Officer chasing a rare and precious victory

By David Nagel

It’s fair to say that wins against Narre Warren have been as rare as hen’s teeth for Officer as it prepares for the top-of-the-table clash against the Magpies at Starling Road.

The two clubs formed part of the South West Gippsland Football League (SWGFL), which began in 1954, and battled strongly until the then ROC Football Club made the move to the West Gippsland Football League (WGFL) in 1979.

ROC spent 23 years in the WGFL, preceding a successful three years from 2002 to 2004 in the West Gippsland Latrobe West Division.

Narre Warren remained in the SWGFL until the league’s conclusion in 1994, before spending 10 years in various forms of the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football league (MPNFL).

So that brings us to 2005 where, after a 26-year absence of competition between the two clubs, the Kangaroos and Magpies renewed acquaintances in the newly-formed Casey Cardinia Football League.

And it’s fair to say the Magpies have dominated proceedings since the two clubs reunited in battle.

The clubs have met 20 times over the last 13 years, the Magpies holding a remarkable 19-1 winning record against the Kangaroos and an average winning margin of 71 points.

The Magpies average 123 points per game – the Kangaroos 52.

The Kangaroos came close to victory in that long awaited first clash between the clubs in round 11 2005.

But Narre Warren, inspired by an eight-goal haul to Lee Clark, held off the Kangaroos in a 16.10.106 to 14.19.103 thriller.

For ROC, Callum White kicked four, Matt Castricum three, while Ben Tivendale, Kable Dowsett and David Main kept the Magpies honest until the final siren. Youngster Dean Blake was also influential with the 19-year old showing his interleague selection was thoroughly deserved.

The Kangaroos would have to wait until round 18, 2010, to have their only win against the Magpies since that original parting of ways back in 1979.

And once again it would come down to a three-point thriller.

Kris Fletcher was outstanding for ROC that day, kicking three in a clear best-on-ground display, while Phil Nanfra, Greg Tivendale and ruckman Kym Jones were also prominent in a 14.13.97 to 14.10.94 triumph.

While the Kangaroos would celebrate, the Magpies would go on to have the last laugh with a 25-point victory in the 2010 grand final against Beaconsfield.

Narre Warren club legends like Steven Kidd, Michael Collins and Nick Scanlon would stand tall to lead their side to victory.

So for ROC/Officer – that 2010 victory in round 18 remains the only treasured memory against Narre Warren in at least the last 40 years.

The Magpies have won the last 12 contests between the two clubs.

Only two players likely to line up this week, Ben Tivendale and Stephen Hawkins, remain from that 2010 success.

Tivendale is now a 300-game club legend while Hawkins has returned after four years of traversing the football landscape.

So there we have it, the Magpies sure to go in confident of improving an already incredible record against Doug Koop’s Kangaroos who have maturity now on their side.

History shows that an average age of 24.84 is just about prime time for a football club to succeed -  but this is their biggest test.

Will it be business as usual for the Magpies, or will Koop and co add a rare and precious gem to those hen’s teeth? 



ROC                                    2.2         8.5         13.11     14.13.97

NARRE WARREN              4.3         7.7         10.7       14.10.94

ROC Goals: K. Fletcher 3, M. Brown 2, A. Haythorpe 2, D. Roy 2, K. Jones, G. Tivendale, C. Fletcher, P. Nanfra, S. Hawkins. Best: K. Fletcher, P. Nanfra, G. Tivendale, K. Jones, A. Comer, A. Haythorpe.

Narre Warren: Goals: B. Evans 4, N. Scanlon 3, C. McNamara 2, A. Field, B. Wragg, A. McIver, C. Potalej, M. Collins. Best - G. Hamilton, J. Anderson, M. Collins, M. McGill, J. Parker, S. Kidd.

ROC Team: Andrew Haythorpe, Ashley Comer, Ben Johnson, Ben Tivendale, Brett Reid, Cameron Fletcher, Dane Roy, Greg Tivendale, Jake Rech, James Brown, Jamie Commerford, Kris Fletcher, Kym Jones, Matthew Brown, Michael Brown, Neil Adams, Oliver Brown, Paul Bright, Peter Quinn, Phil Nanfra, Sam Collins, Stephen Hawkins.


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