Thousands in Deniliquin for historic grand final.By Shaun Connor
It was Jerilderie which triumphed on the main stage by claiming back-to-back senior flags on Saturday, but the day belonged to the host, the Deni Rovers Football and Netball Club.
It was the first time a Deniliquin club has hosted a regional grand final and local footy fans did not disappoint, filing into Memorial Park in record numbers.
The forest backdrop was awash with colour as four different football clubs and seven different netball clubs vied for Picola league premiership glory on Saturday.
A total of $29,900 was taken at the gate, eclipsing the previous record of $29,560 from when Blighty hosted the 2005 decider.
The crowd was estimated to have been between 6000 and 7000 people, with many carrying streamers and adding the finishing touches to their outfits with hair ribbons and coloured hair spray.
Youngsters even had their faces painted, and every player who took to the court or field on Saturday would have been impressed with the amount of support on offer.
‘‘The whole event was a great advertisement for not only our club but the whole town,’’ long-time Deni Rovers administrator Mick Fleming said with delight.
‘‘We’ve had a great number of positive comments from the league and other visitors. We’re still doing the sums (on the canteen and bar takings), but I imagine it’s going to be a very good day.
‘‘The thing that really stuck in my mind was the amount of community involvement and community spirit that came with the day.
‘‘The council and Deni Works had the ground looking fantastic and when you looked around there was demountables that had been donated and lots of businesses who helped us out.’’
On the field, it was former Deni Rovers coach Josh Bode who led Jerilderie to victory in the senior footy, fulfilling his dream of coaching a Picola league premiership, albeit not with the Roos.
The Rovers had their share of the spoils, however, with the club’s fourths and reserves both claiming memorable victories.
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