Redbacks step up

Chris Burkett celebrates scoring a goal. Picture Shawn Smits

Romsey is just one game off a second successive Riddell District Football League grand final after a hard-fought win against Macedon on Sunday.

The Redbacks will face Diggers Rest for a shot at a grand final berth, although the loser will still get a second chance.

On Sunday, the Redbacks defeated the Cats 12.3 (75) – 8.9 (57), jumping out of the blocks early to kick six goals in the opening term.

With a lot at stake, the Cats came to life after the first break, and trailed by only seven points at half-time.

They kicked the first three goals of the third quarter and had the game on their terms before the Redbacks kicked two to level scores at the final break.

The experience of the Redbacks shone through in the last quarter, when they kicked four goals to one to seal the win. For Redbacks coach Dean Helmers, it was a relief.

“It was very tough … Macedon came to play. They’d done their homework on us and kept down a lot of our key players,” he said.

“Results have opened the door up nicely for us and I think that’s why the game was so tough … I think Macedon realised that, too.”

Helmers said he put it on his senior players to step up in the second half.

“We got a little bit lazy at times in the game … I think the key was when we decided to slow the game down a bit, not rush it so much and get it more on our terms.

“I really put it on some of the senior blokes to lead the way. We kicked the last two goals of the third quarter and seemed to be getting our mojo back, but for some reason the quarter only went for 18 minutes.”

In fact, a time-clock error cut the quarter to only 15 minutes with time on, instead of the normal 20 minutes with time on. The last quarter was then shortened to 15 minutes with time on, to even the game out.

“I was disappointed,” Helmers said. “We had finally got our structure back and you’re fighting all day to get the right structure, and we had got it … and the siren went.”

Helmers said Nathan Rayment, Matthew Burkett and Cam Wight were best in their win.

Diggers Rest now awaits a face-off against the Redbacks this week.

“Anything is possible in a second semi-final, and we have two shots at a grand final,” the coach said. “We know Diggers well … it will come down to who plays their game style.”