Best Battles - Goulburn Valley League

By Tyler Maher


Kyabram v Shepparton United

Grand final, 2013 at Deakin Reserve

Kyabram 15.15 (105) d Shepparton United 7.12 (54)

The Demons’ fairytale run to the big dance was stopped in its tracks by a determined Kyabram side several years ago.

After finishing the season in fifth, United stormed into the final game of the year.

But the Bombers were willed to victory after the heartbreak of the 2009 and 2010 deciders.

Paul Newman starred with five goals, while Tom Holman was named the best afield.

‘‘We talked about it at three-quarter time and we thought we’d done our apprenticeship,’’ Bombers coach David Williams said.

‘‘There’s that saying, ‘Don’t get bitter, get better’. We can’t do anything about what’s gone, but we’ve got probably 10 players who played in 2009 and 2010 and it’s a bitter pill to swallow.

‘‘You don’t deserve them until you earn them ... it’s not the best team on the year, it’s the best team on the day. They certainly challenged us, and we responded.’’

Shepparton Swans v Mansfield

Round 10, 2010 at Mansfield Recreation Reserve

Mansfield 16.14 (110) d Shepparton Swans 14.15 (99)

Mansfield and Shepparton Swans engaged in a slugfest some 10 years ago, and it was the Eagles who were able to prevail and grab the points.

A monstrous second quarter had the Eagles hit half-time a cool 48 points in front, but the Swans roared back with six unanswered goals in the third term to turn for home down seven points.

But at their glorious home ground, the Eagles stood up to the challenge and ground out the win, taking an 11-point result on the back of three goals each from David Mensch and Simon Hart.

Other standouts for Mansfield included James Hopgood and Nick Gieschen, while Russell Robertson was on fire for the Swans with four goals.

Both teams would eventually reach finals, the Swans in fifth and Mansfield in sixth.

Euroa v Tatura

Round six, 2019 at Tatura Park

Tatura 7.10 (52) d Euroa 6.12 (48)

This round six contest from last season was decided in the final moments of the match, in a low-scoring thriller at Tatura Park.

The hero that day was Tatura’s Nick Fothergill, who slotted a goal in time-on with his side down by two points, which sealed the Bulldogs a four-point victory.

‘‘The good players put themselves in those positions, which is a real credit to them,’’ Tatura coach Jamason Daniels said after the match.

‘‘Foz to his credit got to the right spots at right times, he was probably a little bit quieter today, but that’s what good players do, when the game’s there to be won, they step up.’’

Fothergill booted home two of his side’s final three goals, while Jordan O’Dwyer stood tall with a strong performance on Euroa gun JD Hayes.

Sean Martin was another star for the home side alongside playing coach Daniels.

Euroa’s Andrew Bell and Adam Giobbi (three goals) were the top performers for the away side.

Benalla v Rochester

Round 12, 2016 at Moon Oval

Rochester 10.12 (72) lt Benalla 11.9 (75)

This mid-2016 clash went down to the wire. An after-the-siren shot from Rochester’s Steven Stroobants could have sealed the win for the Tigers in front of a vocal home crowd.

But alas, it wasn’t to be as the Sherrin sailed to the right and Benalla celebrated the save.

In a game between second and third, the Tigers got off to a flying start over the reigning premiers, garnering a lead of 20 by the first break.

The Saints responded in the second, cutting the lead to eight, before charging ahead by six at three-quarter time – a feat particularly remarkable as piling injuries left the Saints without a bench.

And while Stroobants secured the final goal of the game for Rochester to get within an inch of the Saints late in the game, it wasn’t enough without that second – albiet missed – shot at goal.

Benalla’s Farran Priest was a force down forward, kicking four, while first year player Lachlan Thompson also snagged three.

Brody Webster, starring in defence, was named the Saints’ best performer, while Nick O’Connor and Jacob Perry shared duties for Rochester, kicking three apiece.

Shepparton v Echuca

Round 10, 2019 at Deakin Reserve

Shepparton 5.4 (34) lt Echuca 6.14 (50)

A wet day at Deakin, a hard slog between the two sides considered the biggest challengers to Kyabram last year ended with Echuca getting the win against the reigning premier in a rare Deakin Reserve victory.

In their first meeting since the 2018 preliminary final, Echuca rose to the occasion on the back of a two-goal best-on-ground showing from Angus Byrne, the Murray Bombers took advantage of the wet, pushing past the Bears by 16 points.

The Bears were without Nick Allan through injury, but Edward Lindon was still great for the Bears.

Echuca co-coach Andrew Walker was impressed with his team’s ability to handle the conditions, though the goal-kicking let them down.

‘‘I thought our pressure, once again, was outstanding, and we kept them to nine scoring shots in total. It wasn’t anything clicking (in the last term), we were just a little bit straighter with our set shots.’’

Bears coach Sean Harrap said Echuca’s adjusting to the weather was the key.

‘‘I reckon they adapted to the conditions better than what we did, we tried hard, but we couldn’t get any flow or deep entries into our forward 50. ‘They took key moments where we probably didn’t.”

Mooroopna v Seymour

Round six, 2019 at Mooroopna Recreation Reserve

Mooroopna 12.9 (81) lt Seymour 11.16 (82)

Seymour used plenty of get out of jail free cards last season, winning three games by a solitary point, one by four and drawing another.

This clash against the Cats was one of the wildest in recent memory, with a yellow and red card and an unsuccessful headcount featuring throughout the one-point result.

Tom McConville broke the deadlock with seconds remaining in the contest for the Lions, who had at one stage been reduced to 16-men on the field after a yellow card to Harley Taylor-Lloyd and a red to Dylan Scopel.

“We’ve definitely pinched one, Mooroopna was on top all day and we were just lucky we were in front when the siren went,’’ Seymour coach Ben Clifton said.

“There was a fair bit going on in that game — I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a game with so much going on.”