Recalling Rikki

July 12, 2017

Players lined up ahead of the Rikki Stephens Memorial Game.

Jason Mitchell holds Rikki Stephens' jumper at the memorial day for the late footballer.

Tony and Peta Wulff with baby Harlyn at the Rikki Stephens Memorial Game.

Craig Sloan and Leanne McEvoy man the DonateLife tent.

Heathcote's Brayden Klemke fends off his Colbinabbin opponent for the ball.

SATURDAY’S round 12 of the Heathcote and District League had a significant meaning for players and spectators at Heathcote Football Club.

The day was used to commemorate former senior player Rikki Stephens who died last year from an accidental drug overdose. A memorial was held before the senior game with players and officials lining up for a moment of silence as his close friend Jason Mitchell held the jumper Stephens wore in his final game.

On the field Heathcote had its backs to the wall, undermanned in reserves and seniors as they took to Pigeon Park for the clash against Colbinabbin.

The reserves forfeited 95 points to the Hoppers and scored just one goal in the 87-point defeat while the seniors conceded a similar amount in their own 47-point downfall.

A spirited first quarter had the seniors restrict the opposition to one goal and five behinds, but they didn’t capitalise on Colbo’s slow start to only record two behinds of their own.

It opened up in the second term with both teams getting some clean runs with the footy, the Saints finally hitting the scoreboard to kick 2.2.

Ten points down they were still in the hunt at half-time but Colbo took control of the game in the third getting most of the play.

The Hoppers scored 3.3 to the Saints’ 1.4 to stretch the margin to 21 points.

It was the most the Saints had trailed — or it was until the Hoppers found another gear, piling on seven goals in the final term to Heathcote’s three for a 91-44 victory.

Colbo’s midfield was difficult to stop, Cameron Hall and Nat Nixon creating a lot of clearances for the away side while Ryan Hon was dominant as ever in the forward line kicking five goals.

Jake Condon’s tireless efforts through the middle of the ground saw him named as best on ground for Heathcote.

Luke Podhajski was a strong target at full forward, kicking two goals, other goals going to Thomas Bourke, Daniel Carroll and Bradley Morgan.

It was Bourke’s work down back which awarded him a spot in the bests amongst Jack Paisley, Louis Piccolo and Brayden Klemke.

Heathcote would face another top three side this weekend as it travels to take on Leitchville-Gunbower at Gunbower Recreation Reserve.

The Bombers only real threat has been North Bendigo this season having made light work of Colbo by 30 points in round 10.

Heathcote was unlikely to make finals with the top five sides three games in the clear.

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