There is an old saying that defence wins premierships and that rings true to James Flaherty.
The Rochester playing coach is a firm believer on defence and his side, along with Kyabram, are making a mockery of their opponents’ forward lines.
The Tigers lost four of their first five games of the Goulburn Valley League season, but find themselves in another semi-final after keeping yet another team to less than 65 points.
Rochester has won 11 of it past 13 matches and during that period Flaherty, who is a defender, has seen his side win all 11 games when the Tigers have not conceded more than nine goals.
‘‘We didn’t start the season too well, but we have bounced back, we know how we like to play down back and we put a strong emphasis on our team’s defence,’’ Flaherty said.
‘‘It doesn’t matter how much we score, it is simply about limiting our opponents and I think today, even though we were under the pump, we were able to do that.’’
After five rounds the Tigers had conceded an average 73.2 points, while in comparison, during the past 13 weeks Flaherty’s side has conceded an average of 60.46 points — including a 116-point loss to the Bombers.
Following that loss, the Tigers have only given up a combined 178 points across five weeks.
The Tigers lost the big dance last season to the Bombers and Flaherty believes his side, which is similar to last year, can go one better.
‘‘The want and desire are there from the group, we all know each other very well and with a few boys retiring, I think some out there will dig that little deeper,’’ Flaherty said.
Retiring trio Elliot Bowen, Heath Aitken and Sam Brennan will cast their eye over Shepparton this week and if the Tigers can replicate their form from midway through the season and keep the Bears to just 55 points, they will go a long way to winning.