A brave fightback wasn’t enough for Finley on Saturday, falling to rival Deni Rams by 25 points in round 13 of the Murray League.
The Rams shot out of the gates with a nine goal to two first quarter, leaving the home side 43 points behind at the first break and playing catch-up for the remainder of the game.
Still trailing by 42 points at half time, the Cats lifted in the third term with 4.4 to 1.1 to peg the margin back to 21 points at three quarter time and gain the momentum.
The Rams steadied the ship in the last though, holding on by 25 points over their arch rival.
Key defenders John Anstee and Anthony Bull continued their form as one of the league’s best defensive duos to help get the Rams over the line, while Todd Gallagher (five goals) and Jayden Pitts (four) were crucial in the forward half.
Cam Robertson was Finley’s best, kicking three goals playing as a rotating midfielder, while onballer Luke Moore kicked two goals to also be among the best.
In a one-off appearance Angus Robertson had a strong showing at half forward with Nick Lyons, David Conrick and vice captain Shaun Kable also standing out for the home side.
Final score, Deni Rams 13.10 (88) to Finley 9.9 (63).
Despite the loss Finley coach Rob Daniel was impressed with how his side responded to their poor start.
‘‘We conceded seven goals in the first 12 minutes so it wasn’t looking good,’’ he said.
‘‘In the third quarter particularly we started manning up a lot better and lifted our pressure around the ground.
‘‘We got the game on our terms and played what was probably our best quarter of the season.
‘‘A win would’ve been nice but the number one aim for the second half of the season was to make our margins between sides smaller.
‘‘Last time we played Deni we lost by 19 goals so we’ve clearly improved since then.
‘‘If we can play like we did in the second half (against Deni) when we meet Tongala in round 17, then we might be a chance to win that game.’’
Rams coach Gary Parsons said it was a typical Rams-Finley game.
‘‘We were expecting a tough contest and that’s exactly what we got,’’ he said.
‘‘We ran the ball well in the first quarter and that reflected with the scores.
‘‘After the first term we probably took a bit of heat out of the kitchen and tried a few different things.
‘‘To Finley’s credit they were tenacious and put forward a strong effort to get back in the game.
‘‘It was a willing game and both sides put their bodies on the line.’’
In the reserves contest some of Finley’s club greats pulled on the jumper once again to ensure a side, but it was the Rams who were victorious.
After a tight game, the Deni side managed to pull away from the hosting Cats with a four goal last term for a 33 point victory.
Final score, Deni Rams 10.10 (70) to Finley 5.7 (37).
Matt Clarke was declared Finley’s best player while Kerry Brain turned back the clock to also be named among the best.
Daniel impressed for the Cats reserves before coaching the seniors, and bottom age player Fraser Taig also played well.
Finley’s best was closed out by Simon Fuller and Doug McLean, while former players Mark Newton, Michael Taylor, Stuart and Rodney Coventry, Darren Jackson and Peter Whitty all lined up for the Cats.