Tigers turn around defensive effort

April 16, 2018

Cop that: Rochester playing coach James Flaherty gets one high from Mooroopna's Clint Riley.

Under the Hedges: Rochester's Steven Stroobants snares Mooroopna's Malcolm Hedges in a tackle.

Rochester kick-started its campaign with a big win against Mooroopna on Saturday.

The Tigers battled tough conditions as well as their opponent as Moon Oval copped a heavy deluge early in the contest, but playing coach James Flaherty was happy with his charges’ ability to soak up the challenge and engineer victory.

‘‘Obviously the weather in that first half was really bad,’’ Flaherty said.

‘‘You couldn’t take much out of it other than the intent of the boys and their attack on the footy.

‘‘But it was good to be able to get a run on in the second half when it dried out a bit.’’

While Rochester was able to pile on 72 points in the wet weather clash, Flaherty was equally impressed with his side’s defensive efforts in restricting the Cats to only two goals, especially after conceding 137 points against Shepparton last week.

‘‘It was pleasing to keep them to two goals,’’ Flaherty said.

‘‘It’s always hard to score in those conditions, but to get over 70 and keep then under three goals was probably the best part of the game for us.’’

Steven Stroobants suited up for the Tigers for the first time this year after finding a gap in his VFL schedule and made an immediate impact, booting four goals to lead the way in attack.

Recruit Rhys Free impressed again with another two goals, while Hamish Hooppell, Doug Wren, Nathan McCarty, Lachie Watson, Nathan Marrone and Ash Watson were Rochester’s top contributors.

‘‘Rhys gave us a lot of options in terms of giving us a target up forward,’’ Flaherty said.

‘‘There was a good mix of key leaders, new faces and young kids who stood up which was good as well.’’

The only concern for the Tigers was for Wil Hamilton’s smile, with the rising star copping a knock to the teeth in the third term.

Meanwhile, Trent Herbert, Malcolm Hedges, Jack Lear, Bayden Fallon, Jono Odgers and Jayk Papoulis were Mooroopna’s best players in the heavy defeat.

Ben Hicks and Jayedon Hexter were the only Cats goal-kickers.

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