Pluschke, Taylor, Teakle sisters star in hefty win for Northampton over Towns on GNFL’s 60th anniversary

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Rams life member Terry Smith presents Harrison Pluschke with the commemorative medal for best on ground.
Camera IconRams life member Terry Smith presents Harrison Pluschke with the commemorative medal for best on ground. Credit: Supplied

Things have certainly turned around for Northampton.

The Rams handed Towns a heavy defeat at Wonthella last Friday night in a commemorative twilight league match for the 60th anniversary of the Great Northern Football League’s first ever game.

The Rams were also successful in a special women’s game played under lights on the same night, handing the Bulldogs a 10-goal thumping.

Harry Taylor's first senior game in a Northampton Rams jersey.
Camera IconHarry Taylor's first senior game in a Northampton Rams jersey. Credit: Supplied

The 92-point margin in Northampton’s favour in the league clash underscored a reversal of the club’s fortunes — Northampton have been on the receiving end of near-200-point margins against Towns multiple times over the past few decades.

Now, they’re looking ahead to finals footy and sideways at a premiership tilt, while Towns are in a rebuilding phase.

It wasn’t a record win for the Rams, although it did go some way to redressing wounds of recent seasons — but Northampton history was made in another way, as two-time AFL premiership winner Harry Taylor pulled on the jumper for his first senior game with his hometown club, having played senior GNFL footy with Rovers before being drafted.

Julia Teakle, 17, pictured, kicked three goals for Northampton while her sister Tiani, 14, kicked four.
Camera IconJulia Teakle, 17, pictured, kicked three goals for Northampton while her sister Tiani, 14, kicked four. Credit: Supplied

Rams league coach Beau Walker said it was a good performance, with the game opening up in the second half, and best-on-ground Harrison Pluschke a stand-out along with the class of Taylor, Kye McVee and Ethan Brown in defence, and Josh Siegert.

“I think the club’s been on the end of a few floggings from Towns over the years, so it was good to get one back,” he said.

He said Taylor — who showed his experience with positioning, marking and accurate disposals as well as a three-goal scoring tally — was also a deceptively quick player despite his size.

Taylor said he felt some butterflies running out despite his experience.

Harry Taylor with the ball for Northampton.
Camera IconHarry Taylor with the ball for Northampton. Credit: Supplied

“I had a great time, 280 games of AFL footy and I still used to get nervous for all of them, and I still felt a bit nervous running out for first time for the Rams,” he said.

“But I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Towns coach Dale Baynes said he thought Northampton were the yardstick in the competition after two rounds, and said Towns were in a rebuilding phase with young players coming through after the experienced side of a few seasons ago largely disbanded because of players leaving town or retiring.

“We just weren’t polished enough to put the scores on the board and make it look like more of a contest,” he said.

Footy historian Victor Tanti said it was the biggest win for Northampton against Towns since 1995, and Towns’ lowest score against the Rams at Wonthella Oval.

Since 1996, the Bulldogs had beaten the Rams nine times by a margin of 30 goals or more, he said.

“Towns dominated Northampton, really, from 1996 to 2019,” he said. “It’s a stunning turnaround.

“For the past 25 years, Towns had barely lost a game to Northampton and usually won by huge margins.” The Rams nearly scored a clean sweep for the round.

The women’s side won 10.9 (69)-1.0 (6) as Charlotte Kennedy booted four and youngster Tiani Teakle grabbed three, while older sister Julia Teakle scored two.

The reserves game finished 10.18 (78)-1.3 (9) to Northampton while Towns restored some pride in the colts, winning 13.6 (84)-4.4 (28).

Railways won 34.19 (223)-3.2 (20) against Mullewa in the league on Sunday and 11.10 (76)-1.1 (7) in the women’s.

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