Reward for persistence as Rovers break through for Fleming’s 200th

OFF-field troubles are finally behind Deniliquin Rovers now they’ve scored their first win of a difficult season.

The Rovers lost 36 players from last year’s group but coach Luke Moodie said the team had been making visible improvements and had turned a corner.

And it was a fitting victory, with the 33-point defeat of Picola United coming in Liam Fleming’s 200th senior game for the Rovers.

But Moodie said the win hadn’t come out of the blue.

“It’s a really good reward for the boys’ efforts over the past five or six weeks,” he said.

“Last time we played Picola it was a real low point for us, they beat us by 130 points and that probably left us bottomed out.

“But after that we sat down and addressed what we really needed to do to get better, and looked at the things we could control.

“Things like tackle counts and contested efforts — we set the bar at this level which I think was only something like six tackles a quarter, but we needed to start somewhere.

“Since then we’ve been getting better in all those efforts and I think we won all those areas, hence the result.

“It was really pleasing to see the smiles on the boys’ faces — and there wasn’t one person who didn’t contribute on the day.”

Moodie said the club had been braced for a tough season.

“But to their credit the boys knew what they were going to be up against,” he said.

“It’s not easy being beaten every week but to their credit they would still front up and still be willing, this is just the cherry.

“With a handful of games left we’ll be looking to keep improving and see if we can take another couple of scalps to finish off the season — we don’t want to hang the hat up on that performance.”

Moodie said it was an emotional result in light of Fleming’s achievement.

“It’s a remarkable effort for him,” he said.

“A lot of people probably thought we wouldn’t win a game so this is one he won’t forget, none of the boys will.”

Ruck-rover Matt Johnson was the Rovers’ best, supplying the forward line well and bagging three goals, while ruckman Marc Braybon controlled the air.

The Rovers have a chance to win two in a row this week when they take on Mathoura, which has just two wins to its name.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re hungry for another win to see if we can finish the season well,” Moodie said.

“From where we came from we’ve got a real opportunity to finish the season off with positives and even take it forward into next year.”