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Fairytale win for Fleming

Deni Rovers celebrate their first win of the season against Picola Utd.

SAM HALL July 8, 2014 8:10am

200-gamer Liam Fleming leads the Rovers players through his tribute banner on Saturday.


It may turn out to be their only win of the Picola and District Football League season, but what a win it was for home side the Deni Rovers on Saturday at Memorial Park.

The Roos slotted five last-quarter goals to down Picola Utd by 33 points in what was a fitting tribute to battle weary forward Liam ‘Bones’ Fleming, who played senior game number 200.

The stirring victory had the Roos’ faithful in raptures at game’s end as the players hoisted Fleming onto their shoulders to leave the field.

Scores: Deni Rovers 12.12 to United 7.9.

Defender Brendan Hope set the tone early with some strong one on one marks against Picola’s star forward Dylan Cunningham.

It was a goal-less first quarter for both sides, and Roos coach Luke Moodie addressed his side’s 11 unforced errors at the break.

The Rovers responded with 10 inside 50s and a four-goal return even though it took them until the 14-minute mark to score the first goal.

From that point the Roos worked hard to get the ball forward.

Hope was shifted from full back to centre half forward at the 20-minute mark and kicked the last two goals of the quarter.

At half time Moodie spoke about the position they were in — leading by three goals — and what they had done to get there.

‘‘In the second quarter we had 23 contested efforts, 31 tackles, 22 handball receives and were working hard for possession,’’ Moodie said.

The Rovers started the third quarter well with Matt Johnson kicking a goal in the opening two minutes.

Johnson’s clearance work was supreme all day as he combined with in-form ruckman Marc Braybon.

Picola challenged with five goals of its own, as is expected from a side with finals on the line.

‘‘One of the most pleasing parts was that when we were challenged we responded,’’ Moodie said.

‘‘We kicked three goals against the breeze from only eight inside fifties for the quarter.’’

Johnson showed class and leadership with some break-out centre and stoppage clearances, contested efforts and tackles, and two goals for the quarter.

Terry Lumbar landed a crucial blow for the home side with a kick after the siren, his first goal of the game, as the Roos bounced to the three-quarter time huddle with a 9-point buffer.

Moodie urged his side to ‘‘just keep doing what you’re doing’’. They did.

A 5-goal-to-1 quarter saw the Roos over the line for the first time this year.

Lumbar proved the key target kicking three last-quarter goals, while youngster Jordan McCulloch positioned himself well for a front and centre crumb and goal.

Then another Jordan — Jordan Dunbar — created an important contest and won the footy to snap a goal from the pocket.

Lumbar’s third major of the quarter from a mark and set shot at the 18th minute gave the Roos an unassailable lead.

‘‘It was a really pleasing result, obviously,’’ Moodie said.

‘‘I was really happy for the boys, who’ve shown improvement over the last six weeks. I was just really happy to see the smiles on their faces after the game.

‘‘We had no passengers for the day, which was great; even the players who had the lesser game time had an impact.’’

Johnson was named best on ground with seven clearances, seven effective tackles, six contested efforts and three goals.

Braybon, Hope, Lumbar and Alex Rourke were other star performers for the home side.

‘‘I thought Alex (Rourke) played his best senior game for the club,’’ Moodie said.

‘‘He was very serviceable last week against Blighty and took that form into this game. His effort at contests to put his body on line was really great to watch.’’

Rovers vice captain Matt Dowling also played four solid quarters in defence, Moodie said.

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