Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Hornets Can End Rovers' Reign

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Hornets Can End Rovers' Reign

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK ROBINSON

GOONELLABAH has the chance to end Richmond Rovers' three-year tenure as undisputed champions of Football FNC premier league soccer when the two arch rivals square offin the grand final at Oakes Oval,Lismore, tonight from 6.45pm.

The two clubs also fought out the decider last year, with Rovers emerging 3-1 winners to string together a third consecutive premiership double.

But since then Goonellabah has snatched the Anzac Cup and minor premiership trophies from Rovers, giving the Hornets the chance to hold all three trophies for the first time.

History also beckons for Rovers, who can extend their club record to four consecutive grand final wins, a feat achieved just twice in 60 years Co by Italo Stars (1977-81) and Lismore Thistles (1970-74), who each went onto achieve a fifth straight title.

A consistent Goonellabah has produced a near flawless season, losing just one match on its way to the minor premiership, before moving straight into the grand final with a 2-1 win over Rovers in the major semi-final two weeks ago.

In contrast, Rovers started the year slowly but have been building momentum and thrive on the big-match atmosphere at the end of the season.

They bounced back from the loss to Goonellabah with a torrid 1-0 win over Lismore rivals Thistles in the preliminary final last week, but it came at a cost, with key striker Jonathan See tearing a hamstring.

"With Jono out we'll have to bring in either Scott Crouch, who has the pace, or Matthew Olley, who has the experience," Rovers player-coach Tim Sheridan said.

Whoever comes in will partner Sheridan up front, where the big striker's ability to use his size and touch to hold up the ball and distribute will be pivotal.

"We'll look to control the ball up front and get our wide players such as Jacob Heffernan and Shane Scicluna behind their defence to cross," Sheridan said.

"But we know they'll have periods of pressure, so we'll need big games from our central defenders Scott Coster and Mitchell Flower, along with Andrew Marshall in goals."

Goonellabah will run on the same line-up that downed Rovers two weeks ago, despite the absence of Golden Boot winner Dave Annetts and central defender Paul Pomroy. …

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