GNFL Round 8 preview: Railways, Brigades and Rovers continue to dominate 2022

Victor TantiGeraldton Guardian
Rovers coach Ian Comben says it is hard to predict the make-up of this year’s GNFL top three.
Camera IconRovers coach Ian Comben says it is hard to predict the make-up of this year’s GNFL top three. Credit: Arctic Moon Photography

Railways, Brigades and Rovers have dominated the 2022 GNFL season. But which of them will finish third?

Only five premiers in 61 completed seasons were third or fourth after the qualifiers, so Saturday’s Brigades and Rovers game at GBSC Park is vital. Both have a 5-1 record.

Ian Comben, in his fourth year as Rovers coach, said his side was inconsistent but the top three were vastly better than the bottom four so the result was hard to gauge.

“Our best is very good and at other times we’re average — ability-wise we have the league’s best list but need more players to train regularly,” Comben said.

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“It’s hard getting a feel on our efforts when there’s games we expect to win — the one time we played another top three team was Railways where they were fitter and we showed poor discipline that I hope won’t happen again.”

Rovers are without a badly injured Farren Parfitt for the rest of the year, which is a blow as he has 135 career goals, but Shannon Cox, while not always available due to work, is fitter than he’s been in years.

Comben said there was “a slight chance” 2020 Clune medallist Tom Denton would return from injury late in the season.

Among Rovers’ best this season is Gabriel Parfitt and Comben said he deserved praise.

“He’s one who rarely misses training and I’m very pleased with his form, while Chris Scott has been great in the midfield and I’m also pleased with Beau and Koby Simpson, Jamie Geier and some others,” he said.

“We’ve given four to six colts a run each week which is good for the future but have an issue getting our Perth-based players Jack Eastough, Ed Curley and Joe Ugle home — it’d be great to have all three at the same time.

“Brigades are a very good side and even in strength across the field. We’ll have to contain the Schofield brothers in the midfield and obviously Dale (Williamson) is a target up front.

“I’ll be happy if we can run with them and good enough to win. To make the top two is our aim so a very important match.”

The other games feature teams who are way behind the top three, but one will finish fourth. To make the four would be a great result for any of them.

Northampton are home at Purcher International Oval against Towns and should win.

Mullewa and Chapman Valley meet at Mazzuchelli Oval in a game that could go either way.

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