Demons need a bigger boat

By Tyler Maher

Like a great white shark in full flight, when Kyabram smells blood in the water nothing can stop it.

Shepparton United found that out the hard way on Saturday.

The Demons took it right up to an almost full-strength Bombers outfit for three quarters of the Goulburn Valley League fixture at Kyabram Recreation Reserve.

But it took just one lapse for the home side to rip any hope of an upset away from the young visitors in the blink of an eye.

Kyabram was just 26 points up at the main break, but piled on 7.6 to a solitary behind in the premiership quarter.

The Demons recovered to win the final term, but the damage had been done.

Kayne Pettifer (nine goals) and Kyle Mueller (six) had a field day in attack for the Bombers, while Mick Mattingly, Liam Ogden and Pat Wearden stood out from the crowd with their individual performances.

Mueller, Jordan Williams, Luke Morris and Axel Childs got through their return to the field well for Kyabram, but Tom Sheldon’s day did not last as long as he would have liked.

‘‘We threw him in the deep end and he felt at his hammy (hamstring) about 10 minutes in,’’ Kyabram coach Paul Newman said of Sheldon’s first senior game since 2015.

‘‘It was nothing too serious though, so hopefully he’ll just miss one week.

‘‘The other guys got through well and got a feel for the footy again, which was good.’’

Shane Neaves impressed yet again for the Demons, adding two goals to his stellar ruck work, while Jack Norman (also two goals), Matt Di Bella and Shane Sali battled hard.

‘‘Obviously we went in with a plan to try and nullify their influence as much as we could,’’ Shepparton United coach Stephen Scott said.

‘‘We were right in it at half-time and everyone had plenty of confidence, but the boys had a lapse in that third quarter and Ky just took it away from us.

‘‘Full credit to the boys for fighting back and winning the last quarter though.

‘‘Neavesy was a workhorse for the whole game and if he had have had a GPS on, it would have nearly blown up.’’

The young Demons will take plenty out of the plucky performance, which Scott saw from the sidelines due to injury.

‘‘It was a good change to be coaching from the bench,’’ he said.

‘‘You see everything a bit differently and you might pick a few more things up and be able to give more direct feedback.

‘‘It definitely gives us a lot of confidence going forward going into the later half of the year.’’