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Rovers edge midfield battle to stop charging Rams as Hawks feast on Mullewa

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Shaun Brennan chases after Flynn Dillon.
Camera IconShaun Brennan chases after Flynn Dillon. Credit: Jake Santa Maria

It was a rematch of last year’s second semifinal and once again Rovers came out on top over Northampton in a low-scoring arm wrestle at Greenough on Saturday.

There was no need for a last-quarter rally as Rovers got their second win on the bounce 6.10 (46) to 4.8 (32) to put themselves back in touch with the top four.

The Rams have been top of the ladder all season but they were underwhelming against Towns last weekend.

They also came into the clash without Harry Taylor and Jack Cripps who have been their leading lights up forward this season leaving Trent Simpson as the sole key forward.

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But they still had plenty of talent in the midfield as did Rovers as the ball seemed to live between the arcs in the opening quarter.

Clay Azevedo kicks for goal.
Camera IconClay Azevedo kicks for goal. Credit: Jake Santa Maria

Rovers should have opened their account after Khyan Townsend had burst down the wing to set up Josh Simpson but he dragged the kick on a blustery afternoon.

But Rams had a tough time moving the ball cleanly and repeated turnovers put themselves under pressure and Clay Azevedo made them pay with his first of the afternoon.

Out of the centre bounce a lack of discipline saw Chris Scott give away a 50m penalty allowing Flynn Dillon to kick his first.

Then they got a bit of luck as Dylan Corbett burst from the pack and kicked a bouncing ball towards goal which looked certain to miss only to perform a late leg break that Shane Warne would’ve been proud of to turn into the goals.

From there the Rams enjoyed more of the ball but Rovers were always looking to use their pace to punish them on the break which allowed Jesse Ryan to waltz into an open goal after the Rams were caught in transition to get the lead back to two points at quarter-time.

The second quarter was a repeat of the first with the two sides trading blows in the midfield and clean forward entries at a premium.

Azevedo was on hand again to break the deadlock and hand Rovers the lead for the first time since Simpson’s opening behind.

Then a 50/50 high tackle call went against the Rams allowing Chris Scott to rebound off half-back and set up Josh Simpson for his first goal.

Azevedo then missed another as Rams went goalless in the second term trailing 2.4 (16) to 4.3 (27).

Kobe Simpson attempts to tackle Quinton Narkle.
Camera IconKobe Simpson attempts to tackle Quinton Narkle. Credit: Jake Santa Maria

Quinton Narkle ended the drought in the third before Farren Parfitt responded to keep the Rams at bay.

Northampton repeatedly battered the Rovers defence but as they struggled to move the ball forward the Rams would not break through with the siren arriving just in time for the Dees.

The Rams had finished the term stronger and continued that momentum into the final quarter to bring the margin back to seven points.

Rovers missed a chance to respond and the Rams broke fast from the kick-in with Trent Simpson receiving the ball just beyond 50.

But he butchered the forward entry kicking straight to Josh Simpson and another fast break saw Townsend with the ball and he sealed the game with a lovely kick on the run.

Northampton had their chances but without their two figureheads in the forward line struggled to find their targets up forward.

At Brigades the Hawks feasted on a sorry Mullewa side kicking 32.12 (204) to 4.10 (34) in a 170-point thumping.

Jordan Obrien and Jayden Schofield enjoyed themselves with six goals each while Kaiden Dann had five of his own with the nadir for the Saints coming in the third quarter when the Hawks kicked 13 unanswered goals.

At Towns, Chapman Valley eased passed the Bulldogs 14.15 (99) to 4.4 (28) with Jaye Colgate leading the way with five goals and Brett Robinson three.

Lee Hutchins got two goals in his final game as he jets off to Melbourne bringing a close to his 158 game stint with the Royals

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