Sport

Rennie beats Mathoura

By Alex Mitchell

A Chase Strawhorn spectacular helped Rennie keep its Picola District Football League season alive on Saturday with a comprehensive preliminary final win against Mathoura.

The league's leading goal-kicker did what he does best, reaping the rewards of the Hoppers' dominance around the ground and scintillating delivery inside 50, slotting eight goals in the 55-point win.

While the Timbercutters were always likely to be up against it, two cruel injuries to Darcy Robinson and Clint Atkinson meant staying with the Hoppers would be close to impossible.

The sides were tight early before Rennie went bang, kicking eight goals in the second quarter to head to half-time 41 points to the good.

The Timbercutters battled on, but could not close the margin, eventually falling 17.8 (110) to 8.7 (55).

Strawhorn's eight earned him the nod as best-on-ground, with Duane Rhodes (four goals), Alex Brooks, Denver Bruce and Cam Sudholz other Rennie standouts.

For Mathoura, Amos Farrell, Stuart Day and Jake Ellery were among the best.

Beaten Mathoura coach Robinson told the Riverine Herald the early injuries had been a nightmare.

"Our injuries set the tone for the day," he said.

"Footy is a cruel game and it isn't always going to play out the way you want it to. As a young group, we probably got caught up in the moment a little bit.

"We tried to keep everything as normal as possible in the lead-up but on the day, nerves probably happened to get the better of us.

"But as we've said all season, we are only going to learn from our mistakes."

Having played finals for the first time in eight years, Robinson expected his side would be back, and better than ever.

"Everyone has worked hard to get us out of a dark place both on and off the field. We know there is still a lot of work to do but we're committed to the challenge," he said.

"Speaking to the players after the game, they made it clear we have unfinished business as a group. We aren't a club that wants to be making up the numbers in finals."

"A ruckman and a centre half-back are at the top of our wanted list. Having dominant big men makes a massive difference in country footy. We've already re-signed most of the playing group, so we're in a strong position."

Rennie will play the loser of next weekend's qualifying final between Waaia and Katamatite.