Year of the Roo in Darling Downs

Coolaroo has produced a remarkable fourth-quarter comeback to snatch victory from University in Saturday’s AFL Darling Downs grand final at Rockville Park.

The Roos booted six-goals-to-one in the final quarter to stun the Cougars 14.8 (92) to 13.11 (89) and claim their first flag since 2009.

Miels Grice drew first blood for Coolaroo but Uni was quick to respond through Craig Mcinnes as the two sides went shot-for-shot early.

But the Cougars started to pull away towards the end of the first quarter, slowly building their lead before unleashing in the third term to lead by as much as six goals.

Tom Rudolph gave the Roos a sniff with his third goal for the quarter right on the siren but they still trailed by 30 points at the final change.

But after a spray from coach Nick Barker, the Roos finally jumped into action with a sensational effort in the fourth quarter.

It was all one-way traffic as Coolaroo chipped away at Uni’s lead before Michael Casey put the Roos in front with less than a minute left on the clock to seal an incredible comeback.

Barker admitted the Roos had been outplayed for much of the contest and needed a massive shake-up heading into the final term.

“I wasn’t very polite but it was motivating enough to get them going,” he said.

“We made some significant changes and I think that gave us the momentum. This is a momentum team and they really needed that.

“We had to change a lot with our match style to get on top of them, so we just left four men in the forward line and put the rest in defence and just threw everything at it.

“We knew it was going to be a hard game so we had this emphasis that we’re just going to chip away at them all day and it paid off.”

Coolaroo’s Tom Rudolph was named best-on-ground.

It’s been the year of the Roos on the Darling Downs after Coolaroo emerged victorious in every grand final on Saturday.

The junior Roos set the tone for the day as they defeated Dalby in all three grades.

Coolaroo’s under-12 team proved too strong for defending premiers Dalby with a 10.0 (60) to 5.6 (36) triumph in the first game of the day.

The Roos under-14s then blew the Swans off the park as they claimed back-to-back premierships with a 16-11 (107) to 6.6 (42) victory.

Dalby was kept goal-less in the first half while Brendan Shelton had a day out with seven majors for Coolaroo.

And the Coolaroo under-16s handed the Swans just their second loss of the season with a hard-fought 11.6 (72) to 9.7 (61) win in the decider.

Saturday capped a clean sweep of the men’s trophies for the Coolaroo club after its reserve grade team defeated University in last month’s grand final.

The Roos did not enter a team in the women’s competition which was won by South Toowoomba.

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