Finals Roodoo comes to an end

By Jamie Lowe

A hoodoo of epic proportions was broken when the Deniliquin Rovers’ seniors won their first final in 11 years, nullifying Picola United to take a 37-point elimination final win.

For the first time since the 2008 elimination final round, the Rovers got the chance to sing their song in the post-season and they did it after an outstanding display on a windy afternoon.

What shaped as an even contest in the early stages, with the Rovers leading 15 to 13 at quarter-time, gradually turned into one-way traffic, with the Blues unable to find a major in any of the last three quarters.

The Roos were in complete control from the second quarter onwards, with the 14 point half time margin not reflective of their dominance.

It was much the same in the third term with the ball spending the majority of its time in the Rovers' attacking half, but with little reward on the scoreboard.

An impressive intercept mark and goal from 45m out by Dylan May at the 12 minute mark of the third was the only major for the term, with the Roos holding what proved to be an unassailable 19 point lead at the final break.

It was Terry Lumbar who made the result a certainty, with an impressive banana against the breeze going through at the 14 minute mark of the final term.

The party trick continued for the Roos when Scott Howard soccered and opportunist goal, with James Kirby finishing off the scoring with a snap around the body.

The win sees the Roos moving through to the semi-finals where they will face the loser of this weekend’s Strathmerton-Berrigan qualifying final.

Electric talent Dylan Kerr led the way up forward with three goals, while Alex Hay’s dominant performance on the wing had him close to best-on-ground.

Other stars for the Rovers included co-captains James Gilligan and Andrew May, with silky defenders Des Morgan and Caleb Pannell important.

For Picola, Ben Gill finished his first season with the club with two goals, with Kyle Saunders, Reagan Hamilton and Blake Jorgensen also strong.

Final score, Deni Rovers 8.9 (57) to Picola Utd 2.8 (20).

The Roos went into the clash confident, despite missing assistant coach Djaran Whyman, who sat out of the clash due to a sore hamstring.

Rovers coach Josh Bode said with the wild weather it was an "ugly game to watch" but a very pleasing result.

"The weather turned it into a real scrap and a real dog-fight, but we were up for it the whole day," he said.

"The contested footy was just off the chain. The effort and the tackling pressure was there.

"It really typified how we've been going over the last six weeks.

"The outside noise away from this group will be that this is our second finals win in 25 years and our first in 10 years.

"It's a big achievement but within this group all that means nothing. All it means is that we get one more opportunity to play as a team in a couple of weeks time.

"Everything going forward now is just another step for another opportunity."

The Rovers had winners all over the ground, with Bode saying the likes of the Kerr brothers (Dylan and Nathan), Andrew May and Gilligan stood tall.

While also crediting the efforts of Brendan Hope in the ruck and Aaron Purcell at centre half back, Bode said the list of the best players could go on.

"It was a really good team effort... across the board everyone chipped in really well,

"I thought we were the better team all day. That second quarter I said to the guys that against Picola they'll just keep on scrapping at you so it's going to take a while to break them open.

"When we did, we were able to kick a few away, which was really good.

"No (the job's not done) but we have the week off and will play either Strathy or Berrigan, which will be another challenge."

The Roos will have the week off, watching on when the Bulldogs and the Saints do battle at Picola this Sunday.

The Rovers will face the loser of that match in a semi final at Yarroweyah on Sunday, September 1.