Brigades beat reigning back-to-back premiers Rovers to go top in GNFL
Brigades went top in the Great Northern Football League for the first time since round one with a convincing win over the reigning back-to-back premiers on Saturday.
Coach Cory Foot said it was a “meaningful” result as the Hawks consigned Rovers to a five-goal defeat at home, 14.10 (94) to 8.13 (61), with Kim Schofield starring in the middle of the park for the winners.
With Brigades clear at the top after Railways stumbled at Northampton, Foot said with three rounds to go until finals, the aim was to keep his side fit and healthy to face the slog on muddy fields against tough opposition.
“That (the result) was the one we wanted,” he said.
“Rovers were missing a lot of key players, but the ones that stood in their place did a good job.
“It was just a real slugfest, really, good old-fashioned football from both sides.
“It was hard going.”
He singled out Jamie Ryder, Jack Deschamp and Kaiden Dann as stand-outs. Dann was top scorer with six. Ryder and David Little each chipped in two.
Rovers went into the match in the unusual position of underdogs, with the Hawks on a seven-game winning streak going into the round.
The Demons avoided a caning but will rue lost momentum earlier in the season.
Both teams ran out in cautious manner, feeling each other out.
Brigades put the first points on the board after some clumsy defending, with Ben O’Brien confidently dispatching the free kick from 50m.
It didn’t take the Demons long to respond from a free kick of their own, with Liam Dibben scoring from 25m out from a sharp angle.
Brigades looked faster and more competitive across the park but Rovers held their own, with Dylan Curley making sure they weren’t too far behind by kicking two early goals on his way to three.
Brigades piled on the pressure as the match went on, with O’Brien beating the defenders in the air and on the ground.
Kim Schofield was strong in possession in perhaps his best game for the Hawks so far this season.
The win didn’t come without a price, with the Hawks losing Lewyn Valli to a broken collarbone and Sammy Millet also going off injured.
On the plus side, Kalanni Barton is fit for the Hawks again after suffering a punctured lung earlier in the season, although he didn’t feature this round.
Rovers coach Ian Comben said he was still hopeful of a triple.
“Time will tell,” he said. “We will regroup and have another crack.
“We look forward to Railways.”
Rovers’ Chris Scott also showed what he is capable of in fits and starts, but failed to build enough momentum to really trouble the Brigades defenders.
Jamie Geier made the best list.
The Demons play the Blues away on Sunday and while a top-four place is now guaranteed, they have a bye on the final day of the home and away season and just two games to make a tilt at the top two.
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