The excitement at Nabawa’s Mazzuchelli Oval was palpable at the northern derby on Saturday as Northampton took the spoils with a well-earned hard-fought victory to end the Royals’ season. The Rams secured a vital win over their rivals, 10.9 (69) to the Royals 8.8 (56). Both Northampton and Chapman Valley had four wins out of their past five games going into the round 15 match-up and with a top-four spot still up for grabs. The Royals were under more pressure though having to win this game and hope other results go their way in the final rounds to make finals. They got off to a positive start with Richard Bartlett awarded an early penalty after being impeded by Rams but could only manage a behind to open the scoring. Dylan Williamson made up for it just seconds later with a well-placed goal from 45m on a tight angle. Nathanial Mourambine proved his worth once again for the Rams, getting their first major on the six-minute mark, composed and calm as usual. Rams then got on top with goals from Trent Simpson and, Beau Walker ending the first quarter with the Rams leading 3.3 (21) to the Royals 1.3 (9). The second term had Northampton looking comfortable as Liam Campbell stretched the Rams lead with his first goal. Northampton’s Jace Price then scored from a 50m penalty, poorly given away by the Royals for a player refusing to give up the ball in time. The Royals seemed desperate to get the ball forward but unable to provide much link-up play having to settle for minor scores as the margin grew ever wider. The first half finished with Northampton extending their lead to 5.4 (34) to Valleys 1.7 (13). The Royals were unable to hold on to their nerve in front of goal and had a half of footy to turn it around to keep their season alive. The second half kicked off with the Rams still in control, Walker was again instrumental in setting up the Rams key attacking plays. Mourambine playing the opportunist, helped the ball across the line with a controlled toe poke, extending the Rams’ lead to 30 points and was unlucky not to get his third minutes later, the ball bouncing off the post for a minor score. Chapman Valley’s Rhys Everston finally managed to get the Royals back into play with his first goal 15 minutes into the third quarter. Bartlett also got back into the game in the third quarter, turning on a 50c piece and scoring a vital goal for the Royals, keeping them in the contest before Eversden got his second and the Royal’s fourth for the quarter. They had closed the gap but Rams still held a comfortable lead, 8.6 (54) to 5.7 (37). However, Jayden Thompson got the Royals right into the game getting his first and narrowly the gap to seven points as Chapman Valley threw everything bar the kitchen sink at the Rams to keep themselves alive. Liam Campbell was instrumental in keeping the Royals at bay, setting Trent Simpson up for his vital goal. Thompson again kept Chapman Valley in the contest, his goal again getting the margin back to seven. But Beau Walkers’ goal ended Valley’s hopes of a finals spot as Northampton took the win and secured finals with a 10.9 (69) to the Royals 8.8 (56). Northampton coach Grady Tomelty was delighted both with the win and his team’s tenacious performance. “It was a great win. We really emphasised that we wanted a high-pressure contest and to play to our strength and we executed with a win.” In the top of the table clash, Jack Cocking led the way with four goals as Railways put on hand on the minor premiership in their 10.7 (67) 6.9 (45) victory over Brigades. The Blues kicked five goals to one in the opening quarter to give themselves a healthy buffer which they were able to control for the rest of the match. The second quarter saw a farcical five-minute period as four players got sent off in the space of five minutes including a red card for Kaiden Dann as frustrations began to boil over. Dale Williamson and Kristerfer Ryder did their best to mount a fightback and Kalanni Barton played his best game for the Hawks but it wasn’t enough as they were always chasing the game after the slow start. Rovers secured their finals spot and grabbed a percentage boost with a 17.8 (110) to 5.5 (35) win against Towns as Joshua Simpson kicked five to move them just 0.3 per cent outside of third place. With split rounds to end the season, Railways should claim the minor premiership with a win at home over Mullewa while Chapman Valley and Towns will play for pride.