AFL: The Hervey Bay Bombers acknowledged their past, celebrated their new and secured their first senior win of the season on Saturday.

Helicopters, premiership trophies, the naming of dressing rooms and oh yes, and some football entertained the Bombers faithful. The party began after the reserves match between the Maryborough Bears and Brothers Bulldogs.

Under heavy skies with light rain falling, the sound of a helicopter approaching drew the attention of the crowd. A yellow machine landed in the centre of Norm McLean field with the women’s team captain Brooke Lewis, coach Phil Eisel, manager Kay Duffy and the 2020 Wide Bay AFL women’s premiership trophy inside.

The team were declared winners after the season cancellation before the finals due to the pandemic. As they left the helicopter and walked across the field, they were mobbed by teammates forming a tight circle raising the trophy above their heads. They were clapped and cheered as they moved towards the clubhouse.

Team captain Brooke Lewis was beaming with pride as she walked the trophy to the clubrooms.

“It was a strange season, but it is great to celebrate our success,” she said.

She thanked the club for acknowledging their unbeaten season.

Brooke Lewis

Coach Phil Eisel was cautious in what the day meant for the team.

“It’s not how you want to win the trophy, but we will take it,” he said.

The focus for the club then turned to the change rooms where President Phillip Short in the presence of Ignatenko family members announced the naming of the Val Ignatenko Change Rooms.

Val was a life member of the Hervey Bay Bombers, and the club acknowledged his contribution with the naming of the change rooms.

“It is important we recognise our history and remember the contributions of those before us,” Short said.

It was then time for some football with the Hervey Bay Bombers playing Brothers Bulldogs. On a heavy field, it was the home team who started the scoring with a 1-4 – 10 to 0-0 – 0 first quarter.

Brothers Bulldogs fought back hard in the second quarter scoring four goals to three, reducing the Bombers lead to seven points.

A dominant third quarter by the home team made their lead more comfortable scoring a further 22 points to extend their lead.

A solitary goal in the final quarter by Brothers Bulldogs was not enough to fight back against the Bombers. Hervey Bay defeating their Bundaberg rivals 7-19 – 61 to 5-0 – 30.

Hervey Bay Bombers player Lucas Hodgetts was the only multiple goal scorer of the day kicking 2.4 for the match.

Coach Darren Baldwin securing his first win for the club as senior’s coach.

“It was a fitting result for the hard work the team have been putting in,” he said.

The team host their cross-town rivals the Bay Power next Saturday.

In the earlier reserves match it was a win for the Maryborough Bears, defeating Brothers Bulldogs 8-21 – 69 to 0-0 – 0.

It was the first win for the Maryborough side in over a year. Bears player Kieron Hyndman believed the win would continue to build team morale. “There was a good mood in the dressing room, and it was pleasing for the team,” he said.

The team fielded ten new players in the match.

The Bears return to Norm McLean oval next week when they play the Hervey Bay Bombers in round four.

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