The wind it blows cold on the oval, so green
The frost it does glisten, and has a soft sheen
So bright and so lovely, when exposed to the sun
And eventually the grass and the frost become one
The hours tick by – it is Sunday you know
A morning for sleeping, but some just don’t know
The Rovers’ Maroons have jumped out of bed
And jumped on their parents – sometimes on their head
“It’s match day!” they cry as they run and they shout
As they make their big breakfast – a mess all about
The bags they do grab – all green and all yellow
Their mood it is light! And certainly not mellow
Their parents they struggle, and blink their tired eyes
And most blame the wine for their lacklustre guise
Grab socks and the jumper – the shorts will be dark
A home game it is – it’s so great – what a lark!
The coaches are focused, their thoughts on the game
With whiteboards and wristbands – the opposition to tame
Since 4 in the morning – they are up and around
Shifting the magnets – their grand plans abound
So into the car we tumble and drive
To the castle in Hampton – the field’s now alive
The dew has replaced the frost and its sheen
A watery heaven for the yellow and green
The children and parents they make their way there
And rug themselves up in the cold morning air
The team are excited and practice to kick
They are playing St. Peter’s – who won’t miss a trick
Castlefield is abuzz – they say it will rock
The crowds they are coming – to the ground they do flock
All yelling and shouting “the Maroons! They are here!”
“Go kids” they all cry – this game has no peer
To learn the great game that they call AFL
A badge of honour to wear – you can tell
From a global perspective this game’s so unique
Kids playing footy – week upon week
And the mateship, the lessons – the kids they do learn
Are all there for life – like a big knowledge urn
Football – it serves its actors so well
It’s hard not to love it – it’s not a hard sell
“So onto the game!” you say – I concur
The frost and the dew – they are now just a blur
And the kids they do gather in rooms oh so small
It’s lucky both coaches they aren’t very tall
Signing and mouthguards are important you see
You can’t play the game if you don’t listen to Fi
Dimma and Sheeds are there once again
Sheeds is all stressed – he has lost his black pen!
But calmness and focus they return to Sheeds’ head
The super coach he is – he’s a master, it’s said
The speeches and urging – he has conquered the art
When he walks into a room the crowds they do part
The team is fired up! They want a big win
Against ol’ St. Peters – it won’t be a sin
So the frost and the dew – no longer they shimmer
The sparkle and crackle are decidedly dimmer…..
“Dimma, Dimma!! What are you doing!!! Focus, man! This is the game!!!
“Sorry Sheeds….just daydreaming there…..”
Sheeds and Dimma had finally worked out their timings, so the warm up was done, wristbands allocated and the team revved up by the Master Coach. The rooms, small as they are, were certainly abuzz, and if it wasn’t for the strong foundations holding them in place, I reckon the rooms would have run down the race as well (though they wouldn’t probably have got through the gate onto the ground, but I do digress here, apologies…..but I must say it is a great visual…..)
Well today it was Tim and Dan as Captains of the mighty Rovers Maroons. Fist pumps from the both of them! A great moment when the kids are named Captain. They proudly led the team out, and it seemed on the surface that the kids were ready to rock and roll…. St. Peter’s kicked to the Lakes Entrance end of the ground with a strong, stiff and quite chilling breeze, and the Maroons were kicking to the Warrnambool end. And boy, St. Peter’s were here to play! They blitzed the Maroons in the first few minutes, pumping the ball long with the wind and putting on 3 goals before Dimma even had a chance to shake himself out of his reverie. But, like the great team that they are, the Maroons dug deep. You can never question effort and trying your best (see Essendon vs Geelong here, though it pains me to say it) – and one of the most endearing attributes of this team is that they never, ever give up, no matter what the score, and I dips my lid to that – and they do the Hampton Rovers FC proud every week.
Angus was tackling hard in defence and Niko and Alex were holding the fort excellently down back. Tim and Dan were trying to set a good example by tackling hard and going in for the ball. Bertie was doing a great job manning up his opposition, as was Will. Caitrin and Charlie were doing all they could to inspire their teammates. Probably a highlight for the quarter was a fantastic half volley pick up on the run and handball out from Sam – great potential there! Alex continued his good form, leading hard and taking a couple of strong marks.
The second quarter was much of the same, with St. Peter’s dominating through the middle. However, Harry was doing a great job clearing out from the middle when he could, and Dan and Jacob (welcome Jacob!) were rucking well, tapping to their teammates. Teddy’s ruck tap to Harry was something to behold, given his size – you can’t beat a great effort – well done Teddy. Jason was a smooth mover through the centre, working in tandem with Harry and Lucas. Seb was doing a great job finding space, and showed some good skill in gathering the ball, and pumping it into the forward line! Lucas was playing his best game for the year, and not only manning up, but going in hard and always seemed to be at the bottom of the packs! Well done Lucas! Highlight of this quarter was certainly the Harry gather, bounce, handball to Seb, bounce and then a kick into Tim who forced the ball forward and ending up with Tom, who is really improving with each week that goes past. Absolutely fantastic team play!
Half time saw oranges, buckets, water and chatting. No, this wasn’t a party. This was an organised, well-drilled outfit who, as a collective, are now starting to understand how football works. Sheeds and Dimma were rapt, particularly given that the concept of time (only 6 mins for half time) has not quite landed in the heads of the team – but they certainly are understanding the process!! Great stuff, Maroons!
The author of this piece noticed something sneaky in the background. Wendy Smith was seen giving Angus 300 red snakes, which were willingly accepted and eaten (well that sounds like a good story anyway!). Boy – what was it that galvanised Angus into action?!! He was in everything. Tackling, driving the ball out of the centre – by far and away his best game for the club. Great stuff Angus. Tom continued to play well, and Harry was being Harry – bowling along, getting the ball and brushing past anybody who got in his way! Lucas has worked out that being at the bottom of the pack and feeding the ball out is a real strength and he kept doing it – the coaches were very proud of him.
The 4th quarter was easily Teddy’s best for the year. He has really come along in leaps and bounds and his focus on the ball was excellent and paired with some great handballs, he will really keep improving. Great stuff Teddy! St. Peter’s barely got their hands on the ball in this quarter, which was a credit to the team as a whole. The defence, led by Ben, who is a coach’s dream in relation to teamwork, effort and application, was strong and repelled attacks when they came their way. Bertie was doing a great job back there, as was Caitrin. Jack really was lifting in the middle, with his trademark slick, team-first handballs and driving kicks again coming to the fore. Jason was a livewire up forward and Seb, Harry, Tom and Tim were continuing their great games. Dan started to present himself up forward also, working and leading to space. Tim and Dan were trying to lead from the front! The highlight of the quarter, for all the Maroon’s efforts, came seconds before the final siren, when Dan pounced onto a loose ball up forward, ran hard, and then drilled a great goal, his first in football and for the team on the day! Well done Dan. Celebrations abounded! Special mention also to Jacob, who really did a great job in his first game of football – well done Jacob!!
An astute spectator observed after the game that the team should play 6 quarters every week – as they were really just starting to get into it when the siren sounded!! A win is not far away for the kids – perseverance is the key. The team sang the song after the game, just to keep in practice!
Thanks to all the help on the day – it simply doesn’t happen without the volunteers. And so a big shout out to Fi & Maria (great again!), Emma (trainer), Marcel (trainer last week, forgot to mention!!!), Wendy (snakes and oranges), Luke (runner), Paul (umpire), Sash (goal umpire), Tony (timekeeping) and Damien and Josh (Umpire’s escort)…
…. And the wind still blows cold on the oval, so green
Destroying the frost and the dew and the sheen
The Maroons they have left, they have gone on their way
Their time it will come, when next they do play!