HILLWOOD ended Rocherlea’s season and set up a first semi-final clash against Bridgenorth next week after coming from behind in the dying minutes to win a thrilling elimination final at Youngtown yesterday by five points.
A free kick paid to Sharks forward Tom Bennett for high contact in a marking contest directly in front of goal at the 28-minute mark of the final quarter broke the hearts of Rocherlea supporters and resulted in the winning goal that decided a great game of football.
Nothing separated the two combatants throughout the game with Hillwood leading by two points at quarter-time, five at half-time and Rocherlea up by two points at the final change.
Credit goes to both sides, which gave everything in a tough, hard contest highlighted by some great running football from both teams.
In a dramatic final quarter, both teams went goal for goal with scores tied up on a couple of occasions.
The suburban Tigers were gallant and had their noses in front for most of the term.
When Rocherlea’s Daniel Maynard kicked his third goal of the game at the 22-minute mark of the last quarter the Tigers had an eight-point advantage and the Sharks were under pressure needing to find two goals to win the game in the final five minutes.
Jamie Rayner marked and goaled at the 27-minute mark to cut the deficit to one point and straight after, with seconds remaining on the clock, Bennett was paid a free kick, which he converted to give the Sharks a meritorious come-from-behind win, 13.16 (94) to 12.17 (89).
Bennett finished with a game-high five goals for the Sharks and Tim Gibbons booted two, including a crucial one in the final quarter that tied up the scores.
The Sharks had plenty of good players with Kurt Byard, Mark Walsh, Bennett, Gibbons, Jake Chamberlain and Nick Bauld among their best.
Josh Holton kicked five goals for Rocherlea in a good display with Maynard bagging three.
Andrea Miar was outstanding in the ruck and around the ground all day with Shaun Etchell, Jordan Cousens, Jason Zadow and Sam Bannister other good players for the Tigers.