It’s great to be back playing footy after a week off and in a special treat for the boys today we got the opportunity to play on the wide expanses of Boss James. A lot of running required, which suits our game. Jake Fix and James Cutler have both had fine starts to the season and were both rewarded with captaincy of the team today.
We got off to a good start in the first quarter and did most of the attacking. In a game on such a big ground there is big advantage in winning the ball out of the middle and getting it into your forward 50 – it’s a long way back to the other end!
Our midfielders did that early with James C dominating the ruck, Sidney, Ollie M and Max working well out of the square and driving us forward. Thomas and Nate were providing a lot of run and support out on the wings – the midfield employed a wall to help lock the ball in. So, we were away and putting lots of pressure on the St Bedes defence.
Niko almost clunked a big mark early 15 meters out which would have had us off to a flyer, but we persevered, and Bailey S, Stefan and Ollie F were doing their best to apply forward pressure and lock the ball in. Jake F was a great target down forward and Jack Mc looked particularly dangerous with his silky skills.
We managed to kick two opening term goals thanks to all this hard work. Firstly, Sidney fought hard to get a loose ball, turned, snapped and received the all clear from the umpire. The second goal came from Jack Mc after we moved the ball straight back into the forward line from the centre bounce after Sidney’s goal. We had great momentum but probably didn’t fully capitalise on it.
Jack W and James B were great additions to the forward line from the rotations. Jack W driving the ball deep from the half forward line on a number of occasions. The back line didn’t have a lot to do but did it well. Matty G showing how important it is to play in front, beating his man to a dangerous hazard ball and clearing it in quick time from a dangerous position. Matty C, Mitch and James P were terrific across half back, whilst Geordie, Robbie and Jack H held tight on their man giving nothing away.
We held a 2-goal lead at quarter time, but St Bedes were undefeated coming into the game and were always going to challenge. We saw this in the second term when they grabbed the momentum and held the ball in their forward half for a lot of the quarter. We conceded three goals with St Bedes finding the space we were trying to deny them. Will was a stand out down back with his run and attack on the ball. He was supported by Matty C, Bailey M and James P who were all working particularly hard.
The boys were definitely trying their best. Ollie F was busting a gut on the wing, Matty G continued our domination in the ruck, whilst Peter, Sidney and Ollie Mc did their best out of the middle.
James B and James C were good options up forward and we did have our chances, but just couldn’t capitalise on the last possession before hitting the scoreboard. Half time came and it was game on with Rovers trailing by 4 points.
The third was a slug fest with both sides defending hard and not able to score. We improved our accountability, but it still wasn’t at the level required and St Bedes really tested us. Will continued his outstanding form as a deep back, Ollie F contested everything that came near him, whilst Geordie and Jake were leaders down back. Matty G rotated into the backline and took some telling marks – one notable pack mark above his head which is an area we are really working on at the moment. Robbie also stood up with some repeat efforts as he worked the ball off half back against two opponents and delivered a handpass out to a teammate in a better position.
Once again, the midfielders were running hard and covering lots of distance. Peter was hard to catch and did his best to push us forward, Sidney gave his all, as did Max and Jack Mc who was having another great game. Mitch moved up onto the wing with Nate and both did their best to bridge our back line exits and turn them into forward line entries.
Bailey S showed some great touch up forward and did his best to set up his teammates. James P was looking dangerous up forward and Stefan was running right up the ground from centre half forward, presenting himself and getting into the play.
Neither team capitalised on their opportunities and we had a hard-fought goalless quarter. There was less than a kick in it at the final break, although we were the team trailing. The message at three quarter time was to continue the run and effort which had been terrific, tighten up the accountability when we didn’t have the ball and carry the ball before disposing of it when we did have possession.
After some shenanigans from one of the boys during the third quarter the team went out not quite as selected (i.e. someone moved the magnets around on us!) but we stuck with our line-up which we initially didn’t realise was a 7-man forward line and a 5-man backline! This was corrected quickly, and we were able to push forward from the start of the quarter.
Once the ball was in the forward line the boys were really determined to fight to keep it there. We had a great piece of link play that resulted in our first goal starting with Jack Mc passing to Max, who passed to Ollie, who moved the ball to Peter who sent the ball to the top of the goal square. Matty G, who had great hands today, grabbed the ball and turned his player around and snapped a much-needed goal to put us in front.
A bit like the first quarter, we were able to move the ball straight back into the forward line from the bounce and Jack Mc capitalised with our fourth goal to put us a goal clear but without much breathing room.
We had to slug it out for the rest of the quarter. The backline were challenged and stood up, lifting their accountability and standing tall. Jake is the general back there and was a terrific leader when we needed him. Ollie F had an outstanding game and worked his backside off in the last quarter to repel the Tigers. Geordie and James B were also very good in the last quarter as we defended stoutly.
James C ran the game out in the ruck and was well supported by his midfield group of Sidney, Max, Jack Mc, Peter and Thomas.
We had a nervous last couple of minutes, but the boys stood up really well and should be very proud of themselves today pulling off a hard-fought win.
It was great to knock off the top side and hopefully give our boys plenty of belief in themselves and confidence they are capable of beating anyone in our division.
Let’s keep working hard at training, 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!!