Bombers to appoint fifth coach in five years

HERVEY Bay Bombers will be led by into the 2018 AFL Wide Bay season by its fifth coach in five years.

Tony Potter steered the Bombers to the preliminary final after it finished fourth on the QFA Wide Bay Sunshine Coast ladder this year.

But Potter, who grew up in South Australia and experienced success in his five years at Darwin before he linked with the Bombers.

Hervey Bay overcame a relatively slow start, in which it won just one of its first three games, and a late-season slump, during which it lost three of four games, to reach the finals.

The Bombers smashed cross-town rivals Bay Power by 33 points in the elimination final, before it lost the preliminary final to eventual premiers Maroochydore by just eight points.

While the Raward Rd club is expected to appoint its new coach by the end of the month, we've looked back at the Bombers' recent history.

2017: Tony Potter (preliminary final)

Potter's Bombers finished the regular season in fourth place with a 9-5 record (118.72%).

The last-round 9.12-66 - 7.5-47 win against Across The Waves allowed the Bombers to qualify for the finals.

Hervey Bay avenged the previous year's preliminary final loss to Bay Power by ending their cross-town rivals' season, at the Power's Keith Dunne Oval, with a 33 point win.

The Bombers lost to eventual premiers Maroochydore Roos 7.8-50 - 6.6-42 the following week.

Hervey Bay Bombers coach Tony Potter.
Hervey Bay Bombers coach Tony Potter. Matthew McInerney

2016: Darren Hunter (preliminary final)

Hunter's Bombers became the hunted at AFL Wide Bay's preliminary final.

The Bombers held a 30-point lead at half-time, but the Power took full control in the second half of the contest. The Power kicked 12 goals, seven in the final term, to qualify for their first grand final.

Before that collapse, the Bombers looked most likely to end ATW's pursuit of a third consecutive flag.

Both the Bombers and Power beat ATW twice during the regular season, but the Bombers boasted a close-knit squad that had swept almost all before it, not to mention a superior win-loss record.

The Bombers went unbeaten for two months - eight consecutive games, plus three byes - to cement second spot on the ladder with an 11-5 record (120.76%), while James Hickey was the competition's leading goalkicker.

 

Bomebrs coach Darren Hunter. Bay Power v Hervey Bay Bombers. AFL Wide Bay preliminary final at Coulthard Oval, Bundaberg.
Bomebrs coach Darren Hunter. Bay Power v Hervey Bay Bombers. AFL Wide Bay preliminary final at Coulthard Oval, Bundaberg. Matthew McInerney

2015: Kevin Brown (preliminary final)

Brown's Bombers were the only team on this list to qualify for the finals with more losses than wins.

Hervey Bay won six and lost seven games (plus one forfeit) to finish third (91.04%) in the four-team competition.

Both Hervey Bay teams struggled against their powerful Bundaberg counterparts, though the Bombers maintained its reputation as the best-performing Fraser Coast club in the senior AFL Wide Bay competition.

The Bombers of 2015 were enigmatic.

They could string together impressive sequences of footy and, at times, looked like it could dominate every team in regional Queensland, but there were too many moments when the Bombers were rudderless in attack and didn't perform in defence.

It culminated in a preliminary final thrashing at the hands of Brothers Bulldogs, who ended the Bombers' season with a 19.20-134 - 9.13-67 victory in Bundaberg.

 

New Bombers coach - Kevin Brown.

Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
New Bombers coach - Kevin Brown. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

2012-2014: Troy Ignatenko (three grand finals, two flags)

Easily the most successful coach in Hervey Bay Bombers' recent history, Troy Ignatenko knew only success when he coached the AFL Wide Bay team.

He took over the role as head coach in 2012, and in his first season claimed the minor-major premiership double courtesy of an undefeated season, and a whopping 522.19% points differential (2000 points for, 383 points conceded).

Ignatenko's 2012 Bombers strangled the life out of its opposition, in particular Maryborough Bears, who featured in its last seniors' competition until its expected 2018 return.

The Bombers kicked 87 goals against Maryborough in four games.

The team twice eclipsed the 200-point mark as the Bears managed a combined 43 points against the powerful Bombers, who posted the triple-figure totals in all but five of its games, including finals.

Ignatenko landed his first premiership courtesy of an 11.14-80 - 10.10-70 win against ATW.

The Bombers finished second on the AFL Wide Bay ladder in 2013 but beat the Eagles in the decider, again.

Hervey Bay boasted a points differential of 158%, which was better than their rivals, but finished with an 11-4 record, just one loss behind ATW.

Chris Verbeek and Clint Ennis combined for 14 goals - seven each - to turn Coulthard Oval into the Bombers' field of dreams on grand final day, as they smashed ATW 22.11-143 - 9.10-64.

The Bombers should have won three consecutive flags but fell at the final hurdle in 2014.

Hervey Bay kicked 2001 points, had a points differential of 294.70%, and ended the season with a 14-2 record.

A first-quarter blitz, punctuated by Patrick Power's eight-goal haul, saw ATW take and maintain control of the grand final, which happened to be the Bombers' Norm Mclean Oval home.

ATW eventually ran out 14.16-100 - 10.6-66 winners, and started a run of three-straight premierships during which they beat the Bombers, Bulldogs and Power.

Ignatenko stepped aside from his role as coach but is still involved with the club today.

 

AFL - Hervey Bay Bombers and Bundaberg Bulldogs - Bombers' coach, Troy Ignatenko.

Photo: Valerie Horton / Fraser Coast Chronicle
AFL - Hervey Bay Bombers and Bundaberg Bulldogs - Bombers' coach, Troy Ignatenko. Photo: Valerie Horton / Fraser Coast Chronicle Valerie Horton


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