Rovers took on the second top team Salesian Scorpions this week in the knowledge it wasn?t going to be an easy game. Last time these two teams met Rovers lost by 41 points. Scorpions are a class side and that was demonstrated in the first quarter. Although Rovers work rate was good early, Salesian were able to kick 5 goals to Rovers 2 behinds. Rovers were breaking down across the forward line, compounded by poor delivery, resulting in easy turn-overs. Going into the second quarter 34 points ahead, Salesian could be forgiven for thinking they were in for an easy win. But it wasn?t to be.
Rovers put up a courageous fight back in the second quarter, winning the quarter 5 goals to 3. Kobayashi played a stellar offensive game and dominated the mid-field possessions. Suleyman, true to form, was vital to Rovers defensive re-bounds, taking much needed contested marks. O?Brien also lifted in the second after a quite first quarter, and Vice Captain Kettle was inspirational in his attack on the ball, and it was a blow when he was injured. But again, Rovers delivery into the forward line was suspect.
Rovers maintained their high work rate in the third quarter and were notably better around the stoppages and in tight were the hard possessions are won. Salesian were kept goalless, and Rovers scored one through a Ross snap across the body. It was a tough hard contest – fierce tackles and powerful crashes – a demonstration of just how even the contest was. It was great to see every Rovers player having an impact on the game, but it was the back-line that deserves most credit, with Suleyman, Schaffer, Lang, Deluca, Sharpe and Skewes ensuring that Rovers stayed in touch. The mid field of Kobayashi, Zampaglione and Smith ran hard as did, Hille and McDonald.
The last quarter was desperation football! When O?Brien kicked a goal charging out of the middle it was 9 points the difference and the game was open to either side. Salesian got one back, then Ross got his second great crumbing goal for the day. While there is no doubting Rovers ability to win the game, in the end, it was those 5 first quarter goals to nil that made all the difference. A special note must be made of Suleyman who, according to one statistician, took around 26 marks, most of them contested – a great captains game.
Goals: Ross (3), Gleeson (2), Rootsey, Kobayashi, O?Brien.
Best: Suleyman, , Kobayashi, McDonald, Skewes, Zampaglione, Lang, Hendry, Ross, Deluca.
Scores: Salesian Scorpions def. Hampton Rovers
5. 6. (36) 0. 2. (2)
8. 8. (56) 5. 3. (33)
8. 11. (59) 6. 7. (43)
10. 15. (75) 8. 10. (58)