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GOLDEN Square coach Nick Carter says retiring star Simon Rosa has one big game left in him in Saturday’s Bendigo Football-Netball League grand final.
Rosa has confirmed Saturday’s premiership battle against fierce rivals Sandhurst at the QEO will be his last before he hangs up the boots.
“Having played football with Simon for a lot of years and knowing him as a mate, it’s a bit emotional for him to come to the end,” Carter said at Wednesday’s grand final press conference.
“The respect that he has earned from this community is enormous.
“We talk internally about guys like Dean Strauch, but there’s not a better country footballer that I’ve seen.
“He’s got one big game left in him and I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes.”
Since joining Golden Square in 2010 the silky Rosa has played in four premierships, with one of his fellow midfield linchpins having been Bulldogs’ co-captain Jack Geary.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play with Simon the whole time he has been here,” five-time Bulldogs’ premiership player Geary said.
“From the word go, as soon as he stepped into the club everyone looked up to him and it was a case of his actions spoke louder than his words.
“With what he has brought to the club, he has just been a legend of the club and the competition over the past seven years.
“If we can’t find a little bit more for him on Saturday then I don’t know when we will.”
The Bulldogs qualified for the grand final with a hard-fought preliminary final win over Eaglehawk by 19 points last Saturday in what was a game where they overhauled a 16-point three quarter-time deficit.
“It was probably a few desperate acts late in the game that probably sent a message to our group that it’s desperate times, and in desperate times you need to stand up and our guys certainly did that,” Carter said.
Key position swingman Travis Baird and mid-season recruit Ryan Colbert were both withdrawals from the preliminary final team, but Carter says both will be right to return this week.
“They will be both fit,” Carter said.
“Trav caught something off his young fella and Colby has just been a bit tight in his groin, but he will be fine.
“We’re almost there with selection, but they are two guys who are experienced senior finals players and really important to our mix.”
The Bulldogs have a 17-4 record for the season, with three of their four losses having been against Sandhurst by margins of 47, 13 and 53 points.
“The beauty of Sandhurst is they have 22 contributors and you know they bat really deep,” Carter said.
“Certainly, the midfield spread and their ball-carriers are critically important to them and up forward and down back they have a lot of flexibility.
“All round they are a very good outfit that has played good footy throughout the year.”
Saturday’s senior grand final start at 2.20pm.