It had been a horror 12 months of tragedy that rocked a proud club with the deaths of four stalwarts – but finally the Rocherlea Football Club had something to celebrate.
The suburban Tigers had been the best team all season and earned the ultimate reward with a 13.13 (91) to 11.10 (79), NTFA division 1 premiership victory over Bracknell in a great contest before a packed crowd at Windsor Park on Saturday.
An emotional coach Lyndon Stubbs dedicated their premiership win after the game to the late Brian Daley, Brendan Cousens, Greg Burling and Bobby Pearce – all of whom the club had lost in the past year or more.
“We knew Bracknell would come and they are a proud club and a good contested football team so we had to keep putting our heads over the footy and fortunately for us we won enough of the contested footy to get over the line,” Stubbs said.
“You can’t measure it or put into words what this premiership means for the club – that is all we’ve played for all year (the ones we lost) – that’s the only reason why we came to training and turned up on a Saturday and finally we got the reward – it’s taken a lot of months but we got there.”
Bracknell coach Gary Shipton was disappointed with the final result but proud of his team’s fighting performance.
“Rocherlea are a good side and well-drilled and we matched it with them for most of the game but just fell short but congratulations to them,” he said.
“We definitely had the belief that we could go all the way so to just fall short is pretty raw at the moment.
“We kept taking the game on and were never out of the contest – we will talk about things we need to work on for next year now but I am proud of our boys that we never gave up.”
Josh Holton kicked five goals for Rocherlea while Zane Brown booted four with the livewire small forward earning the Clarrie Boon Medal for best on ground.
REPORTS: Pages 58-59