The boys had the rare opportunity to play on the mighty Boss James oval today as they took on St Pauls McKinnon, a new side to our division. Today’s captains were Jake S and Oscar, well done boys – you both put in performances to be proud of.
We were able to attack right from the start with Charlton, Harry W, Harry B and Giddy all doing a great job at controlling the centre square and winning the ball out.
It took a few deep attacks before we kicked out first goal, through Wes. Jake Fix, Jake S and Giddy were all prominent in the first quarter and were pushing the ball from half forward, deep into our forward 40, hitting up the hot spot.
A short time after, Will popped up for a piece of brilliance – a banana kick from deep in the pocket brought up our second goal. Before we knew it Wes followed up after his first goal with another – this time sharking the ball from a pack and snapping over his shoulder – straight through the middle.
The boys were on fire and Giddy wasn’t going to miss out – he also sharked the ball from a throw in to bring up the first of five goals from him. Giddy was everywhere today – he really thrived in the space and continually bobbed up taking marks, winning the ball and pumping it deep into our forward line.
We had a run of goals and not long before quarter time Zac had run down from the wing and intercept marked a McKinnon defensive clearing kick before steadying and putting it through for our fifth of the quarter. Zac was also to provide great run off the half back line and wing through the game, taking bounces and leaving his opponent in his dust.
St Pauls McKinnon were two players short today – in keeping with the spirit of the game, I’m proud of the boys from our team who volunteered to play a quarter for our opposition – I’m also pleased to say these boys all tried their hardest whilst helping our opponents, and certainly contributed to their effort. In the first quarter James and Hugo were our volunteers.
Given the way the game was heading we started to throw the team around a bit in the second quarter – McKinnon fought hard, their effort was certainly helped by our two Harry’s volunteering for McKinnon and they were arguably McKinnon’s best players in the second term. Well done Harry W and Harry B – fantastic attitudes.
We continued to attack, kicking one goal three to McKinnon’s one goal. Giddy continued his great form and kicked our only goal, whilst Max was making his presence felt at full forward – he was in a number of contests, but his most impressive effort was when he chased his opponent from the top of the square for about twenty metres before laying a tackle, dispossessing his opponent and sending the ball back deep into our forward 40. We weren’t able to capitalise with a goal, but the effort was terrific.
Bailey M is growing in confidence all the time and he managed to get a kick off from inside the hot spot back towards goal – his kick was under immense pressure and McKinnon were able to defend it but his attack on the ball was first class.
Ollie had started the game very strongly and was doing some great stuff playing as rover in the second quarter before he was cleaned up in a contest. He had to come off hurt, briefly, but was able to bravely return to the field and continue from where had left off. Well done Ollie.
Matty G was in the ruck and found himself deep in the forward line, winning the ball before steadying and having a shot at goal, only for it to be partially smothered and go through for a behind. Matty has had a number of close calls at goal this season without success..yet. Stick at it mate, the returns will come.
After half time we continued to mix things up. Ollie and Matty G volunteered to play for McKinnon in the third term – both were very good with Matty even having a shot at goal (resulting in a behind) after taking a mark and having one of his Rovers team mates generously provide him with a 25m penalty! Teamwork is what we are looking for but this may be taking it a bit far!
Giddy continued his dominance of the game in the third term, kicking both of our goals – the first was a steal in the forward pocket and a great kick from a tight angle (the old school footballer in me loved that he didn’t kick a banana or try to snap it!). Giddy’s second goal saw him gain possession after roving the ball off a pack before striding in and putting it straight through the middle.
James was having a really good game, he contested really well in the air and followed up once the ball hit the ground – his game was typical of a traditional centre half forward (well, he does sort of have Dermie type locks!) and he was rewarded in the third term when he took a great mark on the edge of the square at full forward. Unfortunately, he was one step out of the square resulting in the umpire putting him on a really tight angle. James went back and narrowly missed with a really nice kick at goal.
Niko was in the ruck in the third quarter, with Jake F on the ball – both working well together. Tobey had been tight all day in defence and started to get the ball and provide some of the run we are seeing from him more and more. Max played on the ball and continues to impress with his skill and finesse.
The final quarter saw a flurry of goals, just like the first quarter as the boys finished the game off strongly. Our backline was almost non-existent as the defenders moved up the ground in search of the ball. Thankfully our “flooding” prevented McKinnon getting the ball to their forwards who outnumbered us 4 to 1 at times!
Niko and Matty G were our volunteers to fill in for McKinnon in the last term. Robbie moved up forward in the last quarter and bustled the packs hard – every game we get into Robbie is helping him with his understanding of Aussie Rules, he’s a valuable team member and a stout defender. Keep working hard mate!
Before I get to acknowledging the goals, there were some highlights for me in the final quarter that were more team related. Firstly, Jake S had the ball in the centre square on the run, handballed to a team mate in a better position and instead of watching his mate run off, Jake followed the ball, put his arms out and provided a great protecting shepherd to give his team mate an extra couple of seconds to steady and dispose of the ball – perfect Jake, exactly what we’ve been asking for over the past couple of weeks.
Secondly, after being asked to give their wrong foot a go if caught out, we had three boys give it a go. Ollie did a terrific left foot kick on the run up the wing, Harry B went on his left (as he often does) and although Wes changed to a hand pass he certainly made an effort to steady himself and line up to kick left foot before his opponent caught up to him and forced the handpass. Well done boys, this is a skill we need to continue to develop.
Bailey S just continues to quietly go about his work without much fuss – but to great effect. He is a handball master and continued to do a lot of almost unnoticeable things today. Oscar and Thomas also played very impressive games this afternoon. These two boys are as tough as an old leather boot and can always be found at the bottom the pack or tearing away from their opponents up the field. Well done to all three of you on another great game.
Hugo is another quiet unassuming character, but his efforts are being noticed by the coaching team. Hugo did everything asked of him today and never gave up. He played all over the field and capped it off in the last quarter with a run on the wing where he was an important link player for us.
Matty Cole has started to spend some time up forward in the past couple of weeks and did so again in the second half today. Matty is getting his hands on the ball up there and creating some opportunities for himself without getting the absolute result he’s after – a goal. Once again, stick with it buddy, a goal is just around the corner – keep working hard and it will happen.
Now for the goals! Tobey is another boy new to the game of Aussie Rules and has played in defence all year as he learns about the game. In the last quarter we put him in the middle to play on-ball. He responded really well and didn’t look lost – in fact he ran deep into our forward line, won his own ball, snapped back over his shoulder and put it straight through the middle. Congratulations on your first goal for the Rovers Tobey! The celebration after his goal was a classic – one of the best we’ve seen this year!
Giddy was moved back to defence with his mate Harry W in the last quarter. Both had played great games for three quarters. Although the ball didn’t come down back much, these two managed to find plenty of it in the last (as they snuck up the field!). Giddy rounded out a brilliant game with goal number 5 after taking a really high-quality pack mark.
Wes, not to be outdone got on the end of some play and put a checkside kick through the middle to round out another really high-class game – this was his third of the day. Wes, what happened to that left foot?!
Harry B also finished off another great game by taking the ball out of a pack, having a run and putting it though the middle.
Well done boys, another really convincing win today – I know we can still improve though, let’s keep working hard at training!
See you all Thursday. Don’t forget to touch your football 100 times each day!
Damo, Chris and Rod
Hampton Rovers – Best Mates