Sport

Ready to paint Town red

by
August 03, 2017

Ray "Daffy" Lamaro (right), pictured with his son Hayden celebrating Violet Town's 2012 KDFL flag, played in the club's 1987 premiership.

Violet Town will stage one of the biggest match days in its recent history on Saturday.

Not only will the Towners be playing for top position in a potential Kyabram District grand final preview with Nagambie, two celebrated premierships will be remembered.

Players from the senior flag in 1987 and the 2007 under-18 triumph will gather to tell stories of yesteryear.

Andrew Knowles was captain-coach of Violet Town’s Benalla District Football League premiership 30 years ago.

It was his first year in charge of his hometown club, growing up in Violet Town before going onto star in the Goulburn Valley League with Euroa.

He played in the club’s 1982 premiership before returning to lead the Towners to success in 1987 against Tatong and 1990.

‘‘We put together a very good team, with Violet Town boys who grew up in Violet Town and we had no real hiccups that year,’’ Knowles said.

It was a big day for country football legend Ray ‘‘Daffy’’ Lamaro, who played about 170 games each for Euroa and Violet Town and played in his first flag.

Rick O’Bree was another star of that era, winning the club’s best-and-fairest in 1986.

Club stalwart Peter Fulton was talked out of retirement, but a pre-planned holiday to Queensland almost derailed his appearance in the decider.

‘‘He was a premiership player at full-back in 1982 and we got him to play again in 1987, but a few weeks out he said he had already booked a holiday to Surfers Paradise on the day of the grand final before he decided to play,’’ Knowles said.

‘‘He was able to get the flight changed until the Sunday after the grand final, but being a renowned hard competitor, he was knocked out late in the first quarter.

‘‘His wife wasn’t too happy because it mucked up the holiday, but he still went as planned the next day with a concussion.’’

The match shaped as an evenly poised encounter, with the sides splitting the two games during the home-and-away season.

‘‘No-one was favourite going in, but it was a fiercely contested game, all fair, especially in those days and we would have won by about 17 points,’’ Knowles said.

The thirds premiership 10 years ago was the club’s first, upsetting a more experienced and highly fancied Stanhope team by 19 points.

Made up of a number of players aged 14 and 15, the Towners got out to a 32-point early in the last quarter before Stanhope attempted to mount a comeback.

That Violet Town team, coached by John Gerada, boasted a number of players who would go on to be senior contributors in the Goulburn Valley League, including Nick Abley and former Fremantle player Josh Mellington.

Mellington played in that premiership aged 14, showing the talent that has seen him become a star at Benalla and Ovens and Murray with Albury after his AFL career finished up.

Meanwhile, current Towners coach Sean Horsburgh said his side would not be holding anything back against Nagambie, despite the sides being destined to meet again in the finals.

‘‘Every game is important in the run to finals and both sides will throw everything at it,’’ Horsburgh said.

‘‘The ladder position is pretty tight at the moment and you don’t want to be dropping games now, so it will be a big day.’’

Horsburgh is under an injury cloud and may coach from the sidelines, while brother Pat could also miss the game in what would be a major blow for the Towners.

The Towners got the better of Linc Sullivan’s Lakers in round four, winning by 33 points.

Violet Town is coming off a bye, while Nagambie demolished Merrigum by 96 points last Saturday in an imposing display.

Undera v Rushworth

An opportunity for a much-needed win will be on the minds of Undera and Rushworth on Saturday.

The Lions’ only victory of the season came in round two against Longwood, while the Tigers have not sung the song since smashing Undera in round four by 138 points.

Jason Hucker’s side will be smarting after being overrun in the final quarter against Longwood on Saturday.

The Tigers led by as much as 33 points in the second quarter before conceding nine goals in the last term kicking with the breeze.

Key forward Rob Osborne keeps on getting the job done, coming off an eight-goal haul to take his season tally to 73 — 13 more than Violet Town’s Rob Staff in second.

Shaun Young, Shayne Lynch, Todd Clarke and Martin Grinter had good games against the Redlegs.

Undera had the bye last week, with the Lions’ last game a 123-point defeat against Longwood.

Longwood v Girgarre

Longwood has another opportunity to fill its record books.

The Redlegs pulled off one of their best wins last week by kicking nine goals against the breeze in the last quarter to defeat Rushworth.

It was the first time since joining the Kyabram District Football League in 2010 that they have brought up consecutive victories.

Braydon Kearns played a sensational game, despite carrying an injury, slotting six goals to step up in the absence of leading spearhead Anthony Tautala.

Ricky Ahearn, Jarrod Winzer, Sam Scott and Henry Peni are coming off terrific individual games.

Girgarre was fixtured against Ardmona last week and did not play, with the Kangaroos’ last outing a 123-point smashing against Tallygaroopna on July 22.

Greg Potter, Luke Whykes, Corey Wheeler and Shannon Tucker have been in good form for the ninth-placed Roos (4-9).

Merrigum v Avenel

Merrigum can go a long way towards securing a finals spot if it can upset Avenel on Saturday.

The Bulldogs have been up and down this season and are coming off a disappointing one-goal effort against Nagambie as the Lakers won by 96 points.

Mick Power’s side dropped out of the top six with that result, as Lancaster went ahead by having the bye.

Jake Parkinson, Geoff Connally, Dave Matthews, Charlie Lowe and Zak Parkinson were shining lights for Merrigum on a dark day.

The Bulldogs won this game at Avenel in round four, but the Swans have only lost twice since then.

Avenel pulled off a memorable 15-point win against Stanhope last week and is safe in the finals action for a fourth consecutive season.

But Don Stirling’s side will not want to rest on its laurels ahead of an open finals series.

Tallygaroopna v Murchison-Toolamba

Tallygaroopna will enter the top two if it can defeat Murchison-Toolamba on Saturday.

The Redlegs are third on the ladder, but with top sides Nagambie and Violet Town playing each other, they will jump ahead of the loser of that game due to their superior percentage.

Like Tallygaroopna, the Grasshoppers had the bye last week and will be raring to go for the last four games of the season.

Murchison-Toolamba sits only percentage out of the top six after an outstanding run of form, despite starting the season slowly.

The Grasshoppers have won six out of their past nine games, with the only defeats coming against last year’s grand finalists Nagambie and Avenel, along with Lancaster.

They have shared the goals around, with Ashton Cashion leading with 26 goals, while Luke Armstrong (17) and Nathan Carroll (12) have been able to hit the scoreboard.

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