PREMIUM
Sport

Bombers go big

Downward dog: Tatura veteran Linc Wellington fails to lay a hand on rampaging Kyabram forward Tom Holman, who kicked six goals in the Bombers’ biggest win of the season, a 121-point victory at GV Creamery Oval on Saturday. Photo: Jess O’Neill.

Kyabram’s first 100-point-plus total in almost two months of football laid the foundations for the Bombers to return to the winners’ list after successive Goulburn Valley League defeats.

The last time the team kicked a triple-figure score was on May 7 this year when it scored a 53-point win against Shepparton Swans.

Kyabram kicked 19 goals in the opening three quarters at GV Creamery Oval on Saturday for the Indigenous Round match, on the back of Tom Holman and Anthony De Pasquale’s combined 10-goal display.

And despite stopping to a walk in the final term, the Bombers were 21.19 (145) to 3.6 (24) winners against Tatura.

The Bombers completed the win in spite of another frustrating free kick count — 33-16 in favour of Tatura.

Hard-nosed mid-fielder Kaine Herbert, Kayne Pettifer and Aidan Robinson all gave away four free kicks, while Anthony DePasquale, Mitchell Gugliotti and Ben Holman all incurred the umpire’s wrath on three occasions.

Tatura sits second bottom on the GVL table, with two wins, while the Bombers are now a game and percentage clear in fifth, with a tough months ahead.

In the next five weeks the club has to overcome Mooroopna, Seymour (which moved into the top six on the weekend), Echuca and Mansfield.

Scattered among those tough assignments is a match with bottom-team Benalla.

In the final home-and-away round the Bombers face Shepparton Swans (on August 27) before the first finals series since 2019.

Saturday’s 121-point win at GV Creamery Oval has lifted the Kyabram percentage to the third best in the competition and could yet play a part in its end-of-season ranking.

Only almost locked in top two, Echuca and Euroa, have better percentages than the Bombers — built on the back of its defensive work in 2022.

While only scoring at 80 points a game before Saturday’s whitewash of the Bulldogs, the Bombers have allowed opponents to score just an average of 54 points in its 12 matches with season.

It was again the aerial domination of Lachie Smith on which the Bombers built its victory, his best on ground display on the back of 15 marks (10 intercepts) for the afternoon.

Smith pulled in 15 marks on the weekend, confirming his status as the league’s best aerialist, had 25 possessions and had four more intercept marks than the entire Tatura team.

It was in attack, however, that the Bombers improved dramatically.

Kayne Pettifer could have made the result even better if he had been on target, finishing with 3.5 from a 15-possession nine-mark match.

The Bombers had 58 inside 50s, compared with Tatura’s 26, giving Tom Holman, Anthony DePasquale and Pettifer plenty of scoring opportunities.

Holman took his season’s scoring total to 25.7 with 6.2 from his 24 possessions. He laid eight tackles in the attacking end and had six score assists in a near best-on-ground display.

DePasquale kicked his third bag of four goals on Saturday, his 20 possession game his equal season-high disposal count of the season.

Kaine Herbert’s 23 possession game included 20 kicks at 90 per cent efficiency and his first multiple bag of goals for the season. He took his season’s tally to six with two goals and was among 10 Bombers who hit the scoreboard.

Ruckman Zac Norris continued his brilliant ground-level play, registering a game-high eight clearances (narrowly ahead of Cade Mueller, seven clearances) and 10 groundball gets (second only to Mueller, who had 13).

His 34 hit outs and 17 possessions were coupled with five inside 50 entries, rucking solo for the afternoon in the absence of Jake Reeves.

The Bombers are a game clear in fifth, of Seymour and Rochester, with a tough month of football ahead.

Facing third-ranked Mooroopna this weekend, again at GV Creamery Oval, the Bombers will have the July 16 weekend off because of the GVL split round before confronting a desperate Seymour (aiming to maintain its ranking inside the top six) on July 23.

Echuca and Mansfield are two of its final four opponents.

Rochester — seventh with seven wins, equal with Seymour — has the best draw of the teams outside the top four, facing the bottom five teams in the final five home-and-away rounds.