With the completion of the four grading rounds, Week 5 promised a competitive game between the Hampton Rovers and the Waverley Hawks. The Rovers had already tasted success in one of the first four games, and were looking to do it against good competition. The captain for the week was Ben D, whose leadership-by-example in games and in training was exemplary. The Rovers also welcomed to the team Jackson J with his grit, and Ethan P for his first game with Rovers and fast legs, and they were sorely needed due to a few late injuries before the game began.
The first quarter began with the Rovers surging forward through Max P’s ruck dominance, and Jace D’s efforts on the loose ball. Our forwards kept the ball inside the arc by swarming over the ball, with Zac B and Lucas C smothering their opponents, so the opposition couldn’t get a clean kick. Captain Ben D ran tirelessly around the wing, and took a spectacular mark in a pack. The opposition ran-and-carried the ball through the midfield, but the defence withstood their efforts, with Matteo D’s tacking a highlight, something he would do throughout the day. Will S competed hard at centre half back, and after a rebound from our defense, Jackson J showed his talent with an excellent goal on the run, and the Rovers celebrated all over the field.
After an evenly contested first quarter, the Rovers looked to keep pressuring their opponents in the second quarter. Both teams hotly contested the loose ball, with the Rover’s Jake M finding himself under quite a few packs. The Hawks began to get a run-on through the midfield, but Chevi O and Oli A continuously repelled their efforts. Stanley H was getting busy through the midfield and making a big impact on the game, when took the mark of the season jumping across the front of a pack.
The players were clearly out of breath after a tough half of running and contested efforts, so there were a few positional changes for the third to get more players involved in the contest. Ethan P continued to run hard down the flanks, and snapped an early goal to even the contest. Oscar G ran hard through the middle, and Brodie J racked-up possessions has he pushed the ball forward from the centre. Even an injured Josh E was still able to contribute to the team by getting active in the forward pocket. As the opposition move the ball into their forward line, the backs were under immense pressure, but Ben F lead the group by competing in the air and on the ground. Eddie L epitomised the team’s mentality in the backline, by chasing the loose ball against multiple opponents and bottling-up the ball. Despite a few opposition goals, it was a great quarter of effort and commitment from the Rovers, and it left the team with a chance in the final quarter.
In the last, with the opposition starting to get on top, Ben D and Matteo D showed everyone how to stick a tackle, with the umpire giving both of them free kicks for perfect execution. With Christian B providing a target at full forward, the Rovers surged again. Lachie K took a sure-handed mark under pressure, and kicked truly from 30m, to stem the flow of opposition scores. The Hawks continued to move the ball forward, and the Rover’s speedsters Christian S and Oli A cleared the ball multiple times under pressure.
At the final siren, the Hawks were victorious, but the Rovers had shown grit and endeavour throughout the game. It was hard fought and every player tried their best, which pleased the coaches. In the rooms afterwards, the Rovers were disappointed, but were encouraged to reflect on how well they played as a team in a competitive game.
Coach Mike and Coach Dave