After a couple of home games it was time to head away this week – out to Mentone to take on St Bedes Mentone Tigers. We’ve had two very close games against them already this year and today was also very competitive. Mitch Graham was captain and lead from the front, playing one of his best games of the year.
Once again, we were off to somewhat of a slow start in the first quarter and St Bedes were doing all the attacking early. Will and Matt C were working overtime against an early avalanche, they were supported by Geordie, Matt G and Bailey S. Robbie was finding his feet and the midfield were trying to help out but we were getting caught out exiting our backline as St Bedes held their mids out to form a wall. They had all the numbers early.
James C was ever reliable in the ruck whist Ollie Mc, Thomas and Bailey M were running hard and trying their best to bring the ball forward. It was a quiet quarter up forward. St Bedes kicked a couple of goals to our none and we were behind by 15 points at quarter time.
Our second quarter has a much more competitive effort. We were much more accountable and locked down on our opponents. Matt G, Max, Ollie M and Thomas were running really hard, Stef gave it his all out on the wing and drove us forward on a number of occasions.
We pushed Jake down back to help out and he really steadied us, showing great leadership. Mitch also went down back and defended really well. These two boys had stand out games today and gave everything they had for four quarters.
Matt C moved up forward and looked dangerous, Jack Mc nearly got us on the board a couple of times. Jack was given a role to play today and he executed it really well, doing exactly what he was asked. Nate was also starting to get his hands on the ball and drive us forward. At half time we had reduced the deficit to 14 points and started to play some good running football.
We took momentum into the third quarter. James C moved back to the ruck and received plenty of help through the middle from Max, Mitch, Thomas, Bailey M, Matt G, Jack Mc, Nate and Ollie Mc. We started to show some real determination to win the contest.
Matt C continued up forward and nearly pulled in some marks and James B was getting into the game and causing some problems for the opposition across our half forward line – kicking a nice goal. Sidney was looking dangerous playing as a deeper forward.
Down back the boys were holding up well. Geordie, Will, James P, Ollie F, Jake and Robbie were all playing their role and defending really strongly, repelling the St Bede’s attacking moves. Our attacking was rewarded when Sidney sharked a ball out of the pack, snapped and goaled to bring us right into the game. St Bedes got one back not long after but we were good enough to find our own reply courtesy of some good attacking play.
James C was dominating the middle and using his strength to great effect. He drove the ball long into our right forward pocket where a scramble for the ball developed. St Bedes had the numbers and looked like they would run the ball out of our attacking area until Ollie Mc showed terrific determination and got past a shepherd and then laid big tackle on an opponent. He was rewarded with a free kick but had a very difficult shot. Ollie showed great self-belief and took great responsibility to set himself and calmly slot through a very skilful goal to keep us right in the game.
With only about 30 seconds to go in the quarter St Bedes were on the attack once again. They won the ball on their half forward line on the far side of the ground. They kicked long to within 15 metres of goal, Robbie found himself under a very difficult high ball with pressure all around him – if he drops the mark, it’s almost a certain goal to St Bedes which would put us behind the eight ball again heading into the final break. So, the pressure is on Robbie, and he delivered in spades, marking clean as a whistle! Robbie sent the ball back along the boundary line and the siren blew.
Not much in it at three quarter time. Max approached me and asked to go back to half back to support the team in a selfless act and he had an outstanding last quarter, constantly cleaning up in almost a sweeper type roll when St Bedes attacked. Mitch was also starring across half back to round out a very good performance. Ollie F moved out to a wing and gave it his all, whilst Bailey S continued some good form down back.
The last quarter see-sawed a little and no one really stayed on top for long. We were able to goal after Jack Mc put on a terrific tackle and was rewarded with a free kick that he put straight the middle. St Bedes were also able to find a way to manufacture a goal though.
We pushed hard, the forward line were desperate to pull back the difference – Niko was doing some great body work and we saw more shepherds around the ground that we have seen for the past couple of weeks.
The boys gave it their all but came up just short in a really even contest. We need to find a way to get off to a quicker start and we will be well positioned to get our next win.
Get to training, we’ll keep working on our game together and come back stronger next week.
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!!