We continue to get a great run with the weather and the boys also had great momentum to bring into this week’s game.
Tobey and Harry W were our co-captains and lead the boys out. Unfortunately, James was unwell and pulled out late (get well mate!), so we were one down.
The first quarter was a continuation of last week’s fourth quarter. The boys dominated the play and our poor backline led by our two captains for the day barely saw the ball – although Harry W certainly managed to find it further up the ground. Matty C, Max, Jake and Robbie showed very good discipline and stuck to their men just in case.
Bailey Stewart had a quarter to remember. He continued to show great vision out of the pack with a number of creative handballs and capped his first quarter performance off with our first and third goals – the second was from a great intercept mark. Niko was working hard to provide an option at full forward and was incredibly unlucky not to have a free kick paid his way in the goal square – which would have resulted in a certain goal.
Thomas was also in great form getting plenty of the ball off the wing. Thomas kicked a wonderful goal – after an intercept mark on our half forward line, he played on, took a bounce and slotted it straight through the middle.
A number of our boys were having very strong starts to the match – Oscar, playing in the middle was getting plenty of the ball and providing great drive, but was also doing a lot of the “one percent” work, no better demonstrated than with an enormous tackle he put on a much bigger opponent on the boundary line (coaches box wing). Jake S was a real livewire, providing a great avenue to goal – he had a number of shots, but just couldn’t split the big sticks.
In what turned out to be Stefan’s best game of the year to date, he dominated in the ruck putting the ball down the throat of Gideon and Harry B who also were off to a cracking start. Stefan later continued this form and was responsible for a number of penetrating kicks deep into our forward line.
Another first quarter highlight saw Zac intercept the ball on the wing, send it back into our forward line where Charlton took an amazing “fingertipper” pack mark that really made him stretch! Unfortunately, he didn’t get full reward for his effort – his shot on goal was forced through for a behind.
We didn’t have it all our own way however, with Waverley Hawks winning the second quarter. Our accountability dropped away in high scoring quarter. We were still attacking really well but just seemed to lose our opponent when it went the other way.
Will kept us in it early with our first goal for the quarter but every time we scored, Waverley answered with a goal themselves. Gideon hunted the ball in only a way Gideon can, pulling the ball out of a pack on our half forward line, baulking an opponent or two before steadying and putting it through for a major. Hugo was also doing some really good work up forward in the first half, presenting himself and getting his hands on the ball.
The boys are really starting to look for each other and every week we are seeing more and more selfless sharing of the ball and link play, which is really making their coaches proud. Stefan, Wes and Harry W all linked up through the middle of the ground in a great attacking thrust. Not long after Wes handballed the ball to Harry W and ran as hard as he could to support and protect Harry as he steamed through the middle of the ground – exactly what we have been asking of the boys!
Ollie had moved to the forward line and got on the end of a mesmerising piece of play by Will who turned a couple of players inside out before taking a checkside snap at goal from the pocket. His shot went across goal and was marked by Ollie near the far point post. Ollie went back and did a great checkside kick himself that went through the middle – I doubt he would have been able to see daylight through the posts from where he took his kick!
Matty G continued Stefan’s great work in the ruck in the second quarter, winning most tap outs or nullifying the opposition ruckman. We just couldn’t win the ball out of the middle, however, and Waverley continued to attack and kick goals. Bailey M ran really hard off the wing in the first half doing his bit in our attacking moves forward.
Thankfully Gideon kicked our final goal of the quarter and extended our lead to 17 points at half time. A high scoring quarter with 9 goals kicked between the two teams.
The third quarter continued to be an arm wrestle with Waverley competing fiercely. Zac had been having possibly his best game of the year and he continued in the third quarter, putting plenty of pressure on and being a great intercept and rebound player. Tobey is providing more and more run for us off half back – he’d been terrific at this in the first half, combined with some close checking of his man, continued in the third quarter after coming off the bench.
Charlton moved into the ruck and showed some tap work beyond his years, winning most ruck contests – Harry B was at his feet. Harry’s work around the ground tackling much bigger opponents and sharing the ball with his team mates through some really impressive handball shows just how hard a worker he is.
Jake Fix moved up the ground and into attack. He earned himself a free kick out near the 40-metre mark and went back and put a long bomb straight through the middle to score our only goal of the quarter. Congratulations Jake on your first goal in a couple of seasons! Many more to come!
Waverley had really challenged us in the second and third quarter and had set themselves for an upset. Our boys were having nothing of it though and they powered home in the last quarter. Waverley could not get the ball past Zac at half back. He intercepted and led his player to the ball almost every time Waverley moved the ball forward. Max was steadfast and accountable – just as his coach had asked.
Our forward line in the last quarter continued to be congested, making it difficult for the forwards, however, the boys pushed very hard and put enormous pressure on Waverley’s defence all quarter. We had eight scoring shots to none in the last quarter, but only managed to kick two goals.
The first went to Harry B who earned a tough free kick at the top of the goal square and went back and slotted in through. Harry followed this up later with a huge tackle on Waverley’s best player to stop him in his tracks.
Matty C was a valuable addition to the forward line during the last quarter, bustling his way and getting the ball out to team mates in better positions. The final goal of the game went to Wes, who is turning into Mr Reliable with his consistent effort all around the ground and his ability to pop up and kick goals. His goal is proving to be his trade mark goal, with a strong mark in the hot spot before going back and coolly slotting it through.
Well done boys, terrific effort today! A few things for us to continue to work on at training though!
See you all at training. Don’t forget to touch your football 100 times each day!
Damo, Chris and Rod
Hampton Rovers – Best Mates