The Rock-Yerong Creek coach Tom Yates said a desire to send retiring teammates Derek Murray and Ben Farrell out on the right note was a motivating factor in the Magpies’ 46-point win over the Northern Jets on Saturday.
Yates admitted it was a slightly surreal feeling to enjoy a win amid the disappointment of missing finals. But their fourth victory of the year – a convincing 11.13 (79) to 5.3 (33) win at Victoria Park – against a team that finished above them on the ladder was a reward for the club faithful as well.
“It was a good way to finish off the year,” Yates said.
“Derek Murray is going to retire and Benny Farrell played his last ever game I think. And whether or not a couple of other older blokes pull the pin I’m not too sure but they were two definites and we obviously wanted to play well and have a win for those boys. So it was good.”
Farrell had just one year with the Pies. He was held back by a hamstring injury early but a number of head knocks throughout his career was the bigger concern which forced his decision.
Murray – a former AFL player with Port Adelaide – has had two seasons at TRYC to close out a decorated career. He kicked three goals in his final game to finish with 27 in 11 appearances this year, after booting 37 in 17 games last year.
“He won our goalkicking this year and last year so he’s given us a bit up forward and obviously he’s had a fantastic career – played at the top level – and for us to finish off with a win was good for him,” Yates said.
Murray was also instrumental in the Pies bringing Indigenous round celebrations to the Farrer League this year, against Charles Sturt University.
The Pies got on top early to lead by a couple of goals at quarter-time and 17 points at halftime, after kicking twice as many behinds as goals.
But after halftime they made the most of their dominance, putting on seven goals while keeping the Jets to just three scoring shots in the second half (all goals).
“It was good to see the boys play a four-quarter effort for the last game of the year,” Yates said.
“Obviously we weren't going to play finals but I think everyone knew that to finish with a win is a good way to go out… we definitely wanted to tick one off to give a bit back to the guys who turn up week in, week out and for the old blokes and all the volunteers around the club who put in a lot of time.
“It was good to get the result for all of them.”
Heath Russell finished off the year with another fine game for the Pies while some of their emerging youngsters including Jack Driscoll, Seth Vennell and Fraser Yates played well.
It was a disappointing finish for departing Jets coach Mitch Robinson. The visitors were again best served by Jack Fisher, Alex Rogers, Ben Johnstone and Matt Carroll who have all closed the season strongly.