Rockingham will head into the preliminary final full of momentum after turning a four-goal deficit at three quarter time into a thrilling three-point victory over Baldivis in their semi final clash on Sunday.
The Rams’ season looked finished when they trailed by 23 points at the final break with Baldivis forward Ben Higgs in ominous form, but they overcame the odds to claim a 17.8 (110) to 17.11 (113) victory and move into a preliminary final clash with Pinjarra, sending the Brumbies out of the finals in straight sets.
Rockingham had the hot hand early when accurate kicking helped them pile up eight goals in the first term, but Baldivis was able to snare five of their own with Higgs bagging the first of his nine to kick off their scoring.
Down two goals at quarter time Baldivis was able to fire back, cutting their guests’ lead from 14 points to five on the back of goals from Higgs, Blaine Johnson and Aden Field.
It was in the third that Baldivis assumed total control, with a six goal quarter (four of which went to Higgs), gifting them a 23-point buffer at the final break with Field and captain Emmanuel Collard running rampant.
But on the verge of being eliminated, Rockingham found the spark they needed to get back into the game.
Much like they did against South Mandurah the week before, the Rams conjured a stunning term booting seven goals to Baldivis’ three.
Brody Dalgetty and Kyle Baskerville both scored a pair of majors on the quarter, while Fraser Millar, Steve Kenny and Jakob Janzekovic hit the scoreboard.
The game came down to a thrilling last minute but it was Rockingham hanging on for a three-point victory, assuring their season would last at least one more week.
Rams coach Scott Franklin said the group was fired up after the win.
“We’re rapt, it’s a really exciting win for our footy club and it’s a testament to the belief in the playing group for them to stick it out and never give up,” he said.
“Ideally you don’t want to have to produce fourth quarters like that to get over the line but that’s finals footy, and I was really happy with the attitude of the group.”
The victory sets up a date with Pinjarra in the preliminary final, one Franklin expects to be his group’s biggest challenge yet.
“We know how good they are, and we know they’ll be desperate to avoid going out in straight sets, so we’ll have to bring our absolute best,” he said.
“We’ll look to play a fair bit of one on one footy and try to win those battles.
“The thing with our group is the belief that we can win any game – it’s kept us in matches all season so we’ll look to take that confidence into this one.”
The preliminary final will be played at Waroona’s Parnell Street Oval this Saturday, 3pm.