The D1 boys headed to the big smoke on Sunday to play South Melbourne for a 10.15 am contest at Albert Park. The heavy rain overnight had cleared into what was a good morning for football and the ground draining well and in good nick. Elliot Brown was captain for the day and Josh Bogue playing his 50th Game in what has been 50 games of good hard and tough footy for the Rovers.
We started the game kicking into a 2 to 3 goal breeze which we believed would suit our running game with fresh legs and give us the wind in the last quarter. With a couple of key personal missing for the day through injury, state football trials and school camp we mixed our team up and gave a few of our young men new roles. Elliot played in the centre and gave us 4 quarters of tough hard footy, Nico moved into a roving roll and delivered with good ground skills and gave us plenty of drive, Lucas moved to fullback and was effective in rebounding many attacks and Josh B to full forward to give us some solid forward line pressure.
From early on it was clear the South Melbourne boys had come to play and really served up some quality running D1 football, the coaching box started to swing the changes, and to the credit of many of our young men we lifted across the ground led by Kai and Mason. Josh D and Kyle were controlling both wings. Jenson was reliable across half back, as was Jake who provided his usual rebound run. Josh N showed the way in hard ball gets and was found at the bottom of many packs.
The rucking division of Ted and Alex have had to give away height in most games and again today was no exception, with both young men battling hard all day. Up forward Jacky G was prominent as was Ben who applied forward pressure to instruction. Marco also had some good passages of play as did Brodie who was lively around the stoppages. The back line were under pressure all day with Louie and Luke battling hard against a fast running opposition.
At ¾ time it was decided to move the 2 talls in Alex and Ted to full forward with the breeze and really try and stretch the south Melbourne defence, this move had instant return with both boys taking strong marks and driving the ball forward. Maxy C moved into the ruck and gave us more run and pressure around the ball, and all of a sudden the Rovers had stepped it up a notch with intensity and the comeback was on. The last quarter was played in our forward line with plenty of attacks and shots on goal and we had our chances but we just ran out of time.
In the end I think the best side on the day won, but we showed that when we play with intensity we can match it with any side we have played so far this season. It appears to be a very even D1 competition, and we are going to need to start each game with the intensity that we finished with.
Coaches Sean & Steve