U19’s: Rovers Galant In Defeat

?I?m more pleased with the way you played, than I am disappointed with the loss’, sums-up the game for U/19s perfectly. To kick 17 goals and loose by 41 points, Rovers were basically beaten by a quality team, with a considerable home ground advantage. On an oval surrounded by rooftops and powerlines, a hump at its centre and the far side boundary line fading down to a freeway, you could say the ground provided a distinct advantage to those who would play and train on it regularly.


Rovers started with a few new additions to the team. Gleeson was full forward, and Nicholls was back (after suffering a severe injury last season) in his favoured full-back position. This allowed O?Brien to play as a bullocking centre-half forward to feed players running directly at goal. Tommy Mitchell played a significant role early in the match, as did Hille and Rovers were looking lively with quick early goals. It wouldn?t be unreasonable to suggest, however, that the turning point in the game happened half-way through the first quarter. Both Smith and Nicholls were, it seemed simultaneously, immobilised with back injuries. It was from this point on that Salesian began to assert their authority, but to their credit Rovers never gave up.


In the second quarter, Suleyman was moved to play a loose man across the back-line, providing reliable hands and taking marks at vital times to stall Salesians’ attacks. Rory White was dominant up forward for Rovers, ending the day with eight goals from the half forward flank and disposing of three opponents – a gallant effort in a losing side. Apart from a ten minute burst when Rovers pilled on four unanswered goals, Salesian dominated out of the centre breaks and at the stoppages, winning the tap in the ruck and moving the ball quickly into their forward fifty. Rovers, by comparison, seemed to have to work harder to create goals, which they did, and continued to do all match. Kenny was lost to injury, which was disappointing considering he had a season best first half.


Sharpe and Suleyman stood-up in the third quarter, with Semmell kicking a goal which was the direct result of Suleyman’s contested mark down field. There were plenty of highlights for Rovers, in a game that seemed to ebb and flow, with Rovers kicking successive goals before Salesian would kick their share. Hille, Zampaglione, McDonald and Semmell were all solid running through the lines, although there was a lack of defensive pressure in the middle.


Salesian adopted a flood in the last half of the final quarter, to counter Rovers relentless forward thrusts, yet they failed to stop Ross, Kettle, Semmell and White kicking their share of five goals. Sharpe was also injured in the last, continuing the high attrition rate.


There were no excuses for the loss – Rovers fought out the match till the very end, with great skill and determination. The coach was positive after the game – he owns the quote at the beginning of the report.


Goal kickers: White (8), Glesson (4), Ross (2), Semmell (2), Kettle.

Best: White, Semmell, McDonald, Suleyman, Sharpe, Hille, Hendry, O?Brien. 


Scores: Salesian Scorpions  def.    Hampton Rovers

            5. 5. (35)                       3. 5. (22)

            12. 8. (80)                      9. 5. (59)

            16. 9. (105)                    12. 5. (77)

            23. 14. (152)                   17. 9. (111)

By Natalie O’Brien

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