A dominant first half set up a convincing 75-point victory for Hampton Rovers over Kew in the opening round of the 2017 VAFA Premier C season away at Victoria Park Kew.
Five goals from Nick Pavlou and three each from Christian Carnovale and Nathan Smith ensured the Rovers put a good score on the board with better accuracy than the recent practice games.
From the outset, the Rovers were in control, with Cam Hetherington kicking truly in the opening minute. A further five goals had Hampton up by 29 points at the first break and it was more of the same in the second with six goals to one and the Rovers taking a 10 goal lead into the main break.
Adam McNeil was everywhere, Leigh Fletcher had plenty of it down back while Roland De Biase was hard at it as always. New recruit Charlie Thorpe added some much needed bulk to the line-up and he won his fair share of tap-outs. Oscar Roberts also stood out and had a great game.
It was Christian Carnovale’s first game as captain and he never took a backward step, as the Rovers faithful have come accustomed to.
It was more of the same in the third term as the Rovers continued to pepper the goals. Four to one in the third as the weather started to come in. The scoring slowed in the last but a further three goals to two resulted in a 75-point victory as Hampton got their season off to the perfect possible start.
There is now a week off for the Easter long weekend, then the Rovers host Old Mentonians on Saturday 22nd April in the first home game of the year at Boss James Reserve.
HAMPTON ROVERS 6.3 12.10 16.12 17.14 (116)
KEW 1.4 2.7 3.10 5.11 (41)
Goal Kickers: N. Pavlou 5, C. Carnovale 3, N. Smith 3, A. Folino 2, J. Zaina, C. Hetherington, A. McNeil, B. Kneebush
Best Players: A. McNeil, L. Fletcher, R. De Biase, N. Pavlou, O. Roberts, C. Thorpe
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The Reserves, under new coach Anton Duddy, had a slow start against the wind as the home side jumped to a 29-point lead at the first break. From there, the Rovers had a sensational two quarters, kicking eight goals to two, taking a four point lead into the final break, and having the wind in the last. However nothing went right and it was Kew who put on four goals to one to run out 18-point winners.
Great to see some of the more mature players lead the charge. Michael Flahive back in the green and gold was great first up, Rory Lynch was on top down back, Shem Curry seemed to have a roving commission down back, Ash Fisher as per usual was in the goals as was Josh Pavlou who used his strength to great effect on a number of occasions. Rick Jones seemed to be mopping up everywhere and giving his forwards chances. My best was Darcy Merlo, who was hard at the ball all day and showed how clever he can be with the ball. Dave Broadstock was strong in the ruck and Luke Morcom, Mr Reliable, was composed across half back.
The Hampton Rovers have two Under 19 teams in 2017 and it was the “reserves” that got the action underway on Saturday – a 9:20am game away v Aquinas. In Sam Care’s first game as coach, it was the Rovers who claimed the win, getting up by 26 points. Ashton Hoar, Connor Cochrane and Zach Raghdo were best for Hampton while Cochrane was the only multiple goal kicker with two majors.
John Cesario’s U19s hosted Old Ivanhoe at Boss James Reserve and the Rovers had a disappointing outing, going down by 46 points. Max Coughlin and Tom Sharry kicked the Rovers goals while Blake Bergman, Scott Ebbott and Cam Cullis were amongst the best players.
The Senior Women’s side played in the historic first ever game of VAFA Women’s footy on Friday night and in front of a big crowd, were defeated by Ormond by 23 points. Full report coming soon.