The season-long D6 tour of greater Bayside continued this week, with the team travelling to Cheltenham under sunny(ish) skies and a fast track. We welcomed Marco G and Heath D back from injury and also welcomed Oli S back to the Rovers for his first game this year. Jack C lead the team on the ground as the captain for the day, and Coach Graham joined the staff to provide his insight and experience.
Things started well with the Rovers winning the toss and choosing to kick with the wind to the southern end. During the pre-match, the team were encouraged to make the second effort and run hard to the contest, while always respecting their opposition and the umpire. With the coaches words ringing in their ears, the team started the game with intense running, tackling and contesting of the ball. There was not much between the teams in the early going, with the Rovers battling hard. Josh E battled in a 3-on-1 in the forward line and Zac B provided a strong contest for forward entries, whilst in the backline Jake M frustrated the opposition with his tackling and harrassing. The ball spent a fair time in the backline, but Ben F spoiled multiple mark attempts, Chevi O was able to clear effectively and Heath D ran hard to contest. The highlight of the quarter was a fantastic specccccie by Christian S, who had a ripper game.
At the quarter break, Cheltenham has scored a solitary goal, but the Rovers had not yet bothered the scorers. The team didn’t worry about the scoreboard, rather they were focused on providing an honest contest, exemplified by Jack C who laid numerous solid tackles to stop the opposition advances while roaming the centreline. Oli S started with a bang, with a great tackle and lots of run off the wing. Jace D used his legs for some run-and-carry, and Louie L played as the centre pivot in both directions. As the quarter wore-on, the opposition started to get their running legs and scored a few goals in quick succession, which was a disappointing result for the Rovers given the team’s hard work throughout the quarter.
The team was instructed to keep running and pushing into the forward line for the 3rd quarter, and they did just that, with James M running hard and kicking to advantage into the forward line, with Oli S following-up and scoring the Rovers’ first goal. Everyone was excited as they returned to their positions, as it was a just reward for all their effort. Marco G was swung into the backline and made an immediate impression, with lots of pressure on the opposition forwards. Stanley H and Oscar G were lively around the forward flanks, providing targets for the mids as we pushed forward. Max R and Lachie K rotated through the ruck, and also provided strength in the backline against the opposition’s best talls.
The Rovers spirit was evident in the final quarter, with all the players continuing to work hard despite a lop-sided scoreboard. Lucas C took a strong mark in the backline and Ben D used muscle-and-hustle to clear the ball. Brodie J had licence to run and he was everywhere, gathering a tonne of possessions and kicking into the forward line. A great passage of play started with Eddie L in the forward pocket holding-off 2 opposition, where he handballed to Oli S, who kicked to the hot-spot where Marco G marked and goaled for the Rover’s second major. Another reward for excellent teamwork.
By the final siren, Cheltenham had earned a solid win with excellent teamwork and skill. But the Rovers coaches were proud of the team’s efforts, especially the player’s willingness to compete for the hard ball, tackle the opposition and the willingness to never give up. It can be hard to keep that fighting spirit alive when the scoreboard is not in our favour, but the team has demonstrated time-and-again how strong willed and competitive they are, irrespective of the situation. These are excellent character traits for playing football, and for life!
Coach Mike & Coach Graham