We were away to St Peters today and had a beautiful autumn day with perfect football conditions. Matthew Cole and Charlton were given the Captain’s responsibility and once again both showed great leadership through the game.
We kicked to the right of screen in the first quarter, but it was St Peters who scored the first goal of the quarter – an unbelievable bounce, a leg break of the magnitude famously bowled by Shane Warne to Mike Gatting all those years ago! Unlucky start to the quarter.
St Peters started well and we spent a lot of time chasing the ball early in the first quarter. Wes was standing out in defence and Jake Fix was controlling the kickouts in the manner we had been practicing at training (huddle and break). Niko was battling hard at full forward, often finding himself competing against two or three opponents.
Our midfield started to get into the game led by the two Harry’s, Gideon and Charlton. Harry W continued to lift and got us on the board with a great long goal from out near the boundary. Another stand-out piece of play saw Stefan chase down his opponent from out of our forward line after chasing him for a good 30 metres. This was inspiring stuff and had the crowd on their feet.
Late in the quarter we dropped our intensity and St Peters had several shots at goal, resulting in us conceding a goal. One goal down at quarter time.
In the second quarter we struggled to move the ball quickly and gain much momentum. The ball was bouncing between the half forward lines quite a bit with both midfields slugging it out. Thomas had started the game really well, finding space, tackling and getting his hands on the ball. Unfortunately, he went down injured in the second quarter and had to come off. Charlton was also hurt but able to continue.
The boys were trying their best – Will and Jake S were at their elusive best – it seems the opposition can’t get a hand on these two! Will in particular was providing great drive from half forward and Oscar was controlling his wing. Max Bogue was back from injury today for his first game and was showing plenty of grit in defence, backed by Robbie and Tobey who were playing their men tightly.
We conceded one goal in the second quarter without scoring one ourselves and went into half time 15 points down. At half time the boys were asked to continue their pressure and run. We had shown glimpses of good football without being able to maintain it.
The third quarter was a battle. We worked hard through the middle of the ground with Gideon continuing to get a lot of his own ball and drive us forward. Zac was battling hard, tackling and doing some good inside work in the packs. Oscar had been standing out on the wing before going down with and injury and coming off, and Ollie was providing plenty of run on the other wing.
In another stand out example of getting a reward for chasing a player down, Matthew Cole chased a group of three St Peters players for 20 metres, turned the ball over and prevented an almost certain goal.
We had a little purple patch mid quarter where Wes took a great mark in the hot spot in traffic and converted and Matty G sent the ball back into the hot spot after the restart where Bailey Mitchell almost took a great overhead mark. Matty G continued the attack a couple of minutes later, winning the ball, running around a player before taking a shot on goal, unfortunately missing. Post this point St Peters got a bit of a run on, created lots of space in their forward line and kicked a number of goals.
The challenge was in front of us at three quarter time. We were under the pump, down by 34 points. The boys were asked to be accountable in the backline, run and pressure and not all suck to the ball in the last.
They didn’t drop their heads but responded. In an amazing last quarter our boys completely dominated and ran St Peters off their feet. From the first bounce, Charlton stamped his dominance in the middle, charged in and knocked the ball to our advantage. Harry W, Gideon and Harry B took control at ground level, well supported by Wes and Will on the wings.
Bailey S and Hugo were contributing up forward, whilst Ollie and Thomas played up the ground from half back and repelled anything that came close to our defensive 40. Oscar and Thomas both showed enormous grit returning to the field after being hurt and providing important contributions.
We kept pumping the ball into our forward line to give the forwards plenty of opportunities. James took a terrific mark 25 metres out and calmly went back and put it straight through the middle. Congratulations James on your first (of hopefully many) goals for the Rovers!
The boys clicked into top gear and it was terrific to see what they can achieve when they get their running and teamwork going to find avenues to goal. In a mini avalanche, Harry B received the ball and kicked a great snap goal, Gideon marked at centre half forward, went back and found the middle, and finally Jake Seddon marked in the goal square spun around and goaled !
We were finishing all over the opposition but in the end time got us and although we finished with all the momentum, we were unfortunately still 10 points down.
The boys should hold their heads high – they never gave up and kept a positive attitude all day. Our teamwork is improving all the time and we now know the level we can play at.
See you all at training. Don’t forget to touch your football 100 times each day!
Damo, Chris and Rod
Hampton Rovers – Best Mates !