East Malvern 2.12.24 def Rovers 2.3.15
Goals Jack G (1), Lucas C (1)
The last time The Rovers played EM, it was a niggly game with lots of negative distractions on and off the field. After that game, the Rovers and EM coaches and administrators agreed that both teams should get together before the game, with the coaches giving both teams encouragement to play the game fairly, respecting their opponents and the umpires, then players gave handshakes all-round. It was a positive way to begin the match.
It seems that every game includes a strong wind to one end, and this game was no different. EM won the toss and elected to kick with the wind. Despite enormous pressure applied by EM, the Rovers backline held strong, with smart kicking out of the backline along the boundary. The ball spend most of the time in EM’s forward arc, but they were unable to convert. Against the run of play, the Rovers linked and ran, kicking the only goal of the quarter. An awesome effort by the Rovers.
In the second quarter, the Rovers had the wind, and used the ball well as they aimed for the hot spot in the forward line. The pressure in the Rovers forward line was excellent, creating many opportunities for Rovers to score. The Rover’s goal for the quarter was a direct result of this pressure, and EM were left scoreless, so the Rovers held a slight lead at the half.
The third quarter was again played in the EM forward half as they kicked with the wind, this time with EM learning a few lessons from their first quarter. They pressed hard into their forward line and entered through the hot spot more often. The Rovers were gallant in defense once more, but the EM talls were able to snag a few key marks directly in front, which put them ahead by a goal and change.
After a rev-up by the coaches at the break, the Rovers attacked the last quarter with everything they had, being first to the ball and pushing hard into the forward line. EM placed an extra man in defense so, despite plenty of Rovers pressure, we were unable to affect the scoreboard. In the opposite direction, the Rovers successfully pressured EM, with the opponents unable to score a goal either.
At the final siren, EM could consider themselves lucky that they got away with the win. The Rovers should feel proud that we pushed the division leaders for 4 quarters in an even contest. The Rovers may not have the size or the stars, but we have a darn good team of young footballers who are willing to play for each other, who respect their opponents and the umpires, and who never give up.
- Mac rucking all game against a taller opponent, never giving up and playing a critical role in the Rover’s defensive structure.
- In the first quarter, against the run of play and into the wind, from Oliver H to James M to to Nick K to Josh D to Lucas C to Marco G and then Jack G for the goal. Awesome stuff!
- Nick K getting leather poisoning once again. He was everywhere.
- Jack G running and presenting in the forward line throughout the game, creating plenty of opportunities. His defensive forward work was a highlight as well.
- Lucas C back in D4 after a run in D1, running to the hotspot and snapping an opportunistic goal.
- Jack C making a goal saving tackle in the EM goal square in the 2nd quarter.
- James M bouncing back after a illegal sling off the ball, getting back on the ground and being instrumental in kicking the Rovers forward.
- Josh D sprinting past his opponents, ball in hand, and driving the Rovers forward.
- Billy M laying an awesome tackle on a player twice his size, resulting in a turn-over for the Rovers.
- Not getting intimidated. Despite EM’s record this season, and with a significantly larger team than the Rovers, the Rovers were not overawed going into the game, and played quality footy against a quality opponent.
- Making the most of our opportunities. With a score of 2.2, it was clear that the Rovers mids and forwards were linking effectively through the corridor into the forward line. The hot spot was especially hot, with lots of good kicking into that area.
- Defensive rebounds. The backs and mids worked well to repel opposition pushes, with clean hands and lots of run. Holding the league leaders to just 2 goals is a fantastic effort.
Room For Improvement’s
- Kicking off the ground. It’s usually a 50/50 play, but on the weekend it seemed to go 20/80 against us. When we picked-up the ball, we were dangerous, when we kicked off the ground, we turned the ball over.
- Maintaining our forward structure. When we were kicking with the wind, our forwards pushed-up a little too high, resulting in not enough players at the contest when we pushed forward.