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GNFL preliminary final: Rovers through to grand final after knocking our Railways in straight sets

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Farren Parfitt chases the ball for Rovers
Camera IconFarren Parfitt chases the ball for Rovers Credit: Justine Rowe Around the Traps

Rovers stormed into the 2022 GNFL grand final with another final quarter blitz to overcome Railways at the Recreation Ground on Saturday afternoon.

After a stunning final quarter showing against the Rams to win the semi-final, the Demons replicated that performance, kicking five goals to one in the last quarter of the preliminary final to down Railways 12.11 (83) to 8.11 (59).

The pressure was on Railways to avoid a straight sets exit and turn around their poor finals record after a disappointing showing against Brigades the week before. Rovers, on the other hand, were riding high after a stunning final quarter to crush Rams by 42 points, but they had not beaten the Railways since the 2020 grand final.

The game started at an intense pace, Railways opening the scoring inside the first minute but Rovers bagging the first goal as Edward Curley kicked truly from 25m out.

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But the Demons were soon under pressure as the Blues found the goals through Alex Newton, Ryan Le Tessier and Jesse Moore.

Matt Adams stepped up to keep the Rovers in touch but the Blues took the lead into the quarter-time break, 4.3 (27) to 2.1 (13).

Rovers came out firing in the second half, kicking four unanswered goals to flip the script and have the Blues under pressure, with Gabriel Parfitt leading the way as he often does with two goals and singles to Farren Parfitt and Roland Drummond.

Le Tessier found a much-needed response to stem the tide but Rovers were in firm control of the pace of the game, leading 6.6 (42) to 5.5 (35).

Jack Cocking got his first of the afternoon after being held goalless against Brigades as the Blues got off to a positive start in the second half.

Dylan Curley responded and the Rovers had the better running but wasted their opportunities, with tenacious tackling putting paid to the Demons’ hopes of extending their lead.

The third quarter finished with Railways back in front narrowly, 7.9 (51) to 7.8 (50).

With the game on the line, much like it was for the Rovers last week, coach Ian Comben once again fired up the Demons for the final term.

Roland Drummond scored early for the Demons, putting pressure on the Blues to respond but Jy Thurstun latched on to a long-range kick from Clay Azevedo before Dylan Curley and Gabriel Parfitt put the game well beyond the reach of the Blues, the game finishing 12.11 (83) to 8.11 (59) in favour of Rovers.

Dylan Curley won the medal for best on ground after his fine performance across the oval as Railways were knocked out in straight sets in a disappointing end to what was a promising season.

Rovers will now face Brigades in the grand final at the WA Country Builders Stadium on Saturday.

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