Today we were spoilt again with a great autumn morning, a dry ground and breeze to one end of the ground. Our captains today Harry Ockerby and Magnus Barton won the toss and elected to kick with the breeze in the first quarter. The St Peter’s team seemed a lot bigger than our squad and they had some great players that matched our team well in the first quarter. Our mission today was to play in front, play on as often as possible and use hand ball when in traffic.
We started the match just as we discussed with many of the boys dancing out of the packs with well directed handball and running play. Captain Magnus accepted my challenge to take the ruck position and knocked the ball down to our midfielders. Harry, Lincoln and Jake were everywhere in the first quarter, constantly ducking and weaving out of the packs and feeding our wingers Jade and Wil. After much back and forth around the centre of the ground the forwards worked hard to keep the ball in our zone with Raph, Chris and Olly applying forward pressure enabling Jody to eventually break free from a pack and snap a goal on his trusty left foot. Our back line stood up well – Theeran, Dan and Seb tackled consistently while Nate and Fletcher were cleaning up the spills with long kicks back to the mid field. Magnus ran hard to space to tack a great mark on the wing. Really good quarter from the team.
The second quarter was again tight for scoring just like the first. Fletcher moved into the ruck and had a great quarter using the ball by hand and foot to his team mates. Baxter again played on the wing and read the play well as the spare man back, rewarded with lots of the ball and well directed kicks back our way. We had numerous goal attempts and plenty of opportunity without putting one through the middle. St Peters kicked one and the game like most weeks, was very tight.
At half time we knew we had the breeze again and our tactic was for long kicks using the breeze. Christopher moved in to the ruck position as gave us first use of the ball. Josh was playing on the wing and showed us his speed (whoosh!) he cleaned up some loose balls getting them forward. Toby came alive while on the ball and we saw the results up forward. Nate marked within range but unselfishly spotted up Daniel slightly closer. Dan converted his goal to the Hampton crowd’s pleasure. Soon after that, Nate again bombed one to Baxter who got it Fletchers way who busted through the pack to smash it over through the big ones! At this point we really looked like running away with the game. St Peters managed to sneak a goal and stay within touch at three quarter time.
At the last change, I could sense our boys were tiring, they were hard to prop up and lacked their usual gusto, I reminded them it was just 12 more minutes and to give it their best. We fought hard against the breeze and a hard running St Peters team. The St Peters midfield started getting on top for the first time and we could see some heavy feet on the Hampton team. Harry kept plugging away getting the ball forward and Jody kicked his second goal for the day. St Peters to their credit moved the ball straight up the centre with the wind and our boys just couldn’t maintain the intensity we saw earlier in the day. Tackling was down, manning up went out the door and St Peters managed three goals to one in the final term to pip us at the post.
The result today was the first loss our boys had experienced at Hampton Rovers, and while we saw the disappointment from the boys and parents, I know this is only going to be a positive for our team as they learn that success on game day comes from hard work for four quarters. When we maintain game throughout, we have proven to come out on top on all occasions. Today we couldn’t do that and St Peters could, the better team on the day. Good discussion point for Thursdays training!
While the result wasn’t to plan, most of the day was highly skilled and fantastic footy to watch from the boys. This weeks awards go to:
Outstanding Contribution – Harry Ockerby, today harry hit the ball with pace and clean play, through himself at every contest and was an outstanding contributor as Captain today.
Guts and Determination – Sebastian Gelso, plays with G&D every week but today he put himself right in the play at every opportunity, took some tough marks and a few hard hits. Seb always is their for his team mates.
Completely Smashed It – Joshua Marshall, this boy gets better every week and today was his best! He has pace and skill, which he is just learning to use. Today he was running onto much of the play with the opposition on his tail. Looking forward to Josh’s development this year great stuff!
Mark Of The Day – Magnus Barton – Magnus has been practicing a lot away from training, I can tell! His kicking and marking is coming along well. Today he made space and ran on to a long ball for a great mark on the wing. He stepped up today as Captain also!