Dominance is stunning

October 10, 2017

It is hard to split the performances of Kyabram (pictured) and Nathalia, with their dominance over their respective competitions rivalled only by each other.

I know what you are thinking.

Footy season is over, boots and mouthguards have been consigned to the dark corners of wardrobes across the nation and surely the often aimless ramblings of this column will follow suit.

Boy, do I have news for you.

Maher’s Musings is here to stay, with cricket, lawn bowls, tennis and everything in between on the agenda and in the firing line.

But not just yet.

No, this week Musings HQ is going to take one last look in the rear-vision mirror and tackle a theory that has been bubbling for almost the entire season.

There must be something in the water throughout the Goulburn Valley.

Never have I seen such a penchant for dominance from teams across leagues, divisions and codes.

Of the five football competitions that we cover here at The News, four premiership cups were handed to teams winning either back-to-back flags (Kyabram, Nagambie, Picola United) or securing a three-peat (Nathalia).

The only outlier proved to be Picola District Football League south-east division premier Rennie, which defeated a Tungamah side contesting its fifth decider in a row.

When you add into the equation Kyabram’s undefeated netball season and back-to-back flags, Tocumwal’s three-peat on the PDNL north-west courts and Avenel’s astounding B-grade streak, currently at 60 wins and counting, the region has a penchant for a supreme ruler.

It is not only the winter sports which throw up dominant sides.

Central Park-St Brendan’s Haisman Shield record this century is well documented, showing that summer sports in this area are prone to a singular champion as well.

But why do leagues and competitions in this part of the country seem to have one side that rules them all?

I cannot tell you, although I have wracked my brain trying to figure it out.

However, while rubbing my two brain cells together trying to start an intellectual fire I happened across another thought.

What achievement is closer to perfect, 42 victories in a row in the Goulburn Valley League or eight finals appearances in 13 Murray Football League seasons for a return of eight flags?

I speak of course of Kyabram’s and Nathalia’s football warriors, and I certainly did not realise that perfection could manifest itself in so many different ways.

The Bombers and Purples can both lay claim to the title of ‘‘perfect’’ after winning grand finals this season, but the two teams achieved the feat in completely contrasting ways.

Paul Newman’s invincibles continued their stranglehold on the GVL with record-breaking back-to-back undefeated premierships, while Craig Kellow’s soldiers secured a three-peat and a remarkable dynasty of dominance with a hard-fought win against bitter rival Numurkah.

It is extremely difficult to decide which feat is harder to accomplish, but they are certainly different in nature.

Kyabram’s streak has been about a group of players completely and utterly too strong for every side it faces.

Despite occasionally giving teams a sniff in matches, the Bombers have never looked truly troubled enough to say that they were the worst outfit on the day.

It is a nod to discipline, hard work and team ethics, but also simply a case of too many stars and too many weapons for anyone else to contain or cope with.

The Purples have been decidedly more challenged.

The fact that they have not reached the finals five times during their current run of eight premierships will automatically rule them out in many pundits’ books.

But when Nathalia reaches September action, it gets the job done.

Rarely have the Purples even been the best side in the competition, yet when the whips are cracking and the season is on the line this unit is almost unbeatable.

It took a rampant Numurkah team with a point to prove to hand Nathalia its first finals defeat since the 2004 decider (a run of 16 straight wins) in this season’s second semi-final.

Like the terminator, the Purples knew they would be back.

The Blues held control of much of the contest during the grand final after Nathalia had stunned them in the first quarter, but it was enough for the champions to become legends.

For me, I lean towards favouring the Purples.

To be so successful for such a long period of time is more about the culture of the club, rather than the talent of any individual which pulls on the jumper and puts his body on the line for the cause.

But, and it is not a long stretch of the imagination to think that this may be possible, if the Bombers are able to again complete an undefeated year in 2018 it would surely be something that would never be done again at the level of the GVL.

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