Tom fulfilled the honour of reading the indigenous Welcome to Country and recognised the great indigenous people who have played football in all leagues and the AFL. The boys all listened intently and showed great respect and understanding of the indigenous culture, reconciliation, and contribution to football.
Our Captains for the day, Freddie and Felix, have been training the house down during the week, working on their skills and focusing on their development as well as playing awesome games on the weekends. They won the toss for the team and chose to kick with the breeze on the spacious ground at Centenary Park against St Peters.
The Melbourne cold and flu season had really kicked in this week with a number of the boys unavailable for the clash against St Peters. Fortunately, there is great depth in the team and the opportunity for those that were fit and well for more game time and opportunities on the field. A couple of the boys who were not quite healthy to play, still arrived the cheer on the boys, showing how much they love their team, their mates and the game.
The opening quarter saw Freddie and Tom link up nicely to rebound the ball into the Rovers forward line. Cooper was tackling hard and putting in multiple efforts to drive closer to goals. His excellent work saw Charlie H further enhance his reputation for hard ball gets and create an opportunity for himself for a difficult shot at goal, which he just missed. Will, Marlon and Freddie were heavily involved in keeping the ball in our forward line and rebounding it back in when the St Peters boys presented some good defence.
Into the second, it was clear the ball was going to spend a lot of time down at the end with the wind. St Peters moved the ball well into their forward line and created a number of scoring opportunities. Our defence were up to the task and we able to close down a number of the opportunities. Liam H was tenacious to provide a great smother on the goal line to save a goal. He was ably assisted by George, Cooper and Toby who all played tight 1-on-1s with their opponents and kept the scoring to a minimum.
It was fun to see our goal umpire clearly having his sights set on an AFL debut with a very choreographed display of signalling and flag waving along with adjudicating some tight decisions. I’m not sure the talent scouts were there to see it, but I’m sure we’ll see him again in future weeks developing a cult following.
In the third, the boys started to find their rhythm and adjusted to the dimensions of the bigger ground. Charlie Q and Marlon picked up a number of possessions and we able to run strongly and kick long to our forward line. Freddie was working well at the fall of the ball and also took some good marks and looked for leading options up forward. Liam M and Liam H were our strong talls around the ground and both did well and have a great sense of positioning on the ground.
In the last, I asked the boys to really pull out their best efforts in the final quarter. We wanted to continuously drive the ball forward at every opportunity in order to break the game open and get some solid flowing footy. The response was fantastic with the endeavour evident from the opening bounce as Freddie got the early clearance. Liam H and Marlon linked up from there and sent the ball strongly direct to the goal square. The fast ball movement worked in our favour against the wind and allowed Toby and Cooper to be free in the forward line. Cooper sidestepped the opposition and kick through for an awesome goal. This created a real buzz in the Rovers camp and you could feel the lift from the boys. Marlon, Lewis, Liam M and Charlie H upped their efforts and found the footy and used it well. Marlon worked super hard in the forward line and was rewarded with a goal in his best game so far.
Freddie led the song at the end with PASSION – it helps to have older brothers to learn the song from – and Felix had FUN learning it – as our Captains inspired the finish to the day. Well done.
Steve Hart – Coach