JASON Akermanis ran riot in the final game of his glittering career as North Albury sent its playing coach out in style with a 30-point win over Corowa-Rutherglen on Saturday.
The Hoppers stunned the finals-bound Roos in an upset at Bunton Park.
Akermanis, who will now take the coaching reins from the sidelines on a full-time basis, was best on ground for the Hoppers as they handed Corowa-Rutherglen its second shock defeat in the space of three weeks.
The 2001 Brownlow medallist was overcome by emotion after the victory, signing off on his playing career with a trademark handstand after the game.
“I can’t thank the North Albury football club enough,” Akermanis said.
“The guys really came to play, which was a real honour for myself.
“That was their choice.
“We’ve been so good all year in these sorts of games but haven’t got the reward.”
While Akermanis took the Roos to the cleaners across half forward, it was Jarrah Maksymow who stole the show.
The Hoppers livewire forward booted six goals in the victory, with several long-range bombs sailing through. He was ill before the game but stood up when he was needed.
Kris and Nick Holman provided plenty of leadership through the midfield, with young guns Shaun Mannagh and Jordan Harrington also earning praise from their coach.
As for the Roos, there was daylight between Luke Gestier and their next best player.
Corowa-Rutherglen’s star forward booted seven goals but had little help from his teammates.
North Albury was widely tipped to be in dire straits this year after an exodus of star players but Akermanis raised a valid point about the success of the Hoppers’ season.
“If we win against Myrtleford this week, we’ll end up just one win behind what we got for the entire season last year,” he said.
“Say what you want, but we’ve saved a crapload of money, cleaned out a bad culture and got rid of a heap of overpaid players who underperformed.
“This group is so, so motivated.”
As promised pre-game, Akermanis celebrated the win with one last victory handstand.