GVL | Mansfield issues perfect response with big road win over Kyabram
According to Mansfield coach Chad Owens his side just “wasn’t itself” Saturday week ago when it was bullied by a red-hot Euroa to fall by 64 points.
Fast forward seven days and that could not have been further from the truth, as the young Eagles responded with a complete team performance to crush Kyabram by 38 points at the always imposing Kyabram Recreation Reserve.
A 14.10 (94) to 8.8 (56) win that reaffirms their position as a top four side, Owens said he could not have been more proud of what his side produced.
“Last week wasn’t us and we spoke about it at length during the week and how we would respond,” Owens said.
“And to the boys’ credit from the first bounce and that first tackle you could tell they were on.
“We didn’t have a player lose their position today we thought ― and that made a huge difference ― we played as a team, we were up for the fight and as a coach I could not be more proud.”
Greeted by perfect conditions it was a hot start at Kyabram Recreation Reserve, with both sides showing their attacking prowess to put goals on the board early.
It took a piece of Ben Christopher magic midway through the first term to really get the Eagles going, however, as the young gun shrugged three tackles before finishing his work with a classy snap.
From there spearhead Cam Arnold would work his way into the game, booting two quick goals to help give his team a comfortable 29-point buffer at the first change.
Taken aback by the Mansfield challenge, Kyabram would hit back hard in the second term, creating some free-flowing ball movement and hitting the scoreboard to get the margin back to within three goals.
But as it seemed the game was turning in the Bombers’ favour, the Eagles would strike back, with a crucial major in the shadow of half-time, extending the margin to 23.
Kyabram would again return to the field full of running, with a long-range goal by Jake Parkinson once again opening the door for the home side.
This is where Owens said an effort from one of his ever-reliable defenders flipped the game on its head.
“I thought the turning point of the game was in the third quarter when we were 16 points up, Billy Chiller ran 30m back with the flight to make a crucial spoil,” he said.
“We won the ball, went down the other and kicked the next four goals, so I think that effort really typified how we went about it today.”
Heading into three-quarter time with all the momentum, Mansfield carried a 36-point margin into the final term.
With the result all but secured, the Eagles were successful in taking the sting out of the game, as they comfortably rode to a 38-point triumph.
In terms of standouts, Owens was full of praise for his captain Brett Mahoney as well as forward duo Arnold (four) and Christopher (three), who combined for seven goals.
“Brett Mahoney’s game today was the best individual game I have seen in the league in my time, his tackling and his run all day was just relentless,” he said.
“Playing on a really good defender, Jason Morgan, Cam Arnold was incredible, he competed really well and followed up with great work on the ground.
“He forms a great duo with Ben Christopher up forward and I thought they both really stood up today.”
Kyabram coach Paul Newman said his team was simply outworked.
“It’s very disappointing and in hindsight not the greatest surprise given our form over the past fortnight has been pretty average,” Newman said.
“In periods of the game we lacked real intent to defend, they’ve got some really smart players with really good speed and we were just too slow in transition to shut them down.
“The challenge for us now is to find that spark again.”
An incident on the quarter-time siren between Kyabram star Kayne Pettifer and Mansfield youngster Lachie Christopher became a talking point after the match.
“After the siren to go and knock a bloke over with his back to him was pretty ordinary and we’ll let the umpires decide what they want to do with it,” Owens said.
“For a guy that has played AFL footy, I thought it was a pretty poor look for him.”
Newman did not see the incident unfold and was not in a position to comment post-match.
No report was made by the match umpires.