Rovers bring Finals style footy to knock out South Melbourne and enter their first Grand Final
1st Quarter – Rovers here to play for Olive
You know it’s finals time in Melbourne when the sun is out, the smell of fresh cut grass permeates and you cannot get a park within a kilometer of the oval! A huge crowd greeted the Rovers Sunday for their first final against the same team who just last week defeated the Rovers comfortably. But this time the Rovers were determined to turn the tables and win this one for the brave Olive Tuppen who showed up with shoulder in a cast to support the girls.
Finals nerves flowed through the ground and the girls although nervous looked focused. Any sense of nerves subsided at the first bounce as the Rovers girls attacked the ball and came to play! The first quarter was a great contest with Joely providing ferocious attack on the ball. Maddie in the middle was giving our girls plenty of first use of the ball which Matilda B pounced on regularly. The ball moved from end to end bit like two giant heavyweights testing each other in the early rounds.
Lola was brilliant off half back standing tall with some great defensive marks and tackles with great support from Lily. Nadia and Bianca were combining well up forward but unlucky not to have the score on the board.
A late goal from South Melbourne from a strong mark and goal was the first and only score for the quarter, but overall a very even contest.
South Melbourne 1 0 6
Hampton Rovers 0 0 0
2nd Quarter – More pressure and more results – forwards on fire
Coach Kabel was delighted with the 1st quarter effort and then made a few changes to the team structure which lead to a more attacking Rovers team.
With Charlotte working hard in the ruck we had plenty of fast ball moving out of the centre with Matilda B and Jules combining beautifully. This quarter was played mostly in our forward half and after a long bomb forward Joely picked up and sidestepped the opposition for our first shot on goal, but just missed to register our first point. The Rovers forwards did a great job of locking in the ball in our forward 50 (reminiscent of the Tigers of 2017 fly brigade), the relentless pressure finally paid off with Joely once again picking up a loose ball and snapping our first goal to set the crowd alight. Rovers in front.
The centres were getting on top of the opposition and once again the ball was in forward 50 to find Bianca who beautifully scooped up the pill, fended off two opponents and snapped off balance ala Buddy Franklin style for the goal of the year! The girls were on fire!
Rovers went into half time with a hard fought lead, clearly our girls were more intent on winning each contest and efficient ball use was pleasing for the coaches.
South Melbourne 1 0 6
Hampton Rovers 2 2 14
3rd Quarter – The Fightback from the opposition
The opposition came out with far more determination and pressure in the third term; there was no way they were going to gift a win to the Rovers. An arm wrestle was under way as the two teams went for it in a great display of finals footy!
Amber and Matilda were strong in their attack on the ball and regularly swept up the ball from half back, with Zara K and Zoe B chipping in.
Nadia was proving a handful up forward for the opposition as she kept her feet and poise.
As the game was heating up a strong tackle from the Rovers brought down a South Melbourne player which brought a long delay in the game with the player stretchered off and the quarter ended.
South Melbourne 2 0 12
Hampton Rovers 3 2 20
4th Quarter – Rovers defence stands tall till the final minute rushed behind clinches the win!
The final quarter was mostly played in the South Melbourne’s forward half as the opposition brought the game right up to the Rovers. South Melbourne were inspired and throwing everything at the Rovers. The defence repelled multiple attacks with Lily and Maddie in the thick of it. Georgia was defending strongly with a number of intercept marks and Olivia was her plucky self regularly tackling her opposing number.
South Melbourne peppered away at goal, scoring a few behinds before finally they got the goal they worked so hard for and the game was now tied at 3 2 20 each. A cliffhanger was upon us as the crowd became more vocal and involved.
With the prize of a grand final spot up for grabs both teams battled with great endeavor and spirit, our defence standing tall the ball finally moved inside the Rovers forward line from great teamwork from Jules, Joely & Matilda B who was having a blinding last quarter.
Rovers had a few slight chances to get ahead until Nadia marked about 40 metres out with less than 30 seconds on the clock. She moved the ball on with a thumping kick to the top of the square where the Rovers attacked the ball and was rushed through for a behind by Zara R. With 10 seconds left on the clock the opposition tried to move the ball out of defence and the siren rang and the Rovers erupted into screams of jubilation and relief! The grand final spot is ours!
It was a heartbreaking result for the opposition to stomach who were incredibly brave on the day and earned great respect from the crowd.
Hats off to the Rovers girls who throughout this season have built into a great unit, the ultimate prize is up for grabs next week.
Superb team effort from all the girls. If we bring the same pressure, intensity and teamwork next week we are will be in a great position to bring home the premiership flag!
South Melbourne 3 2 20
Hampton Rovers 3 3 21