Hampton Rovers 9.10.64 defeated East Malvern 1.5.11
Sunday was a special day for 8 of our boys. We celebrated several game tally milestones. Max Rafaniello and Joe Weber captained our team, with this game marking them both with 60 games. Also part of the celebrations were Tom Westerbeek (58), Luke Ryan (57), Ollie Sutherland (57), Jacob Cassidy (54), Jay Todd (54) and Freddie Kellett (50). Ant Harrack was due to play his 61st game, but will have to wait a few weeks to come back from injury.
Apart from this game being a big occasion for these Rovers devotees, it was also going to be a blockbuster due to our team (currently holding top spot in our division) playing the number two side in East Malvern.
We knew this team would be hungry. And they came at us hard in the first quarter, to show us they meant business. The East Malvern pressure was intense. They had it over us until quarter time.
My quarter time message was straight forward. We had to turn the game upside down. We had to turn on the switch and not only return the pressure, but raise the tempo. We have been talking a lot about ‘our brand’ of football. The level of effort and pressure required to be competitive. A level that we expect as Rovers. It’s about how hard we are at the ball. About how much we want it. About hunger. About fight. About second and third efforts. About never giving up. About digging that little bit deeper. About teamwork. And about each and every boy playing their role.
The way the boys responded was exceptional. They answered the call and raised the pressure and intensity even beyond our expectations. And with each quarter they built upon the one before it. A strong finish reinforcing our current position on the ladder, and one that we have worked so hard to earn. There were too many boys to mention this week, and not enough awards. Every player did their bit. However one act that we felt summed up spirit in our side perfectly, was in the dying seconds, an almost unreachable opposition kick was smothered in a desperate Harry Tuffley smother. We never stop til the siren blows.
While there is a long season ahead, we are very happy with the foundation we have started. Our belief is strong and we have clearly defined finals aspirations. Chris and I are so proud of our boys.
Awards: Our little hard nut Tom Westerbeek took the Guts & Determination Award, Jacob Cassidy won the Achievement Award for his outstanding efforts, and Joe Weber (the General) was Player of the Day after a brilliant 4 quarter effort.
Goals: Luke Ryan 1, Tom Westerbeek 1, Fletcher Hall 1, Matt Gleeson 2, Mitch Tuffley 2, Mitch Nolan 2
Injured: Taj Hotton, Ant Harrack
A special mention goes out to Sam Joho, who is will most likely miss the rest of the season due to illness. We all miss you mate, and wish you a speedy recovery. There will always be a place in our side for you champ.