Welcome Back! Ocean Grove 19/3/2011

As I lounged in the sun on Saturday I couldn’t help but think it just seems too early for footy to be starting again.  No doubt some of you will agree wholeheartedly!

Still the smell of the linament,, a new coaching panel, the Canadian invasion, the reappearance of a number of the 2009 U19 Premiership players, the born again former coach as a player and the return of last year’s travellers all adds interest to the forthcoming season.

While the scoreboard results from our journey down to Ocean Grove weren’t flash the interest was in the introduction of many new  “baby Rovers” to the big league!  At one end of the age scale we had Matty Robbins (showing he still has the speed and skill that saw him through a long AFL career), captain Gary Carr and veteran Anton Duddy (both, as usual leading from the front) and at the other end we had 10 players 20 years old  or less: Tom Youl,  Jess Lovig, Richard Atkins, Tristan Thurman, Matt Care (17), Josh Pavlou (17), Alex Whalebone (17), Nick Jewel, Jack Baxter  and of course Ed Turner – as we only had 20 available the question is “Was this the Rovers youngest senior team in history?”

At the quarter time break as Matt Robbins was talking to the young group of backman it was remarked that he singlehandedly increased the average age of his group by 5 years!  Others thought that it would be a good indication of how Gary Carr will deal with fatherhood and teenagers given the number of youngsters he was surrounded by on the forward line!

With so many new players featuring  in a game played against an Ocean Grove team who are the early flag favourites in their comp a number of our youngsters shone.  Boner, no doubt named due to the bone like hair treatment showed that he had the turn of speed and skill to make an impact, Rich Atkins, an U19 from last year showed in the last quarter what a good mark and kick he was, Josh Pavlou, I’m reliably advised, clearly has inherited his Mum’s skills and fortunately not his Dad’s (Club Chairman Paul) and showed desperation and poise in a forward line where we were outmuscled by the opposition.  It was good to see Matt Care, an U17 from last year not overwhelmed by the occasion and perform some classy possessions.   All of the youngsters flashed in and out of the game and it must give coach Barnes great hopes as the season progresses.

It’s a big ask to get over 40 players to make the 2 hour trip to the Bellarine Peninsula, prepare in the open and finish the game without the opportunity to shower and change.  Similarly, it was great to see a large contingent of Rover’s supporters enjoying the seaside holiday atmosphere.  One trivia point is that came to light was that we are not the only team to celebrate our victories with a rousing rendition of “Oh, we do like to be by the seaside” – would you believe that the boys from Ocean Grove share the same team song?

Next Saturday we’re at the Boss hosting  St Paul’s with the U19s kicking off at 10am the Ressies at 12 and the Seniors at 2pm.  Come down and have a look.

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