The winter chill finally hit Melbourne and as expected, a mass exodus from leafy Bayside ensued.
School holidays are a time for family fun and a few weeks to regroup and refresh from the rigours of routine. Hoping everyone enjoyed a week off but now, we are into the ‘business end of the season’, with only a few weeks of footy left until the lightning premiership and end of season.
With the freezing temperatures of Beaumaris still fresh in our minds, we made our way over Bluff Rd to East Sandringham’s home ground for an early start in slightly warmer conditions, but not by much! God bless Rodney Block’s coffee run which earned him a clear 3 votes in my book.
This week we welcomed our newest teammate, Eddie Peat, to Team Yellow in his first ever game in Rovers colours. All the boys were very excited for him and he didn’t disappoint.
I was interested to see how we would start off this game given the break and given the temperature. The pre-game message simply reinforced team rules and encouraged the boys to execute what we have learned; run the ball together, use the first option and always look to pass the ball, by hand or foot, to our team mates in better positions – and to have fun!
The first quarter was scratchy with the ball spending dangerous time in our defence. Jackson Nelson, as has been the case throughout the season, mopped up the loose ball and ran his full quota on many occasions, weaving around opponents, to keep the wolves from the door. It seemed that East Sandringham had come to play though with pressure being applied to our defensive zone early on. Eddie Betts, Lucas and Archie repelled multiple Zebbie attacks and drove the ball forward, denying the opposition scoring opportunities. Through the middle of the ground Louis linked up well with handball, Calaen M bustled his way forward and Cruzy kicked long to advantage. Will presented keenly up forward as a prominent target and it wasn’t long before newcomer Eddie Peat got amongst the action, unselfishly handballing to his mate Jackson B in better position to set up a shot on goal. Brilliant teamwork by the pocket rocket in his first game but the kick by Jackson B misfired and the ball spilled free and stayed in play with only seconds remaining until quarter time. Like a majestic but hungry white-bellied sea-eagle, hovering high above the contest, Ethan pounced upon the loose ball and from the boundary, turned and snapped truly on his right with poise and composure to stake his claim on ‘goal of the day’. Followed by a pretty impressive and robust celebration with arms outstretched, gliding back – aeroplane style – toward the half forward line, enjoying the moment! Why not?! Siren sounds. Rovers have ascendancy but only just.
Quarter time break and a chance to take stock and shake the cobwebs out. We lost a soldier in Cruzy who was feeling ill and looked pale – needed to sit the rest of the game out. With rotations now complete, adjustments made, we were back into it the action. Jumping Jack Pollio started to make his presence felt in the midfield with fierce tackle pressure and a mild case of leather poisoning. Kai was let loose in the middle, after taking his turn on the bench in the first. Fearless attack on the ball and at the contest has been a highlight of Kai’s game from day one and Rd 11 was no exception. Sebastian made his presence felt with a terrific smother and trademark run and carry. Will pressured from the centre, Angus got dangerous up forward and Cooper led from the front. Calaen M, earmarked for a scheduled break this quarter, replaced an ill Cruzy in the last line of defence and was the Rock of Gibraltar down back. Whilst it felt we had control of the play, neither side could impose themselves on the scoreboard …until … running, darting; like an old school pick pocketing Oliver Twist impersonator, Kitty Kat McIntosh breaks the deadlock. Slotting a terrific snap straight through the big sticks and continuing on his form in front of goal. Half Time.
Third quarter and by now the day is warming up marginally with a slight breeze heading down one end. Ashton started using his pace off half back, Charlie controlled the ruck and tried to take them on at all opportunity. Joshua battled hard in the back pocket tackling and pressuring, while Kai provided great dash off half forward. We seemed to regain our mojo in this quarter with our handball and team work improving. With Cruzy, off, Jackson N took over duties at Full Forward and didn’t disappoint with a great ball trap and enough composure to steady on that powerful left foot and sink another major. Jack Pollio went from strength to strength in what was becoming a break out game for this nuggetty little go getter! Great stuff Jack!
Into the final quarter and we seemed to have their measure, albeit not by much. The tackle pressure continued, led by Jack P, and Sebastian ran his heart out through the centre. Jackson Block got busy in the forward line, Eddie Peat dazzled off the wing and Joshy taunted the opposition from the Forward Pocket. The ball swung from zone to zone and it seemed as though the Rovers could not eek any further scoring opportunities from this game. But our little Oliver Twist was not to be denied. “Can I have some more please…” the cheeky goal sneak, Kit, purrs as he slammed through his second for the game. Amazing what a little confidence can do for a budding forward. The siren sounded to end a hard fought game by both teams which saw the Rovers rebound from the icy Beaumaris experience.
Anyone who has played any footy (or winter sport) knows this time of year is the most challenging for the players (and parents!). Cold and wet. But it didn’t moisten the spirits or the smiles of the boys as they delivered a rousing rendition of the Rovers anthem in the club rooms. Well done boys!
Dingley this week at Castlefield, Brighton Beach at South Rd, then bring on The Lightning Premiership!! See you all Thursday at training.
Link above to the photos from the game – nice one Andrew Fix.
Rovers awards, in no order, for the day were as follows:
Congratulations to those boys.