Club greats re-unite to cel­e­brate mem­o­rable day

Campaspe News - - SPORT -

TEN years ago, Rochester’s se­nior foot­ball team stunned the GVL, and most of the Goul­burn Val­ley in gen­eral, when it up­set the pow­er­ful Sey­mour side in the grand fi­nal to claim the GVL premiership. This Satur­day, the club is hold­ing a re­union to cel­e­brate the 10th an­niver­sary of that re­mark­able feat and is invit­ing ev­ery­one to Moon Oval to watch the 2018 Tigers take on Be­nalla. Don’t re­mem­ber the 2008 grand fi­nal? Dy­lan Cut­triss cer­tainly does. Here, he tells of the day he be­came a premiership player.

The year was 2008, Hawthorn had beaten Gee­long a day ear­lier, and the stage was set for one of the big­gest up­sets ever seen in Goul­burn Val­ley Foot­ball League his­tory.

Play­ing on the then cus­tom­ary last day of foot­ball in Vic­to­ria, the young Rochester Tigers were to en­ter the arena against the for­mi­da­ble Sey­mour Li­ons out­fit, who were chas­ing their fourth premiership in a row.

Lit­tle did the Li­ons know they were not go­ing to have the whole game played on their terms.

The run to the grand fi­nal was not all smooth sail­ing for the Tigers.

A com­fort­able win against Echuca at Kyabram was over­shad­owed by a tense wait for the tri­bunal’s rul­ing on su­per­star Ash Wat­son.

Wat­son had been sen­sa­tion­ally cited for strik­ing a player who was 200 me­tres away from him at the time.

Com­mon­sense pre­vailed and Wat­son was free to con­tinue his stel­lar sea­son which would see him crowned Rochester’s best and fairest player for the year, an award Wat­son has be­come ac­cus­tomed to col­lect­ing in the fol­low­ing 10 years.

Af­ter such a dra­matic week, the Tigers slumped to a loss against the Li­ons at Tatura.

Though many thought doubt had crept into the Rochester camp, this myth was put to bed the fol­low­ing week as the Tigers once again clicked to run over Mooroopna at Deakin Re­serve, the venue for the fol­low­ing week’s premiership show­down.

The days to fol­low showed the true spirit of the tight-knit com­mu­nity from the coun­try Vic­to­rian town, com­monly re­ferred to as the birth­place of Sir Hu­bert Op­per­man or the town be­fore Echuca.

Yel­low and black stream­ers, bal­loons, posters and player pho­tographs adorned all shop fronts along the towns three main busi­ness streets, en­sur­ing that any trav­eller who passed through the town dur­ing this week found out first-hand what the com­ing Sun­day’s game meant to the towns­folk.

Daniel Sch­midt, in his first year as coach, had taken over from the le­gendary David Wil­liams, whose suc­cess­ful stint at the helm of the Tigers had yielded two pre­mier­ships, along with many ag­o­nis­ing run­ner­sup fin­ishes.

The grand fi­nal proved to be a tight af­fair with noth­ing be­tween the two sides in the first half.

The Li­ons were able to open up a break af­ter half-time and when they kicked a goal af­ter the three-quar­ter­time siren, it looked as though the Tigers would again fin­ish as brides­maid.

Rochester trailed by 19 points go­ing into the fi­nal term and it looked like the Li­ons would se­cure their fourth flag in a row.

Un­for­tu­nately for the script writer, some­one for­got to let the tena­cious boys from Rochy know they were not sup­posed to fin­ish atop the dais on this oc­ca­sion.

In the last quar­ter, Rochester fought for every pos­ses­sion and slowly clawed back the deficit.

With five min­utes left in the game and Rochester still trail­ing, enig­matic Ben Duscher flew above a pack to tap the ball into the path of Wat­son who sent it deep into the di­rec­tion of El­liot Bowen.

A smoth­ered snap en­abled cap­tain Dean Moon to pounce and the skip­per did no wrong as he guided the kick straight through the mid­dle to give the Tigers a three-point lead, some­thing they had not seen for the ma­jor­ity of the day.

As the fi­nal siren sounded, a ju­bi­lant Rochester faith­ful mobbed the play­ing group.

The at times in­sur­mount­able task had been com­pleted by the un­der­dogs.

Su­per­star Bowen, who had been im­pos­ing through­out the day, rounded out a bril­liant game to steer through four last quar­ter goals to fin­ish with seven ma­jors for the game.

It was one of the best, if not the best, in­di­vid­ual game seen in GV grand fi­nal his­tory.

The days to fol­low would see a whole town re­joice in the club’s first se­nior foot­ball premiership since 1999.

The com­ing Queen’s Birthday week­end will see the play­ers and sup­port­ers re-unite af­ter 10 years to rem­i­nisce about the mem­o­rable sea­son.

An open in­vi­ta­tion is ex­tended to all com­mu­nity mem­bers to at­tend the match against Be­nalla and watch the cur­rent Tiger play­ers dis­play their ta­lent, which in­cred­i­bly still con­tains two premiership play­ers from 2008 — Wat­son and Dy­lan Cut­triss.

Rochester foot­ball club’s 2008 premiership side in cel­e­bra­tory mood.

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