Perfect send off

Rovers defeat flag favourite, avoid wooden spoon as Maher bows out
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Dale Martin

IT was the send off that no one saw coming.

Not even Paul Maher – ever the optimist – would have imagined it.

Fighting to avoid their first wooden spoon in 65 years, Wangaratta Rovers did the seemingly impossible and took down the overwhelming premiership favourite, Albury, in a white knuckle affair at the WJ Findlay Oval.

Given the fact Albury completely obliterated the Hawks back in round nine, winning by 143 points, Saturday’s result reflected an extraordinary 159-point turnaround.

In what was an evenly matched battle all day long, the Hawks gained the upper hand in the third term after soaking up the Tigers’ pressure, unleashing with five goals to one for the period to establish a 13-point buffer.

Both sides had their chances early in the final stanza, but remarkably it was Hawks full back Tyson Hartwig who gave his side a bit of wriggle room.

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