Round 10 was upon us today and East Malvern had come to Hampton town with an unbeaten record this season including toppling Prahran who ran over us last week. This season we have had great competition each week, it a season very similar to the AFL with even contests and who ever turns up with the right stuff on the day seems to get over the line. Our last meeting with East Malvern was a draw and we wanted to show them how we have improved and that playing at Hampton at home is no easy feat.
Today we had an agreed 16 man a side as East Malvern were short of a full field and we had seventeen with the assistance of Nate Jongen coming up for a run today from the U/8’s. We took the field today without one of our power players in Theeran Goyal, the in form Wil Licheri and missing our in and under play from Jack Breen. However the talking point of the day was that the BIG goal posts were back and everyone commented how lovely they looked sitting high on the eastern horizon of Castlefield.
After each boy had a turn at Captain this season, I decided for the remaining rounds I would return to the traditional format of one Captain rewarded to a boy that shows the commitment to his team mates and displays the qualities of a team leader. This week I chose Toby Clarkson to lead us out. Toby leads by example at training, during the game, and gives 110% to his team mates all the time. I couldn’t miss his flash new hair cut either.
The first quarter had the ball in our back half most of the time. Baxter controlled the back line time and again with solid stoppages and precise kicking to his team mates in the back line. Harry and Ollie worked really hard getting the ball back to the midfield. East Malvern were kicking behinds after multiple attempts and our designated kicker team rule coming our of defence was working really well. Jade provided us a great marking target and the back line functioned well under pressure. After getting smashed in this area last week it was good to see the boys leading away from the danger zones with thoughtful kicks coming out of the back line. Lots of spot up marks and really great footy. We eventually got the ball down our end with only behinds as the result.
The second quarter saw our boys start off not playing in front, lacking defensive work in the midfield, the work rate wasn’t good enough and we looked to let the game start to slip. East Malvern slotted two goals and another behind and went in to a commanding lead. Nate fought hard in the packs and has really improved his kicking under pressure. Jake Ring returned from his break and got right back into the thick of it. A turning point in the momentum of the game occurred when Big Chris came tearing out of the forward line really attacking the ball, inspirational attack on the ball. I saw some East Malvern kids jump out of the way with the look of fear on their faces. Fletcher ran his guts out in the middle never giving up a chase. Raph was getting in the packs where he belongs and started to show us how strong he can be. The games looked to change, I could tell these boys wanted to win and while we trailed just over two goals at the break there was plenty of spark in our Hampton bunch .
The third saw our Hampton boys put on the best footy played for the year, our midfield got on top. Magnus provided the tap in the middle and Seb and Fletcher started to move the ball into our forward half with great contested footy. Daniel Story came out possessed, stepping up when his team needed him, great hard ball gets, quick handballs and getting the rewards of free kicks for his courage. The Ockerby boys Harry and Fletcher were terrorising the middle and East Malvern were stunned. The ball moved forward again and Ollie wielded around and booted a big goal! Straight out of the middle for another chance to our power forward Campbell dominated the contest brushing players aside at will and slamming on another goal. Crowd was going wild and the emotion of the game was swinging Hamptons way. Back to the middle again the midfield put on a show almost untouchable. Baxter took a stand out mark in the pack running back with the play which could be mark of the day? Another inside 40 to Hampton and our fast paced Josh swooped on a loose ball to snap another goal for the Rovers. Absolute smashing by our boys this quarter, East Malvern were shocked!
Last week against Prahran we were up at three quarter time and couldn’t hold it together, this week we had the best team against the wall with one quarter to go. Finish them off! The boys were pumped and we went out confident after our seasons best quarter. Our midfield was working hard again, Jody tore through the middle running his full measure then laying a handball off to Jake who also ran and bombed the ball into our forward line. Dan went head first into another pack coming out with the ball and snagging a goal from the square. The ball bounced around the middle and East Malvern managed to get the ball away from our mids, a pack went up on the far wing and a multiple of kids flew up, as the pack crashed apart Lincoln was lying on the ground after plucking a ripper mark.
We got the ball back in our forward half and Captain Toby had his eyes on the ball, after following the play across the pockets with desperation and he got his hands on the footy and snapped another goal to seal the deal. The siren sounded and we knew we had again protected our home turf with a great performance against top opposition.
Very satisfied coach today, proud to see the boys playing such great footy and improving so much in our contested football! East Malvern were a great bunch of coaches and players and the game was played in the best of spirits today.
Outstanding Contribution – Harry Ockerby, back to his best this week, gave us two strong quarters in the middle and never stopped working. Took some great marks and was instrumental in his backline position while under attack. If we get this from Harry in the last few rounds we will be hard to beat! Great all round game today!
Guts and Determination – Campbell Hardie – So many boys could’ve got this award today but Campbell brought back the form we saw last season. Attacked the ball, won his contested footy and was rewarded with a great goal when we really needed it.
Completely Smashed It – Daniel Storey , what a game today. Dan did what he always does and gets in and over the footy. Lately he’s been getting caught after hard work. Today we talked about getting rid of that ball just a bit quicker. This boy listens and the results were amazing. Great hard ball footy, handball from the stoppages, marks and goals. Day out for Dan and looking forward to more of that this season.
Mark of the Day – Lincoln, there were a lot of great marks today Harry had a cracker, Jade was strong as usual and Baxter’s was a ripper too. However Lincoln’s mark late in the game was a great pack mark and even Coach Dad had to acknowledge that one.
U/9 Yellow Hampton Rovers JFC