Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

East's top job gets recognised

Deni Rovers fourths mentor Brendan East has been dubbed Junior Coach of the Year for Picola & District Football League's north-west division.

August 22, 2014 3:50am

Rovers fourths coach Brendan East and co-captain Blair Sartore on Monday night.

We won’t know for sure for another fortnight, but Brendan East could be harnessing one of the best junior teams at the Deni Rovers since the early 1980s.

His hard work in developing the Rovers’ fourths started in 2012, and on Monday night he was named Picola & District Football League’s north-west division Junior Coach of the Year.

And to cap the night off, his side’s co-captain, Blair Sartore, took out the runner-up best and fairest trophy.

The Roos will play for a grand final spot tomorrow with the ultimate goal of becoming just the second junior team from Memorial Park to win back-to-back premierships.

‘‘It was a bit of a nice surprise (to win the award),’’ East said.

‘‘The only reason I was going over to the junior vote count was because of young Blair.

‘‘I just love coaching and being around the club so it is an honour to win an award like this.

‘‘It was good to see Blair take home the runners-up as well, it was close vote count all the way and there wasn’t much in it.’’

East’s Rovers have won 18 games in a row with one flag already in the bank.

The most successful junior side to play at Memorial Park is without a doubt the rampant Deni Rovers thirds outfit of 1981-82.

Coached by Alan Heagney, the young Roos’ undefeated run stretched over three seasons in which time they won back-to-back premierships in 1981-82.

After losing the 1980 grand final to Katunga, Heagney’s boys set a record for the most consecutive wins by any Deni Rovers football side.

Their 42-game winning streak came to an end in round three, 1983.

And, in an fascinating turn of fate, two of the key players in the success of 1981-82 were Paul Hussey and Andrew Brunker, whose sons Reece Hussey and Ryan Brunker play in this year’s fourths team.

Brunker plays the centre while Hussey works in with Sartore, rotating between the midfield and full forward.

With more than 100 goals between them this year, Sartore also took out the league’s leading goalkicker trophy with 58 majors.

Picola United’s Adam Jorgenson took out the top award, polling 35 votes from 16 games with Sartore on 32 votes.

The two will meet on the field at Jerilderie tomorrow, the first hurdle in a quest for premiership glory.

The Blues are coming off a gruelling 22-point win over Jerilderie in the qualifying final, while the Roos are rested up.

When the two met previously this season, the Rovers won by 51 points (round four) and 59 points (round 13).

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