The power of the V
After a strong showing against Ormond the previous week, could the Rovers go back-to-back against St Paul’s McKinnon? Cruz and Archie were missing, giving Fraser and Zac the opportunity of callups from U8s. Also joining the team was super recruit Jeffrey.
Kicking with the wind McKinnon immediately entered their forward 50 and put the pressure on the back six of Ashton, Jackson Nelson, Charlie Elliott, Eddie, Caelan and Jackson Block. A rushed behind put McKinnon into the lead. Rovers struggled to clear the ball, but eventually worked the ball into their own forward 50 via the silky skills of Seb, Kai and Ethan. A set shot by Will after a strong mark got Rovers on the scoreboard, but it was a goal by debutant Jeffrey on the stroke of quarter time had tongues wagging on the sideline.
The message at quarter time was simple – run and work the V.
As was the case in the first quarter, McKinnon won the tap and entered their forward 50 at the start of the second term, this time scoring a goal to level the scores. The quarter was highlighted by tackling particularly by the mids – Kit, Cooper, Kai, Josh, Seb and Fraser – and evidence the V wasn’t just a training ground concept.
A half-time shuffle saw Julian stack the mid-field with speed – Eddie, Dylan and Charlie Smyth, but again the quarter started with a quick McKinnon goal. As the quarter progressed, the V increased its presence. Slick handballs by Seb, Jackson Nelson and Kai. Pressure by Boston and Zac. Magic feet by Eddie and Ashton. Roving by Josh and Charlie Smyth. Marks by Will and Caelan. Centre clearances by Jeffrey. Run by Ethan, Kit, (Steve) and Kai. And it was Kai that found Caelan on the lead inside 50. Caelan went back, pulled up his socks and kicked straight from 32 metres.
With the wind at their backs, Rovers ran riot in the fourth quarter. Time and time again, the ball moved slickly from the backs through the mids into the forwards. It was a V showcase. Goals to Caelan, Kai and Jackson Block to finish off the game.