REDEYES ON FIRE

Blighty con­firmed as flag favourite af­ter beat­ing lo­cal ri­val

Southern Riverina news - - Sports -

Blighty se­cured its first ever Warner Tasker Cup on Satur­day with a con­vinc­ing 39-point win over Deni Rovers in yet an­other clas­sic lo­cal derby.

Lead­ing by just five points at the final change, the home side kicked away in a fran­tic final quar­ter to win their fifth game in a row.

In do­ing so, the un­de­feated Redeyes stopped the Rovers from win­ning their 10th straight Tasker Cup, which is held an­nu­ally in hon­our of the late Warner Tasker, who had a strong as­so­ci­a­tion to both clubs.

A big crowd gath­ered in windy con­di­tions at Blighty Re­cre­ation Re­serve to see the two ri­vals do bat­tle in what has be­come a pop­u­lar lo­cal tra­di­tion.

Final score: Blighty 20.14 (134) de­feated Deni Rovers 14.11 (95).

Blighty on­baller Danny Clarke was awarded the Warner Tasker Medal af­ter the game.

He was judged best player afield af­ter a stand­out per­for­mance in the mid­field be­fore shift­ing up for­ward to boot six ma­jors.

Deni was waste­ful in front of goal in the open­ing term, kick­ing 2.5 to give Blighty a slen­der three-point lead at quar­ter time.

The home side then mid­dled an­other seven ma­jors to ex­tend their lead to two goals at half time.

Deni fought back with five goals of its own in the third stanza and man­aged to hold the Redeyes to just three.

This set the stage for a fourth term thriller.

But Blighty, kick­ing with a strong breeze, blew the vis­i­tors away to win by 39 points.

The Redeyes are now con­sid­ered favourites to take out the Pi­cola League pre­mier­ship.

‘‘It was great to (fi­nally) win the (Warn- er Tasker) cup,’’ Blighty coach Ste­wart Craig said.

‘‘I think it was more of a re­lief than any­thing. At the end of they day, though, we were just happy to get the win be­cause we know they are a handy side.’’

Clarke and Brody Lum­ber stood tall with 10 goals be­tween them for Blighty, while Judd Barnes, Tris­tan Wil­son, Jake Plat­t­fuss, Kyel Bain and Keith Baron were the bet­ter play­ers.

‘‘We sort of snuck away at the end there,’’ Craig said.

‘‘The 39 points isn’t a true re­flec­tion of how tight the game re­ally was.

‘‘It was pretty tough and Danny (Clarke) suf­fered some bruis­ing to his ribs in the third quar­ter. That’s why we moved him up for­ward and he ended up kick­ing four goals in the last quar­ter.

‘‘We will have to wait and see how pulls up.’’

De­spite the loss, Deni Rovers coach Luke Moodie was rel­a­tively pleased with his side’s show­ing.

‘‘I thought we played re­ally well and we had a lead dur­ing the game.

‘‘Blighty got most of the clear­ances in the last quar­ter and just gave their for­wards first op­tion.

‘‘We were com­mit­ted to the very end and no­body gave up. They were just a re­ally good side.’’

Chris O’con­nor starred for the Rovers, kick­ing four goals and be­ing named Deni’s best player af­ter a stand­out per­for­mance in the ruck.

Moodie said he was also pleased with the per­for­mance of young­sters Matt Dowl­ing and Brett Mac­don­ald.

Terry Lum­bar mid­dled three goals for the Roos, while Marc Bray­bon and Mac­don­ald booted two each.

O’con­nor, Dowl­ing, Bren­dan Hope, Mac- don­ald, Matt Ryan and Matt Horne were the bet­ter play­ers for the vis­i­tors.

Blighty has also moved to the top of the re­serves lad­der af­ter crush­ing the pre­vi­ously un­beaten Rovers by 66 points on Satur­day.

Final scores, Blighty 11.9 (75) de­feated Deni Rovers 1.3 (9).

The Redeyes led at ev­ery change on their way to their fifth win of the year.

Brodie Ben­nett kicked four goals in his side’s win, while Jack Fitz­patrick snared the Rovers only goal.

Brad Mc­cal­lum, Matt Wooden, Brett Leech, Beau Close, Matthew Boyd and Ben­nett were best for Blighty.

John Glowrey, Jar­rod Tonta, Gil­bert Mckin­non, Sam Bode, Bren­dan East and Matt At­ley were Deni’s best play­ers.

RIGHT: Star hockey player Amy Hol­lis­ter in ac­tion.

Deni’s Chris O’con­nor and Blighty’s Drew Plat­t­fuss leap up to con­test the first bounce on Satur­day.

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