Railways colts players star alongside Mitch Boyle, Drew Tunbridge in GNFL preliminary win

Reuben Carder & Victor TantiGeraldton Guardian
Jack Cocking, 16, marks ahead of Northampton players.
Camera IconJack Cocking, 16, marks ahead of Northampton players. Credit: Justine Rowe/SnapAction/Justine Rowe/SnapAction

A glimpse of the future was on offer on Sunday in the Great Northern Football League preliminary final as a young and talented Railways side overcame a strong Northampton to go through to the grand final.

The game finished 13.6 (84) to 10.9 (69) as Railways colts players Jack Cocking and Shaedan Edwards top-scored.

Railways coach Karl Pirrottina said the display gave him confidence ahead of the grand final against minor premiers Brigades.

Railways' Ben Saunders in possession.
Camera IconRailways' Ben Saunders in possession. Credit: Picture: Justine Rowe/SnapAction

“It's a pleasing result for the effort the boys have put in,” Pirrottina said.

“A lot of people didn’t give us a chance ... so it’s pleasing to silence a few of those critics.

“The young kids were sensational (and they are) mixed in with the seasoned campaigners. “We’re looking forward to next week.

“We go in with a lot of confidence we can match Brigades.”

Mitch Boyle brings the ball away from the centre circle.
Camera IconMitch Boyle brings the ball away from the centre circle. Credit: Picture: Justine Rowe/SnapAction

Railways stalwarts Mitchell Boyle, Jesse Adamini and returning captain Ben Saunders, back after suspension, shone as a group of colts players that have increasingly stepped up for the Blues and lit up the scoreboard.

Jack Cocking kicked five goals on the day, while his colts teammate Shaedan Edwards was second with three. Their performances came in a physical battle, with Northampton wielding tall players like Harry Taylor and East Fremantle player Brynn Teakle.

But the youngsters weren’t intimidated, with colts player Elijah Burrows also on the scoresheet, and both Cocking and Burrows among Railways’ best.

Boyle was the Blues’ best, playing some extremely tough football.

Rams ruckman Flynn Dillon won the league’s best on ground award.

Northampton playing coach Beau Walker ran hard all game and Nathaniel Mourambine was tricky to deal with and marked well.

The win meant Railways improved their preliminary record to 17 wins and nine losses in 26 games, while Northampton dropped to six wins and seven losses from 13 games. It was the first time these teams had met in a preliminary since 1995 and the fifth in all between them.

Railways have won all but one.

Northampton will be disappointed to go out in straight sets, but just over a third of teams in the GNFL’s 61 years, 22 in all, have done so.

Railways and Brigades last met in a grand final in 1986.

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