Ren­nie runs riot on its way to the PDFL flag PDFL GRAND FI­NAL

The Riverine Herald - - GAME ON - By Fraser Walker-Pearce

IT WASN’T a case of grand fi­nal jit­ters that saw Pi­cola United lose — Ren­nie were just that good.

In fact the Hop­pers were good enough to in­flict the Blues’ third­worst loss of the year, on the big­gest stage of them all, the Pi­cola and District Foot­ball League grand fi­nal.

The 24-62 blowout saw Ren­nie thump home 9.8 while con­strict­ing the red-hot favourites to just 3.6.

A blus­tery breeze made life dif­fi­cult for both sides at the Jer­ilderie Re­cre­ation Re­serve, but the re­sult only strength­ens the fairy­tale that was Ren­nie’s sea­son.

Fin­ish­ing the nor­mal sea­son in sixth po­si­tion, the Hop­pers made it all the way to the grand fi­nal the hard way.

De­feat­ing Ber­ri­gan 106-54 in the elim­i­na­tion fi­nal set up a semi-fi­nal against Deni Rovers, who they dis­patched by 15 points.

A pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal against then un­de­feated Waaia Bombers awaited — and to ev­ery­one’s sur­prise bar Ren­nie, they got the job done, 66-65.

Pi­cola United coach John Var­coe said the Blues lost to the bet­ter side on the day, and cred­ited Ren­nie for putting in the hard yards to earn their flag.

‘‘No ex­cuses, they were the bet­ter side on the day. It was tricky for both teams with the wind,’’ Var­coe said.

‘‘They were able to get the job done. We both tried to get the ball for­ward as much as pos­si­ble, and that wind af­fected the ball could be moved,’’ he said.

Var­coe said Ren­nie made the most of their at­tack­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, whereas his troops were un­lucky at times hit­ting the post, amidst a bat­tling for­ward line.

‘‘We were keen to win, but con­di­tions made it dif­fi­cult for both sides, and the game was kept to a low-scor­ing one. There was a lot of ground ball, be­cause of the strong wind blow­ing from one side.

‘‘They were just a bit bet­ter around the ball and made the most of their chances,’’ he said.

‘‘I told them (at half time) we should be try­ing to im­prove our ball move­ment and get it to the more at­tack­ing side of the ground and make some at­tack­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, and crumb­ing in the fi­nal 50, but they were able to pre­vent us from do­ing that.

‘‘I think they were a bit more ac­cu­rate in front of goal, we hit the post a few times,’’ he said.

At the end of what could have been Pi­cola United’s 13th premier­ship, it was the South East divi­sion 2017 cham­pi­ons who took out the new-look PDFL 2018 flag.

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