It was always going to be tough for the Rovers against a leading team, Ormond. Without 4 regulars, even tougher. But as they say in footy – no excuses!
Although Rovers lost by 111 points, to watch the match, it certainly didn?t appear to be that one-sided. The massive win to Ormond was set-up in the first quarter, where they kicked ten goals to one. Put bluntly, the first quarter for Rovers was appalling, with some troubling signs in the first 10 minutes.
Ormond were running in packs, had numbers at the ball at every contest, and most importantly, were winning the ball out of the middle. In contrast, Rovers players were second to the ball, or worse, were waiting for it to come to them. Rovers also made crucial skill errors, especially with the kick-out which almost always went to a contest. Most of the play was in Ormonds forward fifty, placing enormous pressure on a Rovers back-line that was forever chasing down opponents.
To their credit Rovers lifted the intensity in the second quarter and again in the third, where they actually outscored Ormond two goals to one. The third quarter was a stand-out for Rovers who were able to apply physical pressure preventing Ormond, who had kicked fifteen goals in the first half, from scoring more than one goal. In the third quarter Rovers manned-up and locked the ball in around the stoppages, not giving-up possession so easily, as they had done in the first quarter. Hille was fierce at the ball at times, showing a preparedness to put his body on the line.
The physicality of Sharpe and the hard running of Zampaglione to create space lifted Rovers in the second half. Westhead and Smith, players who always give one hundred percent, showed real character to keep persisting, running, taking knocks and getting kicks. Suleyman, the captain, was a valuable contributor finding space and taking contested marks around the ground. Schaeffer was also good for Rovers down back in the last quarter.
As seems to happen in games like this, the attrition rate was high. Apart from the four key players already out, to exacerbate the problem, Rovers lost Mitchell, Bice and Corbett throughout the match.
There seems to be a recurring theme of resilience and a ?never say die? attitude in this team. As was commented after the game, the loss was disappointing, but the way Rovers ran out the match and continued to make a contest was a demonstration of enormous character. What Rovers lacked in highlights was made-up in attitude.
Goal kickers: White (2), Rootsey (2), Corbett, Kettle.
Best: Zampaglione, Suleyman, Hille, Sharpe, Smith, Westhead.
Scores: Ormond def.
10. 7. (67) 1. 2. (8)
15. 11. (101) 2. 2. (14)
16. 16. (112) 4. 6. (30)
23. 18. (156) 6. 9. (45)
By Natalie O’Brien