REDEYES ON FIRE
Blighty confirmed as flag favourite after beating local rival
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.