Best Battles - Kyabram District League

By Tyler Maher


Stanhope v Lancaster

Elimination final, 2014 at Ardmona Recreation Reserve

Lancaster 14.12 (96) d Stanhope 12.12 (84)

Lancaster was flying when the home and away season finished, and its form carried into the finals series as it shocked the Lions who finished in third place.

Despite trailing at every change, the Wombats kicked five goals to two in the final term to move through to the final four.

Heath Barnett was in devastating form for Lancy, kicking seven majors.

‘‘It was a really good effort, they were probably on top of us, but we just finished strong in that last quarter,’’ Lancaster coach Paul Burnett said.

‘‘It was a great contest, two quality sides really having a go, we had our backs against the wall in the last quarter and were able to finish over the top of them.’’

Longwood v Girgarre

Round 11, 2019 at Girgarre Recreation Reserve

Girgarre 14.18 (102) d Longwood 0.2 (2)

While this game wasn’t close on the scoreboard, it was certainly a wild experience.

As rain started lashing down, lightning soon followed with players forced to leave the ground and huddle in sheds behind the benches.

When they did return, the ball spent more time on the ground that in anyone’s hands.

Although you couldn’t tell sitting in the crowd as the rain and hail made it difficult to see.

It mattered little to Ryan Butler and Billy Barnes, however, as they kicked 11 goals between them.

Rushworth v Ardmona

Round 14, 2015 at Rushworth Recreation Reserve

Rushworth 6.12 (48) lt Ardmona 9.12 (66)

There hasn’t been much to celebrate at the Cattery in the past few years.

But 2015 has some high points to celebrate, with the Bush Cats claiming four victories across the year.

And their win against Rushworth was their final victory to date.

Sam Woodward provided a target up forward for the Cats, slotting five majors, while Glenn Thorne was named the best player in blue and white.

Ardmona would lose the remaining five games of the season and have lost its next 52 games across four seasons (a senior side was not fielded in 2017.)

With the club returning this year if the season does start under the guidance of former Brownlow medallist Shane Crawford, the club will be desperate to finally return to the winners’ list.

Dookie United v Merrigum

Round four, 2018 at Merrigum Recreation Reserve

Merrigum 9.16 (70) d Dookie United 9.9 (63)

The first battle between these sides in the Kyabram District League was a scintillating contest.

Although Merrigum dominated scoring shots and could have won easily if it had of kicked straight, the new boys in the competition brought the heat to their Bulldog opponents.

Sam Bowmaker and Andrew O’Connor led from the front for the Thunder in the first half, with the Thunder up at quarter-time and down by seven points at the main break.

In the third term, both sides traded blows with three goals each and United trimmed the margin back to five points at the last break.

But Merrigum was able to control the final term, with best afield Sean Reidy (one goal) and Jake Parkinson (one) the standouts for the home side as it hung on for a seven-point win.

Avenel v Shepparton East

Round 12, 2019 at Central Park Recreation Reserve

Shepparton East 4.12 (36) lt Avenel 10.18 (78)

Avenel and Shepparton East have gone to battle only once - with the Eagles joining the league last season - but last year’s contest managed to enthral as a literal pressure test for both teams.

The Eagles came into the match looking to make a big statement against a top four side, and after starting the game shakily, Avenel looked far from its best.

Three unanswered goals from the Swans in the second term gave the visitors more confidence as the match slipped away from Shepparton East’s grasp.

And with tensions boiling over between the two sides, along with a number of big hits fuelling the fire, it erupted into a full blown melee in the third quarter.

With play halted, Avenel’s Harry Mclean, along with Sam Maitland and Adrian Moor of Shepparton East were eventually sent off with yellow cards.

The game tempered out after that, with Avenel running away with victory; coach Kasey Duncan kicking six by the final siren.

Nagambie v Tallygaroopna

Semi-final, 2019 at Nagambie Recreation Reserve

Nagambie 21.11 (137) d Tallygaroopna 5.8 (38)

Nagambie and Tallygaroopna have been the two powerhouse teams for the past two seasons, with a number of high-quality matches to choose from.

But it was last year’s semi-final encounter that proved the most telling.

Tallygaroopna was the team to beat for most of the season, with a winning streak stretching back to late 2017.

And though Nagambie beat the side in the penultimate home and away match a fortnight prior to the semis, the resulting clash showed it was no fluke - with the Redlegs missing key players the first time around.

Nagambie absolutely dominated the playoff game, with coach Anthony Haysom (five goals) helping his side run away with the 99-point win. It was a stark reality for a team as good as Tallygaroopna.

Not even a Kevin O'Donoghue pep talk heading in the final quarter stirred the visitors from their slumber, the coach unimpressed with his players’ lack of fight.

It set up another interesting clash a fortnight later, with Nagambie and Tallygaroopna meeting in the big dance, though the Redlegs failed to withstand the Lakers’ dominance once again.

Violet Town v Undera

Grand final, 2012 at Mooroopna Recreation Reserve

Violet Town 23.18 (156) d Undera 11.14 (80)

Violet Town’s and Undera’s 2012 grand final clash will be remembered for two reasons - though each were in entirely different spirits.

A 76-point victory to Violet Town had the small community celebrate well into the night after winning its first flag in the KDL since joining the league in 2006, while it also managed to break a 22-year premiership drought in the process.

But it wasn’t just on field where a battle was taking place, with an off-field brawl marring the day.

After a melee broke out on field in the final term, Undera’s Luke Austin was sent off for striking.

But when Murchison footballer and crowd member Nick Airs made a “disgraceful comment” towards Austin near the bench, it set in motion a 30-40 person melee in the northern stands of Mooroopna Recreation Reserve after others intervened.

In the end it didn’t change the result, with Violet Town sealing a straight forward victory over Undera.

And there was plenty of contributors to Violet Town’s cause, Craig Whelan blasting seven goals, while Jake Williams finished with four as one of the Towners’ best.

In Undera’s attacking end, Sam La Porta finished with six goals.