By Liam Emerton
The Rockhampton Panthers have continued to claw their way towards the AFL Capricornia finals after a shocking win over the Glenmore Bulls.
The Panthers started the 2022 season without a win in their opening five games but have found their groove in a big way, winning their last four consecutive matches.
The team, which was last just over a month ago, are now just two points behind the third-placed Bulls.
Rocky took on Glenmore in the local derby at the Rockhampton Cricket Ground and took an early lead when they outscored the Bulls 3.3 (21) – 2.2 (14).
A very low scoring second stanza saw the Panthers score 1.4 (10) to Glenmore’s 0.2 (2), extending their lead to 15 at the half.
But it was the Panthers’ attack in the second half which really cracked the game wide open.
Rockhampton kicked seven goals and eight behinds (50) while keeping the Bulls to just a single goal and three behinds (9).
The second half outburst from the Panthers helped them secure their fourth straight victory and their first of the season against last year’s runners up.
Jayden England, Jesse Johnston, Harry Newman and Kale Oxenham ended the match with a brace of goals with teammates Cooper England Aran Kneen and Travis Young all contributing with a goal.
The only team left on their list, and every other team’s radar for that matter, is the Yeppoon Swans.
Those undefeated Swans continued their unstoppable streak in round nine by battering the Gladstone Suns.
A 16.8 (104) – 4.3 (27) win over the Suns was Yeppoon’s ninth win of the season.
Josh Mckee’s game-high four goals was added to by Tyler Spencer, who kicked three goals, Thomas Arnold and Leigh Cossens who both scored two, and Michael Gallagher, Jake King, Mitch McMullan, William Palmer, Matt Wallin who all added one goal each to their tally.
The Swans will certainly be the tallest task for the in-form Panthers who are hoping to push for that third place position.
Rockhampton will have to do what 115 teams before them have been unsuccessful in doing, and shock the region by beating the Swans.
But the Panthers will have a week to recover before that match with the competition breaking for the school holidays.
In the other round nine matchup the Brothers Kangaroos were bested by the BITS Saints in Boyne Tannum.
The BITS scored a huge 16.16 (112) points to the Kangas’ 5.5 (35), earning the Saints a nice home victory.
Brendan Huth brought home a bag full of four goals while teammates Ky Hull and Moevao Lega Frost both kicked three.
The Kangaroos will need to find their form coming out of the school break with their first game back a winnable match against the Suns.
After their loss against the Panthers, the Glenmore squad will take a week off to plan on how to beat the BITS Saints.
That battle of the past two AFL Capricornia runners up will be one to wait patiently for.
In round nine of the women’s comp, the Bulls beat the Panthers 9.5 (59) – 4.10 (34), BITS smoked Brothers 5.7 (37) – 0.1 (1) while Yeppoon defeated the Suns by the same margin, 5.7 (37) – 0.1 (1).