Season 2009 was a great season for the Hampton Rovers U16s. We had a slow, difficult start to the season, but a brave, magnificent end to the season!
With the influx of a number of Mt Waverley district teams into the division, the competition was significantly more difficult than season 2008. After 13 rounds, we were 4 wins and 9 losses, had not beaten a team above us and were looking at missing the finals. In the final 2 rounds we defeated the top side and the third side both wonderful, heartstopping victories and snuck into the finals.
At this point of the season the team was really playing great team football and a thrilling 8 point win in the First Semi-final, followed by a brave, gutsy, heart stopping 2 point loss in the Preliminary Final was a fantastic effort. Considering where we were on the ladder after 13 rounds, to miss the grand final by less than a kick was a great credit to this group of young men.
I cannot speak highly enough of the efforts and endeavour of the team. I was enormously proud of the efforts of every single young man over the course of the season. We had a great group of young men, who had enormous heart and spirit, were never beaten and who never, ever stopped trying. The improvement in the team over the course of the season was a pleasure to watch.
Once we realized that we did not have the skills and pace to match some of the other teams, the willingness with which the team adjusted to a defensive, physically demanding, lock down style of play was a credit to them and resulted in great success for the team.
I hope that the boys realize that, as a team, they are capable of playing a very good brand of football and they should really look forward to 2010.
On behalf of Tony and myself, I would like to congratulate the boys on their season to finish third was a great achievement.
From my own perspective, this group of young men has been a pleasure to coach, and get to know, over the past 2 years.
During the course of the season, we were well served by our:
Backs: Declan McCarthy, David McCarthy, Harry Gale, Ryan Griffiths, Dylan Phillips, Kieran Enright & Jake Pavlou.
Centre-line: Stele Pappas, Daniel Warden, Jordan Pascoe & Ed Carmine
Forwards: Christian Henry, Tim Jones, Shaun OReilly, Finn McAsey, Dean Shea, Mario Pappoto & Tim Mehrten.
Onballers: Matt Care, Harrison Bade, Pat Hosking, Tom Jones, Marshall Pascoe, Liam Bourke, Seamus Murphy and Josh Pavlou.
A special mention must also go to the team Captain, Christian Henry, and Vice Captain, Matt Care, who provided great on field leadership.
We were also very fortunate to have Tony Gale as Assistant Coach and Steve OReilly and Tracey Dooley as joint Team Managers and I would like to sincerely thank them for their efforts and wonderful, constant support.
Finally, a final congratulation to the boys on their season, and the manner in which they conducted themselves, and to thank the boys and their parents for their support during the year.