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ROSEDALE knocked Churchill out of the North Gippsland football premiership race with a 31-point win on Sunday.
One point separated the sides at the final change of ends during Sunday’s thrilling elimination final at Tyers before the Blues kicked away in the fourth term to win 18.12 (120) to 12.17 (89).
The Cougars began the contest strongly, slamming on four unanswered goals ahead of quarter-time, as the Blues, despite their quick run forward, were unable to execute the start they wanted.
Jack Wyhoon opened the Blues’ scoring, which was quickly backed up by their second in as many minutes as Andrew Flanagan crashed the pack to gain possession and snap true, leaving the Cougars defenders rattled.
Brad Scott, Chris Graham and Luke Stuckey worked hard to lift the side through the middle of the ground, as the midfielders created run and carry to ensure the Blues remained in the contest.
The second term belonged to Rosedale as it turned the nine-point deficit into a four-point lead into the main change. The surge on the scoreboard was led by Flanagan, with his third major fittingly handing the Blues the lead.
The third term was a gripping affair as the scoreboard ticked over. Both sides exchanged blows with the teams’ key forwards Brendan Holt for Churchill and the Blues’ Flanagan creating headaches of the back lines.
In the second half, Rosedale carried on how it finished the first, slotting through the first major as the Blues kept their cool and measure in a frenetic paced contest.
Churchill appeared rush when pushing forward, its lack of conviction seeing costly turnovers as it failed to make the most of its chances.
It was Rosedale’s ability to rebound quickly from defence which set the sides apart.
A rare miss by Holt saw the Blues, led by Adam Diamond, move the ball forward with Scott scoring from the turnover.
As the Blues threatened to run away, Holt slotted through one of his six goals for the contest to reel the margin back to a straight kick.
Tim Darby and Neil Thompson combined minutes later, however Thompson’s shot on goal failed to level the scores. The Cougars forwards turned the defensive pressure on the Blues as they shut the ball in their forward line and worked hard to make a charge on the scoreboard.
However, the Blues found a way out. Graham and Rohan Diamond moved it quickly from defence with Scott scoring from the goal square.
The Cougars quickly responded, but, as they had done all term, Rosedale added another goal through Flanagan as he out-muscled his opponent Daniel Hawking to receive the free kick.
Not to be out done, Holt added his fourth major. The margin was a mere point at the final change.
Held quiet for three terms, Brad Caldwell’s first goal sparked the Blues.
Flanagan blew the margin out to 13 points, but it was short-lived as Brad Knowles lost his tag to run forward and goal. Caldwell added his second and as the script of the day had gone, Holt responded for Churchill.
It would be as close as the Cougars would get in the final term, with Flanagan’s sixth goal was followed by majors to Hayden Mowat and Jake Power.
Brad Scott found plenty of the ball, Scott Johnstone was instrumental down back and made an impact when pushing forward, Stuckey continued his impressive form, while Jeremy Reid was dogged in and around the contests.
Hawking was the lynch pin to the Cougars’ back line, Williams never gave up and was well supported by Tyson Webb, Joey Whykes and Travis Brighton, while Andrew Brown and Chris Burke were solid options around the ground in the ruck contests.
ROSEDALE also defeated Churchill in the reserves, 17.9 (111) to 4.14 (38).
Sale City won a thrilling thirds elimination, 8.14 (62) to 9.3 (57) against Gormandale.