Rovers stun Brigades as Northampton move up to third

Derek GoforthGeraldton Guardian
Brigades Mick Quick is rundown by Rover Beau Simpson
Camera IconBrigades Mick Quick is rundown by Rover Beau Simpson Credit: Artic Moon Photography

Going into round 14, Brigades were level with Railways on 36 points, while Rovers were neck and neck with Northampton on 24 with Chapman Valley still holding hope of finals a further four points back.

After a difficult month with availability issues, Rovers coach Ian Comben said going into the match that “this is as close to a full squad as we have seen in a while, we are still aiming for a top-three finish.”

Brigades meanwhile were hoping for a fitting celebration for player Erinn McCartney’s 200th league game.

However those Rovers reinforcements were telling as they managed a thrilling upset with a fine performance across the team, coming out winners 10.8 (68) to Brigades 8.9 (57).

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The match started with Rovers scoring early, managing a minor score after less than one minute of open play but Brigades scored the first goal after a great series of passes and a composed kick from Fraser Ismail.

Kristerfer Ryder added Brigades’ second on the 10-minute mark, taking his kick in his usual calm and confident manner.

Dylan Curley, newly returned to the side ensured the score line did not get away from Rovers, bagging a well taken goal from distance before following up with his second minutes later, narrowing the gap to just one point.

The first term finished with Brigades in a narrow lead 2.4 (16) to Rovers 2.2 (14).

The second quarter started with the Demons very much in charge as Roland Drummond scored an early goal after Jaimon Alone and Clay Azevedo showed unselfish teamwork to set up Drummond for his first of the afternoon.

Alone followed up with his first as the Demons had all the momentum and energy early and made it count as Dwayne Clift adding to Brigades’ woes, with Rovers’ fifth goal of the half.

Brigades were unable to answer Rovers’ onslaught as Christopher Scott was again instrumental, marshalling his team and setting up Josh Simpson with a scrappy goal in front of the posts.

Dale Williamson hit the scoreboard at a crucial time to stem the bleeding just before half time, but Scott responded immediately out of defence kicking his first of the afternoon.

Rovers had a confident lead, going into the break 7.4 (46) to the Hawks 3.6 (24).

The Hawks needed to fire after the break and Jack Deschamps worked hard to get Brigades first for the third period.

Williamson again proved he is still one of the best as he scored his second and was unlucky not to get another minutes later.

Rovers were under pressure and looked lost, unable to answer Brigades’ skilful and composed tackling in the third term.

It boiled over as they lost composure and received two yellow cards for late tackles.

Jorden O’Brian capitalised on the extra numbers scoring just before three quarter time, narrowing the margin to just four points.

Rovers managed only one minor score in the third quarter as it looked like once again they would run out of legs.

But whatever Comben said during the break must have had an impact as Denim Ranger broke the Rovers’ goal drought four minutes into the period.

The teams then exchanged goals with a back and forth in the centre of the oval as both sides looked to break through.

Williamson scored a skilful goal from a 45-degree angle but in the end it was not enough as Rovers upset the league leaders, having managed to hold on to their early lead.

At the Towns’ home game, Northampton smashed the cellar-dwelling Bulldogs 21.10 (136) to 8.6 (54) as Nathaniel Mourambine booted eight goals.

The hefty percentage boost catapulted the Rams into third overtaking the Rovers despite their win.

Chapman Valley travelled to Mullewa with their season on the line and got an emphatic 18.16 (124) to 6.7 (43) win over the Saints.

Lee Hutchins led the way with five goals with support from Rhys Eversden who had three as Gerard Mckenna, Ewan Whitely, Taylor Kelly, Ryan Forrester and Sam Solomon were among the best for the Royals to ensure they remain alive in the finals race.

Round 15 sees Rovers host Dale Baynes’ Towns at Greenough Oval while Brigades welcome their main rivals Railways at home in what could be a decider for the top two ladder places.

Chapman Valley will host Northampton in what could be a huge eight point game for the Royals.

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