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GNFL finals: Rovers set up preliminary final after final quarter blitz while Kristerfer Ryder stuns Railways

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaMidwest Times
Joseph Ugle was best on ground as the Rovers booked their place in the prelim
Camera IconJoseph Ugle was best on ground as the Rovers booked their place in the prelim Credit: Snapaction

Rovers will fight on for another week after a barnstorming final quarter saw the Demons break Northampton and book their spot in the preliminary final.

An eight-goal last term ended Rams’ season as they went down 16.10 (106) to 9.10 (64).

Rovers were coming into the match on the back of three strong performances while the Rams were well beaten at the hands of the Brigades and it looked like the Rams were still getting over the hangover of that loss as they were jumped early.

At a packed Greenough Oval, the crowd was treated to one of the best eight minutes of football they will see.

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Led by Gabriel Parfitt, who was everywhere early, Edward Curley scored the opener with a terrific snap out of the pack while hemmed in tight on the boundary.

Shannon Cox then used his experience to work his opponent under the ball and score with a simple finish from the goal square before Jake Criddle scored with a goal from around 30m out.

Clay Azevedo then added a fourth with a well-taken shot from about 45m out with Cox shepherding the Rams defenders on the line to ensure it made it over.

The Rams had barely had the ball forward of centre, let alone troubled the scoreboard, and needed desperately to get their hands on the ball.

Liam Campbell flew high out on the wing to take an impressive mark and generate their first forward thrust and a goal soon followed as Keiran Harris snapped while on the run.

They then got some assistance from the Rovers as their discipline off the ball was poor, giving away multiple 50m penalties before Nathaniel Mourambine got his first.

Rovers led 4.1 (25) to 2.3 (15) at quarter-time but the Rams were the stronger finishers and had worked themselves into the contest.

The second quarter was an arm wrestle as both sides lifted their pressure, with clean ball movement hard to find.

But Campbell flew once again to take a strong mark for Rams and bring the margin down to three with his first of the afternoon.

Trent Simpson was then gifted a goal as two back-to-back 50m penalties allowed him to poke one from the goal square as the Rovers were their own worst enemies at times.

Josh Simpson gave his side a lift with a strong tackle and converted the free kick to retake the lead.

But the Rams responded as Dean Higbee was given a free run to take an uncontested mark and give the Rams the lead heading into the main break 5.4 (34) to 5.7 (37).

Farren Parfitt took a strong mark and converted from directly in front to celebrate his 100th game before the Rams hit back with two quick goals to William Thorne to bring up their biggest lead of the game at 14 points.

But Josh Simpson responded with a soccer from the goal square as the Rams failed to spoil the ball before Azevedo took an easy set shot from directly in front to take a six-point lead into the last quarter.

With the game in the balance, it was tough to pick which way the result would go but Shannon Cox made sure the Demons would play another week with four last-quarter goals.

It was a part of a run of six unanswered goals as the Demons were on fire, with the Rams unable to stop them.

The Rams got a couple of consolation goals but the game was done with the Rovers taking a 42-point win.

Joseph Ugle was named best on ground for another excellent performance, continuing his outstanding form since returning to the Demons in round 12.

They will face Railways in the preliminary final next Saturday after the Blues were well beaten by the Brigades 4.9 (33) to 10.5 (65).

A poor start always had them behind the eight-ball as Kristerfer Ryder ran riot with six goals in a superb individual finals performance.

Railways briefly threatened in the second to bring the margin down to 10 points but the Blues really struggled as time went on.

The result sees Brigades going straight through to the grand final and on that form are in with a big chance of going back to back.

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