Well winter has certainly arrived! We experienced arctic conditions today down at Albert Park against South Melbourne Districts. Today was a special day for three of our boys who all joined the 50 game club – a big congratulations to Jake Seddon, Matthew Cole and Max Bogue. All have been great servants to the Rovers over the past three and a half years and all three were fantastic all day for us and should be really proud of they way they played their 50th game.
The captains for today were Max in his milestone game and Bailey M. Well done boys you’ve both been in great form and you led by example again today. We were missing five boys today so went in without a bench – a great opportunity for all the boys to get plenty of game time.
Conditions were cold and the ground was wet so the first quarter was a slog with the Rovers kicking into a wind that was probably pushing more across the ground to the pocket than down it. Scoring was difficult with lots of packs forming and the ball struggling to clear.
Max was terrific getting plenty of the ball and using his strong body to break out of packs and send the ball forward. Jake S was also getting a lot of the ball on the wing and showing everyone on the ground just how to play wet weather footy with some terrific body work. Our third 50 gamer was also off to a flyer at centre half forward getting his hands on it and pumping the ball deep into our forward line.
James was into the play early at full forward and imposed himself on the play a number of times using his big body – at one point he worked his opponent past the ball by using his hips to bump fairly, he picked up the ball turned and snapped with a couple of opponents hanging off him. Unfortunately, the result wasn’t there but the effort certainly was.
In addition to the above Zac was outstanding, playing dry weather footy on a very wet day – Zac was the cleanest player on the field all day. Giddy was his usual self, hunting the ball and getting plenty of it. Harry B had been sick all week but was shaking off his illness to provide plenty of drive through the midfield.
We really only had the one scoring shot for the quarter with Will running onto his trusty left boot, taking a long range shot that we were all riding home in the coach’s box only for it to hit the post! Bailey S was also doing some good work up forward with his hands and took a terrific mark in the first quarter.
South Melbourne were sneaking players behind the play and caught us on the rebound for a goal. A shame the scoreboard really didn’t reflect the side who had been on top for the majority of the quarter.
The second quarter was tough for all players as the rain closed in. Matty G moved into the ruck and had a terrific quarter laying more than a handful of tackles, winning the majority of hit outs and getting plenty of kicks. He combined with Zac who had moved onto the ball with Oscar and Max. All three were in the play all quarter with plenty of tackling and grunt work – Zac continued a great game and did his best to keep us in an attacking mindset.
Our run really took off in the second quarter and Zac was brave enough to take a bounce – although it didn’t come back to him, he was composed enough to recover, continue running and drive the ball into the half forward line. Jake S continued to show great wet weather technique – he also took a bounce but touched the ball on the ground as he ran rather than bounce.
Jake F was leading the defence, repelling anything that came near full back and using lots of voice to get his team mates to maintain their accountability. Matt C continued a great game by supporting Jake from centre half back and Robbie and Bailey M had a lock on their men, depriving them of scoring opportunities.
Stefan was providing options up forward and Charlton nearly took a fine chest mark in the goal square which would have been a sure conversion. Niko and James were our tall towers deep in the forward line on tough day for forwards and were providing avenues to goal. Tobey had moved up onto the wing, so we could utilise his run and was showing us plenty.
In a tight second quarter we scored the only goal through a piece of brilliance from Will who got a hold of the ball on the boundary, deep in the forward pocket, lent back on a banana kick and put it straight through the middle like it was a dry day. At the half time break we trailed by 2 points in really tough, low scoring affair.
The weather continued to close in during the third quarter and we could see our boys starting to tire as they felt the effects of a heavy ground and no bench to provide relief. Giddy and Harry B moved back onto the ball and Giddy did everything he possibly could to keep us in the game, while poor Harry started to struggle with his health finally getting the better of him.
Stefan battled hard in the ruck and Niko and Charlton also battled hard down back – Charlton playing sore for the second half. James and Max ran hard on the wings and Oscar rebounded out of defence. Matty C went back up forward to try and provide an avenue to goal and Jake F went to full forward to try and clunk one deep.
It was a really tough quarter and South Melbourne caught us on the rebound a number of times, streaming down the field and resulted in them kicking two goals to none for the quarter.
We were chasing the game going into the last and our boys were really starting to suffer from the effects of the cold and a very heavy ground. To their absolute credit, they stuck at the task in really trying circumstances. We lost Harry B at three quarter time, so were down one player but our boys never threw in the towel.
We had to throw the board around in the last quarter to cover for sore and injured players. Jake S went onto the ball and capped off possibly his best game of the year. Matty G came back into the ruck and willed himself through the last quarter, also playing his best game of the year. Max, Jake F, Matty C and Bailey S all put their hands up to go back into defence and try and sure us up and all gave everything they had in the last.
Will and Bailey M moved into unfamiliar positions on the wing in search of some run and both ran hard all quarter. Robbie moved up forward, received a well deserved free kick in the hot spot – with a chance to keep us in the game, he did exactly what we would ask – went back to take his kick, composing and steadying himself only for the umpire to unbelievably call play on and then pay a free kick the other way for holding the ball! Not sure what happened there, still scratching my head!
We had some terrific efforts in very difficult conditions. Zac and Giddy were outstanding all game – two different styles, but both just as impressive as the other. Special call out to Harry B who was unwell but gave it his all.
Congratulations on the effort from all the boys today – we need to keep our chins up and start working towards next week. A few things to work on but plenty of positives to take out of a loss.
See you all Thursday. Don’t forget to touch your football 100 times each day!
Damo, Chris and Rod
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