A cold Melbourne morning greeted us all at the Boss James Reserve on Mother’s Day. All the kids were excited to play on the big ground, which had been divided into two for the day. The kids gathered in the player rooms and got ready for the game, with Coach Sam handing out wrist bands, allocating positions and reminding the players what it’s all about with lots of F-words like Fun, Fair and Fast!
A player down, the Rovers took the field determined to make up for their lack of players with their grit and determination. Things started well with Ernie getting the first tap out of ruck.
The Rovers defence was great, with some good clearing balls kicked by Carter and Tommy. An early injury to Fraser saw our volunteers’ skills put to the test and he was off and running in no time!
Mid-way through the first quarter Dingley managed to get a goal through our backline, pushing us further into a defensive play, exemplified by one of the best team tackle (rugby scrum style) ever seen at a under 8’s game. The boys rallied hard in a low scoring, scrappy game trying to make space and link-up plays with a great mark from Archie, and some good attack on the footy with our backs getting in front of Dingley’s forwards and clearing the ball.
The end of the quarter gave Coach Sam a chance to remind us to mark up in the mids and to keep an eye on their player 4 who was dominating for them. Coach Sam set the challenge to kick two goals this quarter, things started well with a “Dustin Martin” style don’t argue from Hudson D and some good running and kicking from the Rovers which saw the ball quickly into our forward zone, however a whistle and some stern words from the umpire for an off the ball incident resulted in a ball up instead of a certain goal. The rest of the quarter saw some good tackling and kicking from Tommy and both Hudson D and Hudson V with the Rovers keeping Dingley to 1 point.
The half time break speech was delivered well, with coach Sam ensuring the kids were paying attention by calling the forwards backs and backs forwards, but those freshly “sugared up” Rovers were onto this straight away. Hudson V let the coach know that he didn’t like the other team’s umpire, and no one could really argue with that given he had tried to red card Tommy for not wearing a band.
Dingley’s strong attack continued into the third, with our defenders Hudson D, Carter and Tommy showing fantastic attack on the footy with tackles and getting in front and clearing balls, including a great bomb from Hunter into Owen, a fearless smother by Hannah and a great pick up and strong tackling by Harvey. We managed to keep Dingley to 1 point in another almost scoreless quarter.
Coach Sam commended the defensive work by all around the ground, and reminded the players to spread the ground with some wide play and to watch the footy when we run off the mark away from the opposition. Rovers kept Dingley scoreless in the final quarter with some good perseverance from Hudson V and Harvey and great tackling work from Hunter with almost the whole Dingley team hanging off him and still not bringing him down. Jack showed off his training with a brilliant quick kick to Hunter at the top of the square but we were unable to convert.
Great work by the undermanned Rovers in keeping the scores so low through their strong defensive play.