Juniors

Keen teens guide young Rovers to flag

They’re only teenagers, but Ed Turner and Jesse Lovig are already premiership coaches.

The emerging Hampton Rovers senior players took on the Rovers’ Under 13 West team this year and after a shaky start finished with a grand final win over East Brighton at Centenary Park, East Bentleigh.

‘‘We were near the bottom early in the year and we had a few injuries but then the boys really started playing well,’’ Turner said.

‘‘They won eight or nine in a row after that. They’re a great bunch of kids.’’

The Rovers turned a record of 2-5 into 7-5 by the end of the homeand-away matches, then won all three of their finals.

The premiership was theirs after they defeated minor premier East Brighton in the decider.

When Turner was asked to coach the team at the start of the year he asked his pal Lovig to give him a hand.

Both came through the juniors. Turner, who has been with the club since 1999, has played 155 junior and 23 senior games. Lovig, a Rover since 2000, has played 105 junior and 36 senior games.

Both figured in the Rovers’ Under 19 premiership last year, joining the senior team in 2010.

Turner said the coaching was fun and they would return next year when the team steps up a division.

The Rovers’ Under 15 division one team also filched a flag after coming from behind to topple the strong East Brighton side.

Coach Ron Verma said his team kicked six goals in the last four minutes to clinch a win as memorable as it was surprising.

In the second semi-final, East Brighton, undefeated all season, had clouted the Rovers by 69 points.

‘‘That sort of thing just doesn’t happen in junior footy,’’ Verma said of his side’s flashing finish.

‘‘So many people have told me it was a great game of footy.’’

A string of players from both sides are considered Sandringham Dragons prospects.

The Under 13 premiership team: Jack Punshon, Robert Scacco, Connor Riley, Jack

Nichols, Corey Jones, Mitchell Myers, Carter Neville, Nicholas Pavlou, Aaron Wood, Ronan Finegan, Declan Robinson, Lloyd Cosgriff, Matthew Stevenson, Daniel Johnson, Declan McGann, Dylan Casey, Luke Shimmin, Lachlan McPherson, Christopher Naoumidis, Hamish Bignell, Guy McPherson, Harris Costa, Mitchel Foss.

The Under 15 team: Peter Chantzos, Luke Verma (c), Angus Brayshaw, Nathan Smith, James Bainbridge, Matthew Hooy (c), Matthew Waugh, Andrew Knox, Jack Zaina, Henry Higgins, Mitchell Sturgess, Jack Rutter, Campbell Jones, Jake McLoughlin, Thomas Wynne, Christian Salem, James Massey, Christopher Willoughby, Shane Thomas, Jake Buggy, Dillon Brittain, Andrew Maglio, Calum Macleod, Jack Brandwood

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