These match reports are definitely getting longer! Apologies but I really want to make sure we are recognising all the efforts the boys are putting in and acknowledging their improvement. Pete Jongen grab a coffee before you start reading (seems this is being read by not just the U11 Purple fraternity!).
Nice to be back at home today for the first game of winter – Murrumbeena our opponents. Our second milestone game for the year with Giddy celebrating his 50th game. Congratulations to Giddy on reaching this significant mark in his football career with the Rovers.
We are really lucky to have Giddy in our side – he plays at a couple of levels above most of our opposition (& many of his team mates!), constantly hunting the ball, you can rely on him getting his hands on the pill when it is in his vicinity. Giddy backed this up today with another cracking game – his stats sheet won’t show a bag of goals or lots of flashy highlights, today was about Giddy doing a lot of hard physical work in a what was quite a physical game (there was also plenty of polish!).
Bailey S and Hugo were our captains today and both led very admirably. Murrumbeena were one down, so I am proud to say our boys once again showed the sportsmen they are and I didn’t have to look very far for volunteers to play each quarter for the opposition. Thankyou and congratulations to all the boys who put their hands up – Charlton, James, Wes and Thomas.
Murrumbeena had a handy volunteer in the first quarter with Charlton providing a couple of highlights in the opposition jumper. Firstly, he took a great mark at centre half back and then later in the quarter he picked up the ball, gave one of our boys a “don’t argue” and cleared the ball out of Murrumbeena’s defence. If it wasn’t for Charlton I am sure our lead would have been greater at quarter time.
Our boys had a terrific first quarter. Harry W was on fire and in everything. He roved the ball off the pack in our forward line and proceeded to kick our first goal. Next moment he was clearing he ball at the centre bounce. His prolific possession gathering continued all day in one of his most dominant performances of the year.
The ball bobbed around our forward line, not long after Harry W had the ball in his hands again, settled and passed the ball beautifully to Max laces out. Max was in scoring range and coolly went back and put it straight through the middle. Max was putting some real physical pressure on the opposition in the game today and it was great to see him get some reward.
Bailey M finished last week’s game off strongly in the backline, so that is where he found himself in the first half. Bailey had his best game for the Rovers and this started in the first quarter when he found himself under a tough mark, which he spilt but he was quick to recover, gain possession and shoot out a perfect handpass to a team mate in a better position who was able to clear the ball.
The ball worked its way down to our forward line where the man of the moment Harry W grabbed the ball put out a “don’t argue” to his opponent and kicked the goal. Once again, we were able to work the ball forward with Harry B following it out of the centre and getting a handpass to Will who did what Will does best, shook his hips to lose his opponent, snapped over his head on his reliable left foot for our next and final goal of the quarter.
The whole team had played well together in the opening stanza with Giddy getting all over the field, along with his midfield mate Harry B who was in the middle of every pack that formed. Harry was tackled and ridden into the ground at one point in what should have been a free kick his way. The umpire saw it differently and paid the free to Murrumbeena for holding the ball. This one had me totally confused. More importantly Harry was hurt in this fierce tackle but in a great example to all his team mates, Harry brushed himself off, didn’t argue the point and ran onto the next play (BTW – I’m pretty sure Harry returned the favour to the tackler not long after!).
Thomas also was off to a flyer during the first quarter and Stefan was really impressive in the ruck. He moved all over the ground to get to many contests and won the quarter against a quality opposition ruckman.
James put his hand up to play for Murrumbeena in the second quarter and gave them his all. The second quarter was a struggle for our boys, our opposition really came out to play. We had many boys in unfamiliar positions and they stuck to the task, but we were unable to score a goal whilst Murrumbeena got three on the board. Hugo stood out with repeat effort after repeat effort – four in a row in fact to clear the ball out of a pack to our advantage – great captains game today mate.
Bailey M continued his form in the back line taking a mark and then passing to a Jake S in the defensive goal square in an attempt to switch the play. Jake S spent the first half in the backline. Jake is a noted forward/wingman but has been fantastic when asked to go back in recent weeks and continued this today with lots of possessions and defensive pressure on the opposition.
Matty C had a really good first half at centre half forward. He was often out numbered but he was never beaten, usually coming up with the ball and passing to a team mate. The boys were putting lots of pressure on Murrumbeena (perhaps reflective of us doing a lot more chasing!) and Matty G in the ruck was contesting well in the middle but following it up around the ground with some really big tackles.
Oscar entered the game in the second quarter and provided some important additional run, always hard at the ball. Niko was competing as hard as he could deep in our forward line. I thought he was a chance of scoring on a couple of occasions only for the ball to bounce at 90 degrees away from him as the last minute. Jake F was looking dangerous up forward and Zac showed his smooth moves on the wing gut running up and down the ground, and as always playing a really import defensive transition role. Another great game today Zac, ever reliable.
At half time we talked about lifting our accountability. We want the boys in our defence, and particularly when we didn’t have the ball all over the ground, to find their opponent and stand goal side. We got opened up in on the rebound out of our forward line today as all of our centre line ran deep in search of the ball. To the credit of the boys this did improve after half time but it is something we need to work on.
We also asked the boys to use the wrong side of their body in the second half (this seemed to go unnoticed!) and to work on running to space, using our voices and linking the ball in a chain of possessions. This point the boys really grasped. Towards the end of the quarter Charlton tapped the ball to himself out of the middle, handballed to Harry B, who handballed to Thomas who pumped the ball deep into our forward line. This play was a highlight, but an even better piece unfolded in the last quarter (we’ll get to that though).
Wes put his hand up to play for Murrumbeena in the third quarter and to be honest he was a real pest! He and Will had a great (and very entertaining) battle with Wes constantly getting in the way of our forward thrusts! He smothered a ball that was sure to be a goal and was even given an award at the end of the game by the opposition coach. Really proud of the way you went about this Wes.
I love it when we have boys who kick their first goal for the Rovers. Today Max kicked his first for the year but I’m pretty sure not his first for the club. I mentioned Bailey M earlier, his confidence is growing by the minute at the moment. There was a quick kick forward from centre half forward into the hot spot, 10 metres out from goal and guess who was there and took a ripper of a mark on his chest? Bailey M! Bailey went back and gave it a good confident kick, we all hung on in hope but there was no need for hope because it went straight through the middle. Congratulations Bailey on your first goal for the Rovers! I loved the confident fist pump as soon as you took your mark and loved even more the double fist pump and fingers in the air celebration!
Next Giddy won the ball in the middle, handpassed to Harry B who gave it to Harry W to handpassed to Thomas, who linked up back to Harry B. Harry B kicked the ball to James who gave it to Charlton who had run on from the middle and Charlton kicked the goal. This has to be our best team goal of the year. Really impressive stuff. Well done boys!
Charlton had dominated the ruck and was having a very good game. He was involved in the next goal, this time tapping the ball out from a ruck contest near the boundary to Thomas. Thomas grabbed the ball and turned on the after burners, straightened up and kicked a very good goal from a tight angle.
Robbie had moved into the forward line after a really good first half. I can always count on Robbie to stand his man tightly and not run off chasing kicks – really important for a defender. So, it was time to give him an opportunity for some freedom and although he didn’t hit the scoreboard, Robbie competed hard and was in and amongst it all quarter. James also had a very good quarter, was constantly presenting himself in space at centre half forward and looking dangerous.
Thomas put his hand up to play for Murrumbeena in the last quarter and just like his team mates before him, gave it his all, was a real contributor for our opposition and should be very proud of his effort.
Wes went deep into our forward line and proved a handful, turning his pesky performance back on Murrumbeena in the last. Baily S rose to the captaincy, had been very good all game and in plenty of the play. In the last he moved forward and provided a strong avenue to goal, taking a number of shots. There were a number of highlights in the last quarter – Oscar playing at half back put on an enormous punching spoil in a making contest, the quality was the level you would see from Alex Rance on a weekly basis. Harry W had dominated the game and took two bounces towards goal before sending in a long bomb that just missed. Giddy and Harry B also worked tirelessly on the ball all game.
However, the biggest highlight of the game for me was a piece of play where the boys moved the ball from deep defence into the forward pocket without Murrumbeena touching the ball. Giddy kicked the ball from deep defence to the half back line where Charlton took a mark. Charlton linked up with Harry B who ran it up the wing – Harry was protected beautifully by a swarm of team mates who ran in support, most notably Jake S who put on a perfect shepherd. Harry kicked the ball to Wes who linked up with Will. Amazing piece of the play with all the coaches cheering on madly!
The goals for the quarter: Firstly, Will, who got his hands on the ball, took a bounce and put it through for our first; our second was a cracker, another team goal – Charlton tapped the ball to Giddy linked up with Bailey M, who handballed to Wes who got the ball out to Bailey S who goaled! Bailey was brilliantly assisted via a big shepherd by Jake F. The third and final goal of the game went to Harry B, who marked in the hotspot and put it through the middle.
Well done boys, something I’ve repeated a couple of weeks in a row – another really convincing win today. The next month of football will be a great challenge for our boys as they take on the top sides in our division and we should find out just how far we’ve come so far this year – I’m looking forward to the challenge, as I’m sure all the boys are. We need to keep improving and focus on further developing some great team play that we are seeing more regularly.
See you all Thursday. Don’t forget to touch your football 100 times each day!
Damo, Chris and Rod
Hampton Rovers – Best Mates