By Mark Gullick
ROC caused one of the biggest upsets of the year when it defeated finals-bound Narre Warren by three points at Officer Recreation Reserve.
The Kangaroos sent their departing coach Kris Fletcher out in style with a gutsy win over the premiership contenders.
Narre Warren began the game strongly with four goals to two in the opening term, but over the next two quarters ROC controlled the match, winning the ball in the midfield, defending strongly and kicking goals when given the chance.
The Kangaroos kicked 11 goals to six in the middle two quarters to establish a 22-point lead into the final stanza.
Narre Warren came home typically strong, kicking four goals to one, but falling just short.
“We were woeful, but ROC were good,” Narre Warren coach Matt Shinners said. “It’s not the ideal way we’d like to finish the year off, but it’s done and dusted now. We’ve got to move on and look forward to this week.”
ROC’s domination of the midfield was the driving factor.
“We didn’t have any clearances in the second quarter,” Shinners said. “I think it was six to none. That quarter was probably one of the worst quarters we’ve had for a very long time.
“The players didn’t do anything different to try and stop the landslide. It got better after half-time. The last quarter was pleasing in that we started to show what we were capable of. We’ve tried to do that the past month and a half, but this time it didn’t work.”
The Magpies have to discard the loss and prepare for the finals.
“We can’t afford to let it simmer and affect us next week,” Shinners said. “The finals are a completely new season and we start again.”
Fletcher was superb, kicking three goals and gathering many possessions around the field.
Reliable veterans Philip Nanfra, Greg Tivendale, Kym Jones and Ash Comber played a vital role in the special victory.
This foursome have been consistent performers for ROC throughout its bleak season. Andrew Haythorpe also played well.
Magpies captain Glenn Hamilton was his side’s best player.
Jarrod Anderson and Michael McGill were key players in defence, while Michael Collins was steady in the midfield.
Jackson Parker and Steve Kidd played well. Brett Evans kicked four goals and Nick Scanlon booted three.
By Mark Gullick