Bombers in fight for finals

Under the pump: Just like his team, Kyabram teenager Anthony DePasquale was under the pump against Rochester on Sunday. Tigers mid-fielder Declan Pearse couldn’t stop him from getting his kick way. Photo by 2022

Kyabram is involved in a three-way battle for the last spot in the Goulburn Valley football’s top six, needing at least four more wins to guarantee itself a place in the first play-offs since 2019.

The Bombers, after a three-point loss to sixth ranked Rochester at Moon Oval on Sunday, are sitting fifth on the ladder with seven wins from 11 matches.

Rochester was awarded an amazing 41 free kicks in the match, while the Bombers picked up just 12 decisions in their favour, in the 11.12 (78) to 11.9 (75) result.

In a season-long concern for Kyabram — even before Sunday — it is the team to have given away the most free kicks this season.

A 7-4 quarter-time free kick count, in Rochester’s favour, was followed by a three-quarter count of 34 free kicks to Kyabram’s eight.

Zach Keogh and Cade Mueller are two of the season-long offenders in this regard and were again prevalent on the weekend. Between them and Jake Parkinson they gave away a dozen of those free kicks

All four of Kyabram’s defeats this year have come against teams inside the top six, respite coming in the form of this weekend’s battle with 10th ranked Tatura at GV Creamery Oval.

The Bombers were not convincing in the opening round of the season when they beat the GV league’s Bulldogs by just 11 points.

Kyabram started its round 11 battle with Rochester with four first-quarter goals, leading by 14 points at the main break on the back of the good work of Cooper Vick in attack.

Vick ended the match with three of the Bombers 11 goals, continuing to be a shining light in an otherwise lacklustre attacking zone.

Rochester bounced back, and only inaccuracy prevented its half-time lead of eight points from being expanded.

The Tigers had nine scoring shots to Kyabram’s two for the quarter and again outscored the Bombers in the third term to lead by 16 points at the final break.

A lacklustre opening half of the final stanza was suddenly brought to life with two late goals from Kyabram.

They closed the margin to just three points when the ball was taken back to the centre with only seconds remaining on the clock. Two stoppages after that final centre square bounce was followed by the final siren.

Kyabram and Rochester are separated by only percentage in fifth and sixth, but Seymour is breathing down both their necks after an upset Sunday afternoon win against Mansfield on the weekend.

Seymour has 11th ranked Benalla this weekend, while the Tigers have a tough assignment against third ranked Mooroopna and Kyabram faces Tatura.

After this weekend’s bout the Bombers face Mooroopna, Seymour, Mansfield and Echuca in four of their final six matches.

The Seymour and Kyabram game on July 23, at Seymour, looms as an eight-point game because of the “easier’’ draw Rochester has in the final five weeks.

The Tigers face the bottom five teams on the ladder in the final five home and away rounds, and with one win against either Mooroopna or Mansfield in the coming fortnight, could secure a spot in the final six.