It's been a stellar year for the Rovers
RICHMOND Rovers FC has a long history of success in Far North Coast soccer grand finals.
This year has been another stellar season for the East Lismore club, with the men's premier division and reserves teams having qualified for the grand finals after claiming the pointscore trophies in emphatic fashion.
Grand final success for Rovers' reserve division side has become as common as the new spring season, with the club's name on the trophy all but four times since 2003.
The club won an extraordinary 10 consecutive reserves grand finals, with stalwart Scott "Squeak" Johnson playing in each of them.
Rovers will play either Alstonville or arch rivals Lismore Thistles in the decider this year but will be firm favourites regardless of which team they face.
The premier team awaits either South Lismore or nemesis Byron Bay to challenge for the Cyril Mayo trophy on Saturday, September 22, at Crozier Field in Lismore.
Rovers have won six premier division grand finals since 2007 and will be expected to add another major premiership after losing only one game all season.
The club will also be represented on grand final day by the men's sixth division team and the normal huge contingent of Rovers supporters is expected.
One Rovers man who will be absent is club founder Bill Harris who, at age 85, will wait patiently at home for news of the results.
Mr Harris has had failing eyesight for years and lost his beloved wife Helen in 2017 after 66 years of marriage.
He has never lost his passion for soccer but attending games is too big an obstacle now.
The name Bill Harris is used with absolute reverence in conversations among Rovers people and his positive influence has benefited thousands of players who have donned a Rovers shirt since he formed the club in 1961.
It was my privilege to join Mr Harris this week at his spiritual home, Bill Harris Field, where he made a brief visit ahead of the grand finals.
The joy on his face was evident as he held the Cyril Mayo trophy and the reserves trophy for a few moments.
In his quiet but still rich and distinctive Irish accent, Mr Harris simply said: "The boys can do it, Steve, and I believe they can.
"All the best to them."