Closely matched rivals Deniliquin Rovers and Blighty Redeyes put on another fantastic display of local football on Saturday.
Meeting at the Roos’ home ground at Memorial Park, the Rovers revved up from a slow start to take the match by just three goals in a fairly low-scoring encounter.
Final score, Deni Rovers 9.8 (62) to Blighty 6.8 (44).
Rovers coach Josh Bode said it was a thrilling end to a hard fought match.
‘‘I am really pleased with the result given we started off slowly and were only able to kick 1.5 in the first half.
‘‘After the break the boys were able to dig in.
‘‘In the last quarter we were one man down (after assistant coach Djaran Whyman was sent off for an alleged hit on an opponent) and one goal down, but we managed to finish three goals ahead.
‘‘It doesn’t matter where we are each placed on the ladder, it’s always a tough battle against Blighty.
‘‘This year we’ve managed to win both times we have met them, winning the Warner Tasker Cup earlier in the year.
‘‘And we had a good crowd on Saturday to watch the match, which was appreciated.’’
Saturday’s home rival clash coincided with a new initiative when Memorial Park hosted the inaugural Wellways ‘Thought. Talk. Tackle.’ footy day in order to raise awareness of mental health.
Bode said the Rovers rallied well to take on Blighty, with a few standouts.
‘‘Dylan Kerr played really well, as did Andy May and Rhys McCulloch in the middle.
‘‘Nathan Kerr is having a great patch, and so is Ryan Murray.
‘‘James Gilligan really stepped up this week. After Josh Flight injured his ankle he went into the ruck for the first time.
‘‘Allan Bond also had a great day and held us together down back in the first half.’’
Blighty playing-coach Jack Tyndall said while he always enjoys meeting the Rovers on the field, he does not like losing to them.
‘‘The effort was there, and I am pretty proud of that, but we did lapse in the third quarter which cost us the game — and I really don’t like losing,’’ Tyndall said.
‘‘I would probably put it down to having an inexperienced side at the minute, and a lot of injuries.
‘‘We’ve had a couple of the younger players step up, including Jack Sides and Billy Michael who have been really good.
‘‘We did fade out a lot in the third through, which let them in.’’
Better players for Blighty were Tanner Robertson, Tyler Amor-Beale, Jack Tyndall, Lach Macdonald, Liam Osborne and Tom Druitt.
Best for the Rovers were Bond, Kerr, Murray, Gilligan and Des Morgan.
A slow start proved costly for Blighty’s reserves, going down by 41 points.
Final score, Deni Rovers 12.5 (77) to Blighty 5.6 (36).
Better players for the Redeyes were Tristan Wilson, Brodie Bennett, Leigh Culton, Ben Littmann, Jarrod Andrews and Josh Ventrella.
Blighty’s thirds were simply outclassed by a better side, going down to the Rovers by 158 points.
Despite the heavy loss a finals spot is still up for grabs for the Redeyes.
Final score, Deni Rovers 30.6 (186) to Blighty 4.4 (28).
Better players were Billy Michael, Jack Sides, Myles Amor, Jack Charlton and Tyler Williams.
Blighty’s fourths unfortunately went down to the talented Rovers side by 39 points.
The Redeyes had all the play in the first quarter but were unable to put scoreboard pressure on.
The opposition from then on slowly asserted themselves on the contest coming away six goals up.
Final score, Deni Rovers 11.5 (71) to Blighty 4.8 (32).
Better players were Dustin Lawson, Angus Bain, Dean Macdonald, Mitch Doohan, Max Caruso and Charlie Bull.