small forward Kyle Mueller.‘‘Lachie was great all day and got a lot of support from (fellow defenders) Tom Sheldon and Tom Holman, particularly after half time.
“Kyle (Mueller) was terrific with his six goals,’’ said Newman, who added that Mueller's performance included another marking ‘hanger’ which would be another of his candidates for the Mark Of The Year award.
Newman also praised the efforts of gun onballer Mick Mattingly, who put in another tireless and classy display, and Josh Dillon, who he said were key prime movers in the win.
Brad Whitford also produced his usual reliable game.
X Kyabram reserves led at half time but eight second-half Mansfield goals to Kyabram’s three delivered a 31-point win for the home side.
The Bombers were best served by Girgarre recruit Antonio Barca, Chris Walsh and Lukas Hanslow while Rhys Carling, Ethan Palma-Ludeman and Paul Newman also kept the side competitive for a long way in the game.
X Kyabram thirds were up to the challenge of an early start to get to Mansfield, notching a 25-point win over the young Eagles.
The Bombers had inspiring players in Elijah Gillie, skipper Mitch Gugliotti and Liam Dillon, who were well supported by Noah Ryan, Tom Burnett and Ben Schumann.