Elite Coach Kabel Davis’s biggest challenge looks set to be keeping a lid on expectations, after an electrifying first up effort produced a scoreboard that more closely resembled the MCG after the first session of a Boxing Day test than a footy result.
It was an inside 50 bonanza from start to finish as multiple Rovers scored goals and several scored braces or hat tricks.
First up was Olive Tuppen who, in contrast to father and Runner for the day Nick Tuppen, looks to have returned from the off season in peak fitness.
New recruit Joely Hewlett was involved in the lead up and a subsequent string of possessions soon led to her first point of the day that she would go on to add a series of goals to throughout the match.
Captain Juliet Moss also registered an early ‘sausage roll’ and not to be outdone by big sister Olive, Matilda Tuppen showed she’s right at home in this team with a rocket handball straight out of the Kevin Sheedy text book.
The Hampton defensive line was almost caught by surprise when the Hawks finally got the ball inside 50 but some determined scrambling kept the score to a solitary behind.
Meanwhile Georgia Brady got a great kick away in the lead up to a Juliet Moss behind and then late in the quarter Charlotte Christie registered multiple disposals, one of which produced a another behind before Bianca Stewart scored a goal of her own.
In a 2nd quarter that was every bit as intense as Coach Davis had demanded, Nadia Stockwell made frequent early contributions including being the beneficiary of a skilful Amber Marinis tap that put her in the clear to score a goal
In the middle of the ground Sienna Georganakis tidied up twice as play broke down, either side of which Joely Hewlett scored more goals, the 2nd off the back of an inch perfect handpass from Matilda Brown.
As the bench rotated into action it was Lola Davis’s turn to cash in with another sharp major and then repeat Madeline Antonis possessions culminated in her kicking accurately to Nadia Stockwell who added to her earlier goal.
The only thing that could stop Lily Jones, who had so many touches throughout the quarter she was in danger of getting leather poisoning, was umpire and father Nathan Jones, who savoured the opportunity to call her for a 2nd bounce.
At the main break the coaching staff encouraged the players to do as much talking on the field as they were doing off it and as play resumed Lily Jones scored a quick goal that signalled the Rovers weren’t at risk of easing off in the 2nd half.
This was further supported by Charlotte Christie putting on a mark for Olivia Karamitos and Sienna Georganakis shrugging off several would-be tacklers.
Zara Rayner and Zoe Hewlett also linked up with the latter scoring a well-deserved goal.
This was matched by Madeline Antonis and right on the hooter Lily Jones snuck through a 2nd goal for the period.
After another on point speech from Kabel Davis, scoring for the final term was opened with a popular goal to Olivia Karamitos.
Then in a excellent passage of team play, a turnover forcing tackle from Matilda Brown preceded a laser like kick from Olive Tuppen to Juliet Moss who went on to make it a brace of goals for the quarter.
There was still time for a strong defensive mark from Zoe Hewlett before the final siren signalled the end of a dominant Hampton display that will no doubt have caught the attention of the grading officials.
After an unusually long delay to access the change rooms the girls produced a loud rendition of the club song though there is some work to be done before the next game to make it as accurate as their on-field performance.
That said it was great to see so many smiles in the change rooms – hopefully they continue for the rest of the season.
Deserving winners of the awards for the day were Bianca Stewart, Zara Rayner, Juliet Moss and Joely Hewlett.[Writers caveat: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of this report but I’m getting old, my eyes are failing and everything seems to happen so quickly nowadays so I apologise in advance for any errors, embellishments or glaring omissions].