Clash of the titans

April 28, 2017

Kyabram ruckman Jake Reeves is back from injury for the grand final rematch with Rochester.

Premiership heroes Billy Burstin and Jake Reeves will return for Kyabram’s grand final rematch with Rochester.

Explosive forward Burstin and ruckman Reeves have improved significantly during the past week and will take their spots at Moon Oval on Sunday.

However, dynamite forward Hayden Gemmill is expected to miss longer than expected with a groin injury after pulling up sore following a run in the reserves against Shepparton last Saturday night.

‘‘It will be a good test to see how we’re kicking along and we know we’ve got a fair bit of improvement left in us,’’ Kyabram coach Paul Newman said.

‘‘Getting Jake and Billy back means we’re just at about near full capacity, we’re really just waiting on Hayden, who could be missing a bit of footy.’’

The Bombers take a 23-match winning streak into the clash with the Tigers, which includes last year’s 13-point victory in the decider at Deakin Reserve.

Not a lot has changed for both sides since last September, but Newman is coaching from the sidelines after finishing up his legendary playing career with a premiership.

At Rochester, the Tigers are going with a similar list again and coach James Flaherty believes that is a positive.

After a first up loss at home to Seymour, Flaherty’s men responded with a belting of Shepparton United last week that included 11 individual goal-kickers and Steven Stroobants booting six.

‘‘This group has been together for three or four years now, two years under myself,’’ Flaherty said.

‘‘We’re always looking to be more proactive in how we play week in, week out.

‘‘We put a big score on the board last week with a lot of different goal-kickers, but we know it will be a bit different this week with Ky’s back six.’’

Despite the pain of coming so close to a premiership, Flaherty said last year’s grand final defeat had been barely mentioned in the lead-up.

‘‘The focus has been on this year and the opportunities that are in front of us now,’’ Flaherty said.

Forward Dylan Cuttriss is in doubt for the match after receiving a heavy head knock against the Demons.

Xavier Hooppell and James McPhee are options to replace Cuttriss if he doesn’t come up in time.

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