Bombers flick the switch

September 13, 2017

Kyabram midcourter Jemma Osborne was an integral part of coach Belinda Lees' starting seven on Saturday.

AFTER blitzing the competition week after week, a seemingly immortal Kyabram looked beatable for the first time this season on Saturday.

From the first whistle, Shepparton United looked like a force to be reckoned with, leading for the first quarter and a half of the second semi-final.

Up by six goals at quarter time and extending their lead to 10 goals midway through the second term, the Demons spelled danger for the struggling Bombers.

With Kyabram trailing 11-21, the crowd held their breath as the Bombers’ aim of an immaculate season looked increasingly under threat.

But a stunning turnaround from Kyabram brought United’s ascendency to an abrupt end.

The Bombers surged back, piling on goal after goal and closing the margin to two goals down at half time.

By the time the Demons managed to score another goal halfway through the third term, Kyabram had scored an incredible 18 consecutive goals – a feat rarely seen in the Goulburn Valley League.

Jemma Osborne and Steph Vick worked hard to turn around any balls that entered the Demon’s attack end, heaping on pressure that reflected United’s in the first quarter and a half.

Like the Bombers later on in the match, United initially won the play at the centre pass.

Causing held-ball calls and inaccurate passing, the Demons had Kyabram covered in the centre third.

Lees said she was impressed with how well the opposition had figured them out in certain areas.

‘‘They definitely had done their homework, too, and that showed through and we needed to adjust to that in our break,’’ she said.

‘‘Yes, it surprised us in the first quarter, but then how amazing for me to be able to tell them (Kyabram players) what they need to do and then go out there and change their natural play and get on top and dominate.

“Our first quarter was very disjointed and disconnected, but it’s a credit to the girls that they were able to adjust and reset.”

Despite falling behind in the first half, Lees didn’t question her decision to stick with her usual seven in last weekend’s round.

‘‘I need to show belief in the girls and I think changes can work, but I don’t change for change’s sake and we’ve got a grand final to come and I don’t want to shatter the confidence of one of these girls when I know what they’ve got and what they can give me,’’ she said.

‘‘Jemma was fantastic in the second half and dominated the court, so if I didn’t give her the opportunity to come back out after the second quarter then what does that say?’’

Heading into the grand final in two weeks’ time, Lees said she didn’t see Saturday’s tough game as a concern.

“Every game we play makes us better and stronger. We still haven’t played our best game and that’s exciting. Hopefully that game is still to come.”

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