Another fairly chilly start for the under 8 Rovers, this time facing Dingley at Corrigan Park. After a big week on the track, expectations were high, but with only 14 available on the day no one was getting too carried away. Fortunately, the Dingley team was also restricted to 14, so the match was evenly poised for a great contest.
A number of players were given a job this week under the guidance of coach Sam, with Ernie taking primary ruck responsibilities, Hudson V given free rein across the forward line, Tommy E playing the central sweeper role, with Hannah playing the back stop within the square. From the first bounce the Rovers seemed switched on, with Ernie palming one straight down the throat of Fraser who burst from the centre and launched the Rovers into attack. The first quarter was dominated by the Rovers, and with a lively forward line of Harvey, Archer and Hudson V we were looking very dangerous, but could only manage about 4 points. Finally just before quarter time the Rovers converted with a magical snap over the shoulder from Archer. The crowd went wild.
After a rousing quarter time huddle, Ernie launched himself into the ruck again and continued to feed the mids including Owen and Fraser who were sharing the clearance responsibilities and providing Hudson V multiple scoring opportunities, and now he was starting to convert. Supported by his brother Archer, Hudson kicked truly on two occasions. While it was quieter in the backline, a switched on defensive unit led by Hunter and Hudson D continued to repel everything Dingley could throw at them, and the Rovers went into the rooms at half time with a solid lead.
The third quarter was where we expected to see a response from Dingley, and a possible fade in effort from the Rovers, but juiced up on snakes and another rev up from coach Sam the Rovers actually found another gear. The midfield were now dominating with Fraser racking up several clearances, Tommy E playing a strong defensive kick behind the play role and offering some great runs through the middle, while Jack and Owen were both relentless around the ball. This led to several goals ultimately being kicked by Hudson V and his dangerous partner in crime, Archer. By this stage they had about 6 between them and it could have easily been a dirty dozen.
While it was a game controlled from the middle, largely initiated by the great ruck work of Ernie, and dominated by the power forwards, the efforts of the backs should not be understated. Caspar took a terrific grab in defense, and as usual Hannah was laying tackles left right and centre. The Dingley lads put up a honourable effort, but they had really met their match today. Hunter, Tommy B and Hudson D all did themselves proud with determined efforts to the end. A late minute switch of Hunter to the midfield showed he knows how to find the ball with a couple of great runs after linking up with Fraser from defense, resulting in another goal from long range by Hudson V. Just when celebrations were starting to subside, Archer took a clever mark in the pocket before playing on and snapping another goal around the corner. By this stage we had all lost count of how many goals the Van Der Venne boys had shared between them, but it must have been close to a bag of 10.
All in attendance were in great admiration of the kids development over recent months, and coach Sam should be proud of what he has achieved so far. The team hit the rooms for a crack at the song, which let’s just say is a work in progress, followed by a hot snag from the BBQ prepared by Rachael, Melissa, Shannon and Abbie. Just when it couldn’t get any better, in rolls the Mr Whippy van and coach Sam and runner Dan shout the kids an ice-cream to close out a great day for the Rovers!
Carn the mighty under 8 Rovers!!