ON A disappointing day for the Echuca Football Club, it was mercilessly torn apart by a ferocious Kyabram, intent on keeping its perfect record intact.
Before Echuca could even register a single score, the league’s best side had built a staggering 119-0 lead in two and a half quarters of football, completely obliterating the Murray Bombers in every area of the game.
Gun Kyabram forward Kayne Pettifer kicked nine goals but with the time and space afforded to all of its forwards, the goals could have gone to anyone.
A disappointed Echuca coach Andrew Briggs said the side’s effort had not been up to scratch on a day when only it’s best would do.
‘‘We talked afterwards, it was a poor effort and we identified that effort won’t beat anyone,’’ he said.
‘‘The effort needs to improve, but we’ve got an opportunity going forward to beat some of those teams above us.
‘‘(Saturday) certainly wasn’t how we planned it out, but we’ve still got the rest of the season to look forward to.’’
He said the team needed to apply itself in a more effective way, especially against such a polished and experienced side.
‘‘The effort was there at times, it’s more about when and where and how, and general footy smarts; Kyabram’s IQ was a lot stronger than ours,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s about using energy in effective ways, working smarter and not harder.
‘‘But Kyabram is just so good, it’s an outstanding team.
‘‘Our players were talking after and saying that the same tackles they’d laid against Shepp United, the Kyabram boys were slipping them because they’re too strong. They were better kicks and marks, and had better skills as a whole.’’
A solid crowd had amassed at Victoria Park, hoping Echuca could take it up to the ladder leader.
Kyabram goaled from its first inside 50, controlling the play in its own half and not allowing the Murray Bombers to string any possession together without immense pressure.
In truth, the Echuca backline held up well to only trail 20-0 after 20 minutes, but three goals in time-on gave Kyabram a handy 38-0 quarter-time lead, and it seemingly knocked the life out of the Murray Bombers.
With a 14-4 clearance domination in the first quarter, Kyabram would continue where it left off in the next term, Kyle Mueller goaling seconds into the quarter.
Simon Buckley fought gallantly and tried to push the play and attack, but play broke down for Echuca every time it took the ball out of defence, and with the dangerous Bombers’ forwards of Pettifer, Patrick Wearden, Mueller and Brad Mangan in blistering form, it was goal after goal.
Trailing 93-0 at half-time, Echuca needed to lift to take any amount of respectability from the contest.
But it copped another three goals to start the second half before Buckley goaled with class to bring a loud, somewhat patronising cheer from the Echuca fans, fifteen minutes into the third quarter.
The procession continued, Kyabram piling on 11 goals to four in the second half to take a 142-point win.
Pettifer looked unstoppable with his nine goals but the Bombers’ forward line was brilliant, always presenting well and capitalising on the beautiful delivery inside 50.
Mueller managed four, Mangan three with two to Wearden, Drew Barrett and Axel Childs.
Buckley fought on well for Echuca, involved in nearly every positive moment for the Murray Bombers.
He was helped by Kane Morris who again dominated in the ruck to give his midfielders a chance to clear the ball.
Echuca has little time to dwell on the poor result, heading to Euroa to face the in-form Magpies this weekend.
The only positive coming from Saturday was given losses to Benalla and Seymour, the Murray Bombers are only one game and percentage outside fourth-placed Rochester, still a chance to play finals if they can quickly regroup.
And Briggs said all his side could do was learn from the experience and pick itself up for next week’s huge game.
‘‘There are certain aspects of the game we’ll look at and learn from; we won’t focus too much on our game but we’ll look at how Kyabram played and learn from that,’’ he said.
‘‘Our 2002 Echuca premiership winning coach Ash Byrne reminded me yesterday that side actually lost by 145 points during the season, so anything can happen.
‘‘Next week we’ve got Euroa and we’ll have to get up and about for that.’’