Whilst the club is disappointed in finishing 2nd last and being relegated to D1, the positives for next year?s coach was the development of many of our Under 19 players. With numerous injuries, several U19s were given the opportunity to play Senior football. A record 11 U19 players played at least 1 Senior game and a further 20 played Reserves football.
Regular Senior players Nick Pinto, Greg Cannell and Chris Lambert were joined this season by debutants Joel Steendam, Tom Mitchell, Jackson Ward, Lachie Batt, Kyle Pinto and Nick Lyall along with Sandringham Dragons U/18 players Nick Henry and Daniel Sargeant.
With an extremely young list with most of these players already committed to next season, the clubs on field success looks ready to turn around sooner rather than later.
On the youth of the club, the Under 19s this week finished their season off in fine style, saluting at home by 69 points over Parkdale Vultures. Captain Lee Smith played his best game of the year after deciding to become a Ruckman. His athleticism and desire to win the hard ball set the win up and was well supported by the run of Matt Law, Kyle Pinto and Josh Schmitz. Nathan Morecroft and Rory White were the major goalkickers.
Only 6 of Saturdays side are too old for U19s football next year, so the U19s list looks very strong already. The older guys playing their last Under age game of football all played well including strong ruck rover Moss Judson, Robbie Lang and Jarred Schafer.
Early wins cost the Under 19s a spot in the final 4 in 2006, but a strong second half saw the boys finish with 9 wins and a respectable 5th position on the ladder.
With a strong pre-season, with an emphasis on building upper body strength and along with improved fitness, more Under 19 players are sure to experience Senior football at the Hampton Rovers next year.