Sunday the 3rd of June set up a huge fixture for the u17 Sandy-Rovers as we hosted Bentleigh on our home turf. After a promising second half last week playing Cheltenham/Highett, the boys were focused on getting a successful result on the board today, against arguably our biggest competition in Division 2 and having gone down to them in the opening game this season by 5 goals.
With some handy inclusions back into the side strengthening our attack and defence, the ball was held aloft and game was underway. The first quarter was an interesting and challenging task for the Sandy-Rovers boys as we grabbed an early lead, before Bentleigh’s pressure around the ball eventually flipped the margin in their favour by 5 points at the first siren.
The second quarter continued in a similar fashion to the first, as both teams attack on the ball was equally matched, this showed as the score line only widened by 1 more point in Bentleigh’s favour to extend their lead to an even goal at half time.
With some encouraging words from the coaches, the Sandy-Rovers boys came out firing at the start of the third quarter kicking the first goal in a matter of seconds, however we were outdone as Bentleigh clawed back control of game again by increasing their lead to 14 points at 3 quarter time, due largely to their cleaner ball use and switching kicks across play.
As the Final term got underway, a shift in momentum came about as our lads, with the wind at their backs increased their pressure on the weakening Bentleigh defence. The margin eventually being cut to 7 points and the ball again inside our forward 50 saw a quickly snapped goal from Per Bellarts spark the possibility of a miracle comeback. Despite the building momentum, those hopes were dashed as the final siren sounded, ending the game with just a 1-point deficit.
As much as the result is disappointing for the lads, a lot can be taken from this game. It shows that to win games of football, a full, 4-quarter effort needs to be displayed in each and every game. I have no doubt that if that were to happen; the Sandy-Rovers would have taken victory in this close contest.
Notable performances included a ‘best on ground’ for Tom McKinley whose rebounding play from half back was incredible, Ben Marron who was able to grab himself 3 goals and led by example in the midfield all day. Aussie Parker who provided lovely ball skills and bursting speed throughout the game. Lastly, Beau Harrison whose endeavour at the footy all game, including 2nd and 3rd efforts is exactly what Sandy-Rovers footy is all about. Well done fellas!
The Sandy-Rovers will have another chance to face Bentleigh, before a hopeful finals berth in round 15 where I’m sure the result will favour us if a 4-quarter effort is shown. Until then, we face the Caulfield Bears in an away game at 2:30pm. Caulfield drew their game with Bentleigh so just as we have improved this season, it seems they have also and we will need to be ready for them.
See you at training!