Grand Final heartache for Rovers

Hampton Rovers suffered a 38-point loss in the VAFA C Section Grand Final on Saturday at Trevor Barker Oval, but are headed to B grade in 2009 along with premier Ormond.

The Rovers have failed to win a premiership despite catapulting through two grades in as many seasons after languishing in D1 Section in 2007.

Coach Gary Sheldon remained positive after the defeat, and doesn’t think many changes are necessary to be competitive next season.

“We’ll recruit a couple of onballers, probably one more backline player. But not a lot (is needed to compete in B grade),” he said.

Ormond has posted three consecutive wins over Hampton Rovers, providing a clear psychological advantage ahead of next season.

Jay Ting battled hard in the midfield, providing plenty of run but lacked support.

Luke Dallas finished with two majors to be his side’s only multiple goal scorer.

Mark Devereaux’s precise ball use was impressive, but the gap between the Rovers’ best and worst was too far.

Hampton Rovers, kicking with the aid of a three-goal wind in the first term, led by just six points at the first change.

Ormond dominated the second term, and the ball appeared deadlocked inside its forward half of the ground the entire quarter.

The Monders kicked 4.7 to 0.1, opening up a four-goal halftime buffer.

Ormond full-forward Matthew Robbins kicked three goals in the first-half and three in the second, while rookie Tim Allan stunned the crowd of 3000 with his intensity and flair. The pair provided the highlight on the halftime siren.

Allan smothered twice before centring the ball to Robbins, who marked in front to boot his third.

Ormond captain Simon Keleher was unstoppable across half-back, continually denying forwards Matt Lawrence, Nick Lyall and Rob Alexander space.

Keleher claimed the Ritterman Medal for best-afield, capping off a stellar season for the veteran.

Opposing skipper Lawrence was held goalless by Ormond’s Bradley Cromack, while Stuart Burggraaff, brilliant in defence a fortnight ago, was outclassed by Robbins. Burggraaff held Robbins to two goals in the semi-final, but the ex-AFL player’s class and finishing prowess was stunning.

Hampton Rovers staged a mini fight-back in the third term, and Matt Terech began to make his physical presence felt.

Terech provided a focal point and kicked the final goal of the quarter to cut the margin to 11 points at the last change.

Kicking into the wind at the Hampton end in the final quarter, the Rovers simply couldn’t conjure enough forward entries to post a winning score.

Hampton Rovers playmaker Ryan Semmel was dealt a cruel blow, forced to the bench with a shoulder injury after only eight minutes of action.

Sheldon remained optimistic after the match, adamant the club had taken a big step forward for the season.

“We had a successful year. We had one hiccup, the grand final loss, but we’ve had a pretty good season. We’re a young up and coming side,” Sheldon said.

Both district sides join A grade relegations Old Trinity and Uni Blacks as the new B Section sides for 2009.

The last district team to win a B Section flag was Parkside, now with the WRFL, in 1988.

HAMPTON ROVERS AFC   3.1  3.2  7.9  9.10 (64)
ORMOND AFC                2.1  6.8  9.8  15.12 (102)
Goals: L. Dallas 2, M. Devereaux, M. Terech, J. Zampaglione, N. Lyall, J. Giasoumi, T. Curry, R. Alexander.
Best: J. Ting, M. Devereaux, J. Zampaglione, G. Carr, S. Gravina, L. Dallas.

By Sam Landsberger

+ Click Here for photos from the game.
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