Top two tango

July 14, 2017

Kyabram Bombers star Kayne Pettifer will be keen to lead his side to a 34th straight victory in the top-of-the-table clash with Shepparton tomorrow.

Goulburn Valley League spectators will be treated to a tantalising top-of-the-table clash at Deakin Reserve tomorrow.

A rampant Kyabram outfit, fresh from securing its 33rd straight victory by 138 points against the Shepparton Swans, will take on second-placed Shepparton.

The Bombers have been ruthless in recent weeks, conceding just 80 points across their past three matches, but an increase in defensive effort has not hurt them at the other end of the field.

Led by superstar Kayne Pettifer, who booted 25 goals in those three matches, Kyabram has secured an average winning margin of just more than 115 points in that trio of games, including against finals contenders Benalla and Echuca.

It is a record that speaks for itself and Shepparton coach Brad Campbell knew his charges must bring their best to stand any chance of scuppering Kyabram’s quest for back-to-back unbeaten seasons.

‘‘It’s going to be a really big test for us, but we’re really looking forward to it and we feel like we’re ready,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re striving to improve and learn how to play consistent footy and I’m really hoping the guys can lift and play some of their better footy.

‘‘We have to be at our absolute best to challenge them, (but either way) we’ll learn a lot about ourselves.’’

While Pettifer’s form is bordering on scary, Campbell said his defensive unit could not afford to just focus on one Bomber weapon.

‘‘You’ve got to play those guys well one-on-one, but there are other dangerous forwards in the mix,’’ he said.

‘‘Kayne is obviously the main man when he’s on song, but we need to defend the other boys and restrict the supply as much as we can.’’

When the sides first met in round two, Shepparton struggled to put a winning score on the board, booting just five goals for the match as Kyabram’s defensive unit constricted the Bears with ease, but Campbell believed that game had little relevance tomorrow.

‘‘I’m not reading too much into it, it was under lights and a bit greasy,’’ he said.

‘‘I just want the group to play as well as they can so we can get better, keep learning and keep developing.’’

The return of Luke Smith from Victoria Country duties will certainly help the Bears in attack, while Levi Power and VFL-listed Matt Brett could also take to the field.

For Kyabram, confidence is naturally sky high that it can continue to get the job done each week.

‘‘Definitely our last three weeks have been fantastic, so hopefully we can keep that going, obviously there’s still a long way to go,’’ coach Paul Newman said.

‘‘We know we need to start well and use the ball well, but even if we don’t, we pride ourselves on finishing games strongly.’’

It would seem easy to let your guard down after so much sustained success, but Newman firmly believed there was no danger of that at the Bombers.

‘‘There is no complacency in our group,’’ he said.

‘‘We know what we need to do every week, and we’ve shown over the past 18 months that everyone will play their role and if they don’t, then someone else will step up.’’

Sam Sheldon and Zac Norris will return to Kyabram’s line-up tomorrow, with selection becoming harder every week for Newman.

‘‘A couple of blokes will be stiff,’’ he said.

‘‘Fortunately we have a very healthy list, it’s a good position to be in and we make no excuse for that (leaving players out).’’

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