On Friday we were confident, we had one of our best teams in for the year, our form had been good but once again finals footy shows itself to be a whole new game. The best laid plans can unravel often in the most unexpected ways. Illness and injury had again by Sunday played havoc with team dynamics. Notwithstanding this, we have to acknowledge that on the day we were beaten by a better team. Good luck to DLS in their finals aspirations.
That being said finals footy brings out the best and it was great to see Jordan Goss and Max Robertson-Long play some of their best footy for the year. Jess Lovig playing a loan hand in the ruck battled all day against the DLS tall timber. Jack Baxter who?d been in the wars in the last month played a solid game and I understand that he is still thanking Cliffo for the hospital pass that saw him cleaned up yet again!
With Max Greenway changing between the wing and full back, Jack Eastman and Jace McCoy given a variety of jobs in the back half they were well supported by Kelvin Rudd, Brenton Stevens, Sammy Adams, Ryan Morcom and Joel Steendam.
DLS rose to the challenge of how to counter the sensational month that Nathan Davidson has had and double teamed him for most of the day. Our plight wasn?t helped by the ankle injury suffered by Matt Innes in the first quarter which reduced our flexibility up forward and made the DLS backs job easier. With opportunities to Boof being restricted Josh Schmitz chipped in for 3 goals and Brad Trembath, playing another solid game, potted another two. It was good to see Tom Youl, up from the U17s and drafted on Saturday night due to injuries come in and without training for 3 weeks play a creative game from the half forward flank. A great sign for next year.
Jess Donald, Zeke Lewis and Chris Rigney battled hard all day rotating off the bench. Zeke was heard to say after the match that we had seen the last of the ?Pope? boots.
Our midfielders were in and under all day and led by our captain Jackson Ward, back from the seniors, did everything they could to turn the tide, but on some days, and this was one, the ball just didn?t bounce our way. In any event the endeavour shown by Jacko, Russ Howe, Hayden Lewis was outstanding.
One of the good signs of the day was the level of support that the Rovers have. The number of family, friends, supporters and the large contingent of senior players from the Club was fantastic and we hope that it continues as the seniors start their finals campaign next Saturday.
All who have followed the U19s this year will agree that the disorganized, dispirited and undisciplined group that took the field in round 1 bears no resemblance to the team that took to the ground in the second half of the season. It is a credit to the coaching team of Quonny, Matt and Dovey and the players themselves as to how they have worked to improve themselves over the course of the season.
We farewell those players who leave the U19 ranks this year and wish them all the best in playing senior footy with the Rovers next year. For that nucleus of U19s who are continuing take on Quonnys advice and put in a solid pre season to prepare yourself for the year. You are all ambassadors and recruiters for the Club so remember that when you have the opportunity, push the Rovers cause and get your mates down to make 2009 another successful year.
HAMPTON ROVERS 3.1 3.5 5.10 8.12 (60)
DE LA SALLE 4.2 8.6 13.9 17.15 (117)
Best: Goss, Lovig, Robertson?Long, Baxter, Greenway, H.Lewis, Eastman.
Goals: Schmitz 3, Trembath 2, Davidson, Z.Lewis, Youl.