Hampton Rovers 5.3.33 defeated St Paul’s McKinnon 0.1.1
The boys headed in to today full of confidence after a couple of good wins and some noticeable improvement. The game was set to be a tough battle with 2 (St Pauls) Vs 3 (Rovers) on the ladder. School holidays had an impact with both sides missing a number of players.
Captains for the day were Geordie and Matt C. It was Stef’s 50th game (more about that later) – congratulations Stef! We also had two boys step up from the under 11’s to help us out. A massive thankyou to Lachie Nolan and Campbell Holtham who both did more than simply fill in – they we both significant contributors to the team effort put in today.
We kicked away from the pavilion end in the first term. The quarter was very tight with both sides defending well and giving nothing away. Will continued his outstanding form in recent weeks, taking several marks on the full back line to deny St Pauls any scoring opportunity. His rebounding via his ability to run and use his thumping right foot are a real asset to the team. We can see Will improving literally every week and he has become one of the most important structural pieces in the team.
Lachie took no time to impact the game, intercept marking and also rebounding off the half back line. Bailey Mitchell took a decent knock to the head at training during the week but showed no signs of it today – from the back pocket he threw his body on the line and racked up possessions in the first quarter in what went on to be one of his best games for the club. Matty G was supporting Will and Bailey from the other back pocket. His run and chase down of an opponent who had a 5-10 metre start to deny a certain goal was inspiring for his teammates – it is pleasing we are seeing this refusal to give up attitude more and more in the boys.
Skipper Geordie was also up to his usual reliable capers across half back and co-captain, Matty Cole held the backline together from centre half back in a very good first quarter from both boys. The backline should be incredibly proud of themselves today. In the first quarter they prevented St Pauls from scoring.
In the middle we also had some outstanding contributions. James C dominated the ruck and it is pleasing to see how often his taps are now finding a teammate. Thomas, Peter and Jack Mc all had outstanding games today. In different ways all three dominated the game. Peter is an absolute running machine and was tireless today – the opposition simply could not catch him. To add to his running ability, he showed us another side to his game – his tackling game, which was super impressive to watch.
Thomas continued to rack up bounces and carried the ball just as far as he kicked it almost every time he got the ball – and he go a lot of it. Jack Mc also was a silky ball magnet and I lost count early of just how many times he touched the ball. These three boys ran on the ball all day with very little rest and were the main drive behind our win.
Nate and Ollie were terrific on the wings. It was great to see so many of the Under 12 boys from Wayne’s side come along and support us today. At one point I heard one of the them telling Ollie how well he was playing and how it was the best game he had seen Ollie play. This is fantastic feedback, but what is even better news is that Ollie did play well today, but it wasn’t the best game Ollie has ever played – his last couple of weeks have been even better. I note this because it is great feedback on just how much our boys are developing and improving.
The forward line worked well when the ball got down there – Niko looked likely to score, Jake was taking grabs, Jack W and Bailey S were great support and Stefan and James B roamed across half forward looking to connect from the midfield.
The only goal for the quarter came when Thomas took a rebounding mark in the centre, passed the ball to Jake who passed the ball wide to Peter. Peter had to run onto the ball and was able to straighten as he ran towards goal and slot it straight through the middle just before the break.
The second quarter was much like the first – very competitive. Jake looked dangerous up forward. Jack W was in the play, Bailey M continued to put his body on the line. Lachie continued his fine start, whilst Campbell came off half back and had a long rebounding run on the outer wing to set up a forward thrust, Nate ran hard and tackled harder. Stef was in the ruck and the midfield running brigade of Peter, Thomas and Jack Mc continued to dominate.
Similar to the first quarter, only one goal was kicked. Our defence continued to be miserly, Matt C in particular was hard to get past and laid plenty of tackles and clearing kicks. In one of the plays of the day, James C tapped a ball perfectly out of the ruck, straight down Thomas’ throat. Thomas was able to run on and clear the pack before slotting our only goal for the quarter and second for the game.
There wasn’t a lot in it at the main break, although we felt like we had the momentum. The third quarter saw us start to control the game as the St Pauls boys started to tire. Lachie moved onto the wing and continued to shine. Will also moved up the ground onto the wing and put some big tackles on. Bailey S showed some silk down back – the game seems to move in slow motion when Bailey has the ball. He had one of the coaches comparing him to Greg “Diesel” Williams (look him up boys, he was an out and out champion) which I have to agree with – great hands, great vision.
Matthew G moved into the ruck to support our running dynamos, Geordie and Matt C moved up forward, both proving a handful for the St Pauls boys. Our first goal came with another really nice piece of link up play. Lachie passed the ball to perfection, just clearing the finger tips of the St Pauls boys before being marked by Nate at half forward. Nate kicked in bound and put the ball in front of James B who collected the ball, snapped and goaled – this was James at his most dangerous, wheeling onto his right foot.
Our second goal was also via another piece of link up play. Thomas passed the ball to Jack Mc, who passed the ball to Geordie, who was able to collect it and snap truly for his first goal for the year.
We headed into the last term with a handy lead and lots of confidence. The boys played the game out in great spirits. Jack W finished off a good game up forward. James C moved back to the ruck and fed our onballers with quality ball.
Bailey M rounded out a fantastic game by setting up our last goal. Bailey won the ball in a contested situation, just inside the centre square, banged the ball long to the hot spot. It looked like it would be a contested pack ball until Matty G came from the back of the pack, lept above everyone else and took a strong overhead pack mark. These two boys are improving by the week and show just what a bit of confidence and hard work can do.
This was his second contested pack mark taken by Matty in two quarters in this game. We identified a month ago this was a real weakness in our game and have been working on it. It is really pleasing to see a number of the boys now showing some strength in the air.
There is no doubt the St Pauls boys fell away in the second half – many of them had already played a game before ours, but regardless, our boys took another step today. Things are heading in the right direction, the teamwork is getting stronger every week, our confidence and belief is growing, and we are doing more discipline acts more often.
A special mention for Stefan’s 50th today. Stef is a terrific boy and very talented. Unfortunately, we couldn’t locate the banner before the game, however, we did find it before the end – so we broke the mould and sent Stef through the banner, supported by a guard of honour, on his way back to the rooms to sing the song. The boys put him in the middle of the circle as a big sign of respect. Well done Stef!
Enjoy the break everyone. Thanks for the efforts and support of the coaches, team management and parents in the first half of the year. All your hard work is showing on the field.
Boys, be proud of how you have gone about your first half of the season – you have encapsulated the Rovers values of passion, teamwork, fun and respect. We are on our way with lots of challenges and hard work ahead. I’m excited and looking forward to tackling the rest of the season with you.
Let’s keep enjoying our footy and the company of our mates.
Hampton Rovers – Best Mates!
BTW – Boys make sure you touch your football 100 times each day!! Particularly over the break. Grab you mate, your dad, your sister, brother or mother – take them to the park and kick the footy!