Battle for top four rages as Rovers, Northampton and Chapman Valley pick up key wins

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaMidwest Times
Josh Simpson kicks for goal against Hawk Nathan Svenson
Camera IconJosh Simpson kicks for goal against Hawk Nathan Svenson Credit: Artic Moon Photography

Northampton have moved into third on the ladder to sit inside of the top three for the first time since round two after they crushed the lowly Bulldogs at Country Builders stadium.

Towns were effectively put away in the first quarter as an eight-goal to two first term set the tone for a 21.10 (136) to 8.6 (54) victory.

Coming in level on points with Rovers, the Rams knew a big win could see them jump the Demons into third place and they would not have a better chance to boost their percentage than against the last-placed Bulldogs.

Towns haven’t sung their song since round four and were coming off a goalless performance against Railways two weeks ago.

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Rams kicked the opening goal inside two minutes through Liam Campbell before Nathaniel Maourambine got his first of the game in what would be a busy afternoon for the full forward.

Towns managed to get one back but after that it was one-way traffic as the Rams piled on six straight goals, as on more than one occasion Mourambine found himself free out the back of the contest to waltz into open goals.

Jack Osborn eventually stopped the run but the game was as good as over from that point onwards.

Mourambine ended up with eight goals for the afternoon to vault himself back into contention for the league goal kicking award, while Trent Simpson managed four of his own.

Stuart Gaby kicked three for the Towns while Rohan Fariss picked up his eighth best player nomination to continue his good personal form in a tough season for the team.

It was the Rams biggest score for the season and just the second time they have broken the 100-point mark. The first being their win over Railways back in round one.

Rovers faced a tough test at home against Brigades and after sitting comfortably in the top four for most of the season are now in a three-way battle to stay in the top four.

They have struggled with availability issues over the past month leading to inconsistent footy and multiple players backing up for the Colts, often leading to tired legs.

However, with most of his side back Ian Comben’s men put in a stunning performance to upset the league leaders by 11 points 10.8 (68) to 8.9 (57).

The match started with Brigades scoring the first goal through Fraser Ismail as Kristerfer Ryder also got in the action early with a goal.

Dylan Curley, in his return to the league side, answered with two quick-fire goals to narrow the lead to two points at the break.

In the second quarter the Demons turned up the heat as they kicked five goals to one with Jaimon Alone picking up two goals and Chris Scott cancelling out Dale Williamson’s effort just before the main break to really take the wind out of Brigades.

However, the Hawks lifted in the third term keeping Rovers to just one behind as Williamson kicked his second, while two yellow cards for dangerous tackles left Rovers undermanned which allowed Jordan O’Brien to shrink the gap to just four points.

It looked as if the Demons would be overrun but they held their nerve to kick the opening goal of the quarter and control the lead from there as the teams traded goals allowing the Rovers to claim the upset.

With both Rams and Rovers winning it meant Chapman Valley’s season was on the line against Mullewa on Sunday afternoon, but they made no mistake dismantling the Saints 18.16 (124) to 6.7 (43).

The Royals broke the game open with a six-goal third quarter as they kept Mullewa to just three behinds as captain Lee Hutchins led the way with a five-goal haul.

It keeps their hopes alive setting up an eight-point game against Norhampton next week, while Rovers will be looking for a big win against Towns as a top-of-the-table clash looms between Railways and Brigades.

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