A TRIO of Rochester Football Club greats will hang up their boots at the end of the season.
Elliott Bowen, Sam Brennan and Heath Aitken announced their retirement at the end of the year following Saturday’s game against Shepparton Swans.
Each has been a staple of the senior side for several years and their commitment to the club has been unwavering in that time.
Brennan took out the club best and fairest in 2016 and has been a key ruckman in his time with the Tigers and Aitken has been travelling from Melbourne to play for the Tigers on and off since 2002, his family ties having kept him coming back.
They’re the only two players still at the club to have played during the 1999 premiership year.
Bowen was part of the 2008 premiership side and this year took on the role as a first time coach of the thirds.
Bowen and Aitken celebrated their 200 game milestones with the club during the season and all three will have a fitting send off as the Tigers embark on yet another post-season campaign after finishing fifth on the Goulburn Valley League ladder.
And it’s not only team looking to push deep into finals.
All three football teams and two netball teams have made the top six in what’s been an incredibly successful year for the Tigers.
It’s the first time in at least seven years all three football teams have made the finals at once.
The thirds haven’t made finals since 2010, the same year the seniors finished outside of six.
They’ve performed above expectations this season under a new coach to finish in fifth with 12 wins and six losses.
The seniors recorded just as many wins and only moved into fifth place in round 15 after injuries proved costly in the first half of the year.
They found their form later in the season in taking down formidable opponents in Benalla and Euroa.
The reserves finished highest up on the ladder in third place having only dropped four games this season under the guidance of club life member and past senior player Nathan Whipp.
As the Tigers gear up for a big week it looks to acknowledge the contribution the three stalwarts have had over the years.
And there is a plenty of depth at the club to fill their roles with several under 18 players looking to step up into the senior ranks next year.
The club prides itself on its ability to draw on local talent which was shown at the weekend with 18 of its senior players having attended Rochester High School.
The Tigers have also seen success across its netball grades with the under 17s and B reserve each playing this weekend.
The experience and camaraderie of the B reserve playing group has seen them record 12 wins this season to finish in fifth.
The under 17s have shown a lot of talent in their line-up and have taken it up to several stronger sides despite being a relatively new team.
The entire community wishes them all good luck as they enter the first round of finals on Saturday and look to make 2017 the year of the Tigers.
The reserves and under 17s play at Tatura on Saturday and seniors, under 18s and B reserve will play on Sunday at Benalla.