Benalla v Kyabram – 2011 GVFL Round 11 from Benalla.

Pictures and words by Shane Goss

It was a sad week for footy and in-particular Melbourne fans with the passing of Sean Wight who died from lung cancer at just 46. The Irishman pioneered that country’s influence on the game we love along with current Demon’s president and former teammate Jim Stynes.

Another of Wight’s former teammates, David Williams, is currently coaching the Kyabram Bombers in the Goulburn Valley Football League. Williams played 67 games with Melbourne and was alongside Wight and Stynes in the 1988 grand final loss to Hawthorn. It was William’s last match for the Demons before being traded to Richmond where a knee injury ended his career.

The result was a lot better however for Williams last Saturday when his charges lined up against the Benalla Saints at Benalla. The home-team was sitting eighth on the ladder, two games behind Kyabram in sixth spot. It was an important clash for Benalla as they were trying to keep their finals hopes alive.

Kyabram were looking to nudge a little closer to the top four and had accounted for third place Mooroopna the week before. Benalla would be without club stalwart and spearhead Ricky Symes who has booted thirty goals to round eleven. The Bombers have good players all over the park and the competition’s record had predicted a blow-put in their favour.

In fine conditions and before a crowd of around 250 the game began with the Bombers slamming on a couple of quick goals. Their ball movement appeared more fluent compared to Benalla’s and they continuely looked to play on. At quarter-time the Bombers led 4.4.28 to 2.3.15.

In the second term Kyabram missed opportunities to put the game to bed with full forward Heath Barnett the main offender. Benalla began to raise their intensity at the contest and goals to Matthew Sharp and Brendan Stevens gave supporters hope of a hometown win at the main break.
At half time Kyabram led 7.10.52 to Benalla 4.6.30.

In the sheds at the break and Benalla coach T.Symes spoke to his charges like a father to his sons. Quietly and methodically he told his players they hadn’t been too bad.’Stop them from playing on quickly’ he said. ‘Let’s have a real go at them for ten minutes’, he urged them in the third quarter.
Over in the leader’s rooms Williams gathered his players in front of him and spoke of Benalla’s over use of the ball. He stressed the importance of tackling and pressure on the ball carrier. The Bombers realised that missed shots on goal had kept Benalla in the game. As they got to their feet and began to jog on the spot, encouragement and pats on the behind bounced around the room.

The third term opened as Syme’s would have liked. Young Jordan Wolff was providing a target deep in the forward line and the Saints soon had the margin within twenty points. Mind you, Kyabram again failed to convert several opportunities, Barnett again wasteful and at one stage he had kicked five straight behinds.
But as the quarter wore on the Bombers precise ball movement and ariel power took over. Barnett finally got on target. He kicked the hard ones but missed the easy ones it seemed. In the space of fifteen minutes they took control kicking the last five goals of the quarter to take a commanding 45 point lead into the final stanza.
Three-quarter-time scores: Kyabram 12.16.88 to Benalla 6.7.43.

The final quarter wouldn’t have pleased Williams, although to be truthful, the damage was done. Benalla showed grit to fight the match out and outplayed Kyabram winning the final quarter by thirteen points. The win elevated Kyabram into fourth spot as they set themselves up to challenge Echuca and Shepparton United heading into the finals.
For the Saints, finals football now seems out of reach. They slid to ninth place and find themselves two-and-a-half games out of the top six. They meet Mansfield (7th) at home in a fortnight and need to put in a four quarter performance to have any chance of resurecting their season.

Final Scores:Kyabram – 13.18.96Benalla – 9.10.64
Goal Kickers-Kyabram:H.Barnett 5, N.Beck 2, X.Hilton 2, P.Newman, R.Emmett, D.Newman, C.Kelf 1.

Benalla: B.Stevens 3, M.Dole, M.Sharp, S.Mckean, J.Wolff, J.Dalton, J.Rockliff 1.
Best – Kyabram: D.Newman, R.Clark, C.Atkins, N.Beck, H.Barnett, L.Withers.       Benalla: D.Clark, B.Stevens, M.Dole, M.Pollard, J.Rockliff, J.Wolff.

About Shane Goss

I am currently working as an assistant manager at the Kilmore Racetrack as well as freelancing in the media as a photographer and writer. I have been heavily involved in the cycling media for the past ten years before taking on a full-time position at the racetrack. My passion for sport and especially football keeps me busy with projects on weekends.


  1. Jared Newton says

    Is a bloke by the name of Matt Jenkins coaching your under17s?

    He was a good Cribby lad for a couple of years.

  2. Jared Newton says

    Kyabram that is.

  3. Hi Jared, according to the GVFL Weekender (their footy record), a B.Mangan coaches their under 18’s. Not sure if they have an under 17s?

  4. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket says

    Great to see snaps of the Benalla Showgrounds – a beautiful setting.

    One played a practice match there for Rochester.
    Both were then Demons – Rochy (red & black) in the Bendigo league and Benalla (red with white vee) in the Ovens & Murray league.
    Both now in the Goulburn Valley League and in different strips.

    There was really now need for Benalla to change…
    shame to lose the tradition.
    the change hasn’t necessarily bought them success.

    Love the snap of Dirty Dave Williams addressing the Ky boys at lemon-time.
    A hard task-master.

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