TIGER TOUGH

Campaspe News - - SPORT - By ALEX MITCHELL

ROCHESTER’S se­niors lived to fight an­other day in the Goul­burn Val­ley Foot­ball League af­ter an im­pres­sive elim­i­na­tion fi­nal win against Euroa on Sun­day.

They con­tin­ued the bril­liant end of sea­son form that has seen them win five straight games in im­pres­sive fash­ion, re­mov­ing the Mag­pies from the fi­nals race at the Be­nalla Show­grounds.

And 2008 grand fi­nal star El­liot Bowen wound back the clock in the 42-point win, show­ing he is still one of the elite for­wards in the com­pe­ti­tion with a mas­ter­ful dis­play in­clud­ing two goals.

The Rochester back­line al­lowed five goals in the first half, but locked down in the sec­ond to com­pletely negate the dan­ger­ous Euroa line-up, held to just two goals.

The miserly de­fence led by coach James Fla­herty and James Gled­hill cre­ated a heap of turnovers and re­bound out of the back 50, par­tic­u­larly in the third quar­ter when it kept the Mag­pies to two be­hinds de­spite them hav­ing the ma­jor­ity of the in­side 50s.

Fla­herty said while the de­fence had again done its job, the help right across the ground made it a lot eas­ier.

‘‘Our back six or seven has had pretty sim­i­lar per­son­nel over the last month, but the pres­sure we got from the mid­field­ers and for­wards en­ables us to be in the con­test,’’ he said.

A hotly con­tested first half saw Rochester edge the play, its for­ward line look­ing more po­tent than the op­po­si­tion’s as both sides strug­gled to get on top in the mid­field bat­tle.

‘‘We knew it would be a tough start to the game be­ing fi­nals footy,’’ Fla­herty said.

‘‘Euroa is a hard-run­ning side and they use the ball well. The first half was an arm-wres­tle and we wanted im­prove­ment at half-time. De­fen­sively we got that, and we wore them down.

‘‘We had a lot more for­ward en­tries (in the last quar­ter) and we were able to get on top.’’

It was the favourite at three-quar­ter­time with a 16-point lead but saved its best un­til last, pil­ing on six fi­nal-term goals to blow the Mag­pies away.

Scott Oak­ley kicked the first two of the fi­nal stanza, Wil Hamil­ton and Steven Stroobants the next cou­ple to build a 41-point ad­van­tage.

The game was a hard, phys­i­cal con­test with plenty of big hits by both sides. The day was summed up in the last term with an early mas­sive tackle laid on young for­ward James McPhee. McPhee wore the tackle and went on to kick a late sealer for the Tigers.

Fla­herty and his bril­liant de­fen­sive work saw him named the side’s best. Mitch Bright, Nick O’Con­nor and Sam Bren­nan were some of the other stand­outs along with Bowen.

The re­tir­ing for­ward only snagged two goals but his play and move­ment opened up the for­ward line and brought play­ers like Jarod Ba­con, O’Con­nor and Stroobants to chip in with goals.

The Tigers move for­ward to Sun­day’s semi-fi­nal against the Shep­par­ton Bears.

Rochester boats a win against them this sea­son, hav­ing top­pled them by 33 points in round eight.

‘‘Their year last year was huge and they’ve con­tin­ued that this sea­son,’’ Fla­herty said.

‘‘They’ll be hard to beat, sim­i­lar to Euroa they have key small for­wards and move the ball well, it will be a good test. We have to re­spect what they can do but we go there with con­fi­dence and mo­men­tum.

‘‘We only played them once rel­a­tively early in the sea­son, but our record is very good against them. There’s maybe a bit of pres­sure on them, but we need to pro­duce again.’’

Perry Oliver missed a sec­ond week with a quad in­jury. The for­ward is touch and go to face the Bears on Sun­day..

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