Railways fire in second half to knock Rovers out in Great Northern Football League first semi

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Reuben CarderGeraldton Guardian
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Jack Cocking takes a kick as Jaegah Williams (left) and Shaedan Edwards watch.
Camera IconJack Cocking takes a kick as Jaegah Williams (left) and Shaedan Edwards watch. Credit: Picture: Barry Mitchell/SnapAction

Railways gave a powerful second-half display against Rovers on Sunday, going through to meet Northampton this Sunday for a shot at a second successive grand final and ending Rovers’ hopes for a third consecutive premiership, winning 18.6 (114) to 9.13 (67).

Railways coach Karl Pirrottina praised the colts players who had stepped up to the first team, and said the side played the way he wanted.

“The communication and discipline were great,” he said.

“They (the colts) give us so much energy.

“We’ll go into next week with a lot of confidence.”

He praised the side for being selfless and tidy in possession and said with suspended captain Ben Saunders due to return next game and former AFL player Jarrod Garlett a possibility, prospects were good.

After the sides went in at half-time separated by just three points, the Blues outscored Rovers by seven goals to four in the third quarter and never looked back.

In what seemed to be a pivotal moment, Rovers’ season top scorer Justin Crudeli pulled down a brilliant mark on the boundary inside 50 right on half-time, and cleverly found star forward Jaimon Alone with a handball over the top.

But his kick went through for a behind as Railways defender Tom Rowe got a hand to him, drawing congratulations from teammates.

It was a pattern that would continue, with Rovers unable to convert chances and Railways seeming to get everything right — they scored 12 goals after half-time and only two points.

Jesse Adamini and Mitchell Boyle were immense for Railways throughout.

Railways’ Tristan Simpson was best on ground, with the defender’s long strides carrying him forward as he gave his team momentum.

Anthony Kyanga and Jamie Geier were Rovers’ best.

Alone was threatening throughout, both with his physicality and skills when moved further back into the centre to get on to the ball, and with marking prowess and his ability to produce goals with a snap from anywhere around the 50.

Crudeli, reborn after a hip replacement to repair a longstanding injury, was a menacing presence when Rovers went forward.

But with captain Farren Parfitt and reigning J.J. Clune medallist Tom Denton out with injury and defender Chris Scott carrying a reported ankle complaint, it was always going to be a tough ask.

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