Beware crouching Tigers

August 28, 2017

Rochester might have a few Goulburn Valley League sides quaking on the eve of the finals.

Rochester might have a few Goulburn Valley League sides quaking on the eve of the finals.

After pushing the final winning margin against Shepparton Swans to more than three figures in a rampant final term, the Tigers continue to look sharp as an elimination final against Euroa awaits.

Highly respected club figure Heath Aitken was fittingly unstoppable in his 200th game, kicking five goals, and Steven Stroobants did the same.

‘‘It was a pretty big day for the club with Heath’s 200th, there was a bit to play for with respect to him and we felt good as a group out there,’’ Rochester coach James Flaherty said.

‘‘About halfway through the game we were well on top and made some changes, Heath went to play as a deep forward and kicked five goals (for the day).’’

Aitken slotted through two majors before three-quarter-time and scored three in a row during the final term.

The Tigers kept the Swans goalless in the first and third quarters at Moon Oval, with James Gledhill standing tall in defence.

‘‘The defensive unit was good again, led by Gleds and Dyl Cuttriss and Jaycob Dingwall, they were all in the best and were pretty good last week (against Echuca) too,’’ Flaherty said.

Already outclassing the Swans, Rochester did not let up as it remained focused on heading into the finals with the right intent.

Kicking 8.1 in the last term to the Swans’ 1.3, the Tigers blew out the margin to 110 points.

With a match against the Magpies on Sunday, Swans coach Paul Griffiths said the Tigers were to be feared in finals based on what they produced on Saturday.

‘‘We knew Rochester were going to be a different side to when we last played them, I’m really impressed with them, they’re really slick,” he said.

Saturday’s loss marked the end of a long season for the Swans.

With younger players tiring as the year drew to an end and the club unable to field a reserves side on Saturday, experienced senior players helped bring the team across the finish line.

Stalwart Andrew Riordan, an injured BJ Squire and consistent forward Dylan Kerr again featured as their side’s most prominent players.

But Griffiths said the young talent also tried their best, as the inroads made this season look to help the Swans in years to come.

‘‘Again we had some kids throw their body with reckless abandon and I’m proud of the way they threw their body into every contest right up to the dying seconds,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ll take the positives and celebrate what was a strong developing year, we’ve played an enormous amount of 17-year-olds and their exposure to GV football may not see them flourish next year, but they certainly will in the next two or three years.’’

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