By Liam Emerton
The Aussie football gods have finally shined on the Rockhampton Panthers after torturing them for the opening five rounds of the AFL Capricornia competition.
The Rockhampton Cricket Ground looked as good as it has done all year when the Panthers hosted the BITS Saints on Saturday afternoon.
Their Gladstone-region opposition had suffered two defeats in a row before heading to Rockhampton, losing to the Glenmore Bulls and Yeppoon Swans in consecutive weeks.
Both teams had a point to prove but it was the Panthers who came out firing early in the contest, taking a 2.3 (15) – 0.2 (2) lead in the opening quarter.
But a BITS blitz in the second stanza, particularly from Ky Hull who knocked in three, second-quarter goals, saw the travellers take over and lead 4.4 (28) to 3.7 (25) at the half.
However the Rocky boys rallied, slotting five goals and five behinds in the second-half, while keeping the Saints to just a lone six-pointer and four behinds.
Their second-half performance was certainly their best of the year and finally broke the duck which has plagued them since round 15 last year.
That was the last time the Panthers had won a match and interestingly it came against the same opposition as Saturday’s streak snapping win.
Clinton Evans was Rocky’s best in front of goal, scoring three in the side’s first win of the season.
Across the grounds there were no surprises in Yeppoon Swans and the Glenmore Bulls matchups this week.
The Swans thumped the Brothers Kangaroos 30.16 (196) – 2.0 (12) with Robert McElhone being Yeppoon’s sharpest shooter, knocking in seven goals.
And the Glenmore Bulls won 17.11 (113) – 8.6 (54) over the Gladstone Suns to reclaim their second-place positioning.
In the women’s competition, the Yeppoon Swans and Glenmore Bulls kept their opposition scoreless.
Yeppoon scored a 12.6 (78) – 0.0 victory over Brothers Kangaroos while the Bulls won 14.13 (97) – 0.0 against the Gladstone Suns.
And in the final women’s match, the Rockhampton Panthers scored a 9.2 (56) – 0.2 (2) win over the BITS Saints.
Next week the competition resets to the opening round with a huge grand final rematch headlining when the Glenmore Bulls and Yeppoon Swans collide.
Rockhampton Panthers will look to double their winning streak when they clash with the Brothers Kangaroos.
And finally the all-Gladstone derby takes over when BITS Saints welcome local rivals Gladstone Suns to Boyne Island.