FINLEY turned the first Murray Football League final to be played under lights into a raging success on and off the ground with a bumper crowd turning out for its 43-point win against rivals Deniliquin at Finley on Saturday night.
With Ryan Bongetti in sensational form kicking seven goals, the Cats jumped their opponents early and refused to look back as they cruised into the second week of the finals series.
Coach Damian Sexton said plenty of positives came out of the elimination final.
“Finals are finals and people might say it was third against sixth, but that doesn’t mean much going into a big game against Deni,” Sexton said.
“I thought we would have to be on our toes and thankfully we were.
“It was good for our group.
“We are alive for another week and playing fairly good footy.”
Minutes after Member for Farrer Sussan Ley tossed the coin, Finley got down to business with Bongetti feasting on the opportunities given to him by teammates Reid Crowe and Tim Robertson.
Kamen Ogilvie was impressive against his former club on a wing while Steve Irons and Oliver Ford also impressed.
Finley led by nine points at quarter-time and extended the margin to 42 at half-time with Sexton having the luxury of swinging the changes and resting players in the final quarter.
Deniliquin came home strongly after the damage had been done with seven goals to two in coach Gary Parsons’ final match at the helm.
Matthew O’Connor was prominent after switching from defence to attack and found support from Troy Bartlett and Simon Maher.
It was the fifth time Finley has played under lights this season and the final occasion the clubrooms will be used with demolition to start this week.
Finley president Ashley Haynes said the Cats were thrilled with the crowd.
“It was a brilliant night,” Haynes said.
“When the cars started rolling in at 1pm we knew there was going to be a good turn-out and I thought it was good for Murray league football.”
In yesterday’s elimination final, Numurkah ended Cobram’s season at Nathalia despite coughing up the opening three goals of the knockout final.