ROVERS REAP THE REWARDS OF PLAYING THE BALL
It could have been finals time. A perfect ground, perfect weather and a team raring to show that they are the form side of the comp.
The Bentleigh boys were focused before the game and were confident that they could knock us off. Their gun forward who had kicked 60 goals in the last 9 games had been on fire and both Rich and Britts were primed to have a crack at him and spoil his day! That was probably the key. Our midfielders stopped easy kicks to their opponents – their gun was forced to lead wide and far and as a result his shots on goal were, while frequent, wide of the mark. Great team work and courage by both guys on the last line of defence meant the gun had his quietest day of the year.
Thats not to say that we had it easy. Our midfield rotations of Woltz and Pat weren?t working. We were having trouble getting it out of the centre with the precision our forwards had been used to and when Tom Youl and Russ Howe went off after suffering Bentleighs version of spear tackles our midfield was looking decidedly sloppy. With Jacko forced back to look after another of Bentleighs mobile forwards the coaching staff brought in the changes. Jess into the ruck, Marlz to
As we started to get our teamwork going in the second quarter you could see the wheels fall off the Bentleigh machine. It was refreshing to see the opposition rather than us, spit the dummy and the worse they behaved, the more the umps became involved in the game. They had players sent off, multiple 25m penalties and a host of free kicks which led to us kicking 5 for the quarter and a handy half time lead.
In the third they came at us again and increased the pressure. We couldn?t win a ball out of the centre and it was being driven forward by Bentleigh relentlessly. Our backs held firm and while Bentleigh were a few points ahead at the break, we felt that they had given it their best shot (with the wind) and not stitched the game up.
With the coach fired up at the final break he directed the players to rely on the years game plan. Hard, fast, direct footy using our considerable skills to run over the physically stronger opposition.
The start of the last signaled a great team goal within 20 seconds and you could feel it. We were on song and in the next 15 minutes kicked another 4 to have the game sealed a long way from the end. With Baxter chipping in for 3 goals, a return to the goal kickers list by Ned Fallon while still suffering from his quad problem, Robbie J owning his wing and Matt Innes, with plenty of run left in the legs the Bentleigh boys were no match.
A great game and a precursor to the pressure we will be under come finals time. No easy kicks, plenty of aggression at the ball and the player and a never give in attitude by the opposition. The next few weeks will be interesting. With all the top sides playing each other in the last couple of rounds there might be some changes on the ladder. At the moment we?re two games clear in the top two with games against Peninsula (7th) and Mentone (4th) to finish the season off. We want the double chance!
HR 3.0 8.1 9.2 15.4 94
BENT 2.5 4.5 9.9 11.10 76
BEST Atkins, Britton, Johnston, Baxter, Clarke, Innes, Lovig
GOALS Baxter 3, Fallon 3, Innes 2, Johnston 2, Howe 1, Stevens 1, Goss 1,
Jewel 1, Youl 1.
Peninsula at Peninsula Grammar for a 10am start.