Rovers retained top position on the ladder in a one-point win against Chapman Valley at Nabawa on Saturday, 5.17 (47) to 7.4 (46). Rovers coach Ian Comben said the hosts never relaxed the pressure. “The Valley worked hard all day and could have easily won — they were probably unlucky not to,” he said. “With a low-scoring game and windy conditions we were lucky to get home. “It was a case of poor kicking for goals if you get that many chances and can’t capitalise on them. Comben said club morale remained high and they should retain first or at least second position with just two rounds to go before the finals. Chapman Valley coach Billy Drennan complimented the visitors on a hard game. “It was just an arm-wrestle all day,” he said. “They never got to a lead and neither did we — I don’t think there was more than a goal in it at each break.” Drennan said the Royals were unlikely to make it into the top two, but should stay in the third or fourth spot, cementing their place in the finals. This Saturday, Chapman Valley play Northampton at home and Rovers play Brigades at GBSC Sports Park. At Purcher International Stadium, Railways defeated Northampton 14.9 (93) to 9.6 (60), also on Saturday. Railways coach Karl Pirrottina said the home side gave them a tough time. “We had a really good start in the first quarter, 5.2 into the breeze. It was 30 points at half-time,” he said. “Pretty close after half-time. We had a six or seven-goal lead then they kicked the last couple of goals.” He said they made good use of the cross-wind. “I think we linked it up really well with the handball and it allowed us to get into some good scoring areas and convert to some goals,” he said. “There was some good foot skills and use of the handball, but a couple of times we overused it to their advantage.” Northampton coach Gus Devitt said Railways’ fitness and ability to keep the ball moving made the difference. “The first two quarters we had the intensity but it just faded off in the last five minutes of each quarter,” he said. “They can run all day. “We played well but it didn’t reflect on the board.” This Saturday, Railways play Mullewa and the Rams play Chapman Valley. Bulldogs focused on rebuild Brigades defeated Towns 13.13 (91) to 7.1(43) on Saturday in what Bulldogs coach Dale Baynes called “a tale of two halves”. “Up until half-time, we were all in it and matched them all around the ground,” he said. “In the second half, our players gave their all but were faced with a better team. They have got senior players out on the park with bigger bodies and we have got nine colts-aged players. It is definitely a rebuild and a development stage.” Baynes said this was his focus rather than “looking at the scoreboard”. “Some have played every game since round 1 and now they are pretty much senior players, and having a good crack at it,” he said. “In two or three years’ time, if they all stick around they will have had 30 games under their belt, and other clubs might have senior players retire and they will be in the redevelopment stage.” Brigades coach Corey Foot complimented his opponents. “They had a couple of players who had only played one or two games and they can hold their heads high,” he said. Foot said a “back-to-basics” approach helped his own Hawks win round 8 and retain fourth position on the ladder. “We focused on teamwork and a simple game plan and I think we executed that to a T,” he said. “It was a bit windy, so there were a few errors made but we focused on fixing those errors and playing good team footy. “The previous week we had our pants pulled down by Railways, which was an embarrassing effort, but we got together over the week and the training intensity was right up there.” Foot said he looked forward to playing the top-of-the-ladder Rovers next week. “The timing couldn’t be better for us; we want to challenge ourselves. I look forward to it,” he said. “This week, there was some players who played positions they had never played in their careers; they responded the way I wanted them to and we are a good team for it. The club’s leading goal kicker of all time, Dale Williamson, ended up playing full-back and did an outstanding job.” Towns have the bye this Saturday.