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Chapman Valley throw hat in the ring for finals while Brigades stay at the top

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaMidwest Times
Christopher Scott fights for the ball against Tristan Jacques.
Camera IconChristopher Scott fights for the ball against Tristan Jacques. Credit: Artic Moon Photography

The race to the top four is as wide open as it has been since the start of the season after round 12 GNFL action.

With Northampton having the bye Chapman Valley had an opportunity to join the top four race if they could get past Rovers at Mazzuchelli Oval on Saturday.

Not for the first time, this season Rovers had players pulling double duty as injury and illness left them short of manpower.

It would come back to bite them as the Royals were a class above the weary Rovers in a 17.13 (113) 7.6 (48) victory.

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Rovers started brightly enough with Kingsley Dawson opening the scoring with a well-placed goal from 40m on a tight angle before Godfrey Curley added a second with a goal from 50m.

However, that was as good as it got for the Demons as Royals dominated the game from then on. The Rovers began to run out of legs late into the first half as tension heightened resulting in midfield star Gabriel Parfitt receiving a yellow card for a melee.

Even without ex-AFL stars Matt Priddis and Lewis Jetta the Royals looked the best they have all year and never let their foot off the throat.

They were scoring at will led by Michael McConnell, returning from injury, getting a major in the third with a huge kick 60m out from goal.

Chapman Valley had nine goal scorers, showing their strength in depth. Rhys Eversden led the way with four, Lee Hutchins with three, ruckman Michael McConnell, Jay Colegate and James O’Sullivan with two and singles across the team.

Curley was the best for Rovers but they looked like a team short of players — a view coach Ian Comben agreed with, saying if he could get his best players on the field against Railways and Brigades, they “may push for top two”.

At GBSC new ladder leaders Brigades came up against Mullewa as the Hawks claimed a dominant 50-point win.

The Saints were just about hanging in there at three-quarter-time only down by 11 points but a five goal to none second term effectively killed the contest.

Dale Williamson booted another seven goals to retake the league’s leading goal kicker while small forward Kristerfer Ryder picked up three of his own.

Leon Galby ran hard for the Saints getting four goals with good support from Matthew Ryder who got three but were just outgunned on the day.

At the Recreation Ground Railways would’ve fancied a big percentage boost against the struggling Towns to try to reclaim top spot from the Hawks.

However, some windy conditions didn’t help as they kicked an inaccurate 5.11 (41) to 0.4 (4) to take the win but not grab enough percentage to leapfrog the Hawks.

Rovers stay in third despite the loss above Northampton who are joined by Chapman Valley on 20 points.

The Royals’ finals credentials will be put to the test against the Hawks next week while Railways will take on Rovers away. Northampton will be coming back from the bye against Mullewa.

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