Seniors

Rovers overrun Pirates

Hampton Rovers produced a sensational final term to record a four goal away win over Peninsula Old Boys at Mt Eliza on Saturday.

The Pirates are the only team to defeat Hampton at the Boss since 2012 when a big third quarter secured a 30-point away win in wet conditions. The Rovers were keen to avenge for that loss and have been in good form of late.

The Rovers led for the majority of the game and looked in control it was a lacklustre third term once again and the boys looked shaky. It was late in the third term when the home side had kicked their third in a row and it looked like the floodgates may open. During the week Mick Malthouse had addressed the Rovers players about this exact situation. The Rovers did settle, Josh Schmitz took a trademark courageous mark and Rory Lynch had a couple of critical touches and as the siren sounded, Hampton found themselves trailing by three points.

Going into the game, the Rovers had five changes to the side that defeated ladder-leaders Marcellin last round. Cam Sharp was a welcome addition, back in the green and gold for the first time since 2012 and he kicked the first of the game, while Nathan Smith received a late call-up for an injured Kyle Pinto – the 49th player to play in the seniors this season.

Coach Guy Martyn returned to on-field duties for the first time since round three. A sneaky goal off the ground in the first was followed by a couple of strong marks. In the second, his influence was felt as he had a couple of gathers out wide, eluding his opponent, capped off with pin-point delivery to Cam Sharp for a goal, followed minutes later with a replay with the recipient being the other first gamer Nathan Smith for goal.

It was a dodgy deck on the Peninsula School main oval with mud covering much of the area in front of the pavilion. The first term was an arm wrestle. Following Sharp’s goal in the fifth minute, the home side responded immediately. A couple of goals followed for both sides and the Rovers led by a solidary point at quarter time.

In the second, Hampton had the scoring end and banged on four goals to their one and that goal was soft – a bomb to the goal square that was marked uncontested on the goal line when four of the Rovers’ backs stood and watched, but that was their only obvious mistake for the day.

With Marto playing, Owen took on the coaching duties at the break with Hampton leading by 16 points his instructions to the players were precise. After controlling the game in the first half, Peninsula took charge after the main break. A free to the Pirates when they pushed a Rovers player into the square at the first ball up led to an immediate goal followed by another in a minute. Hampton steadied and for the next 15 minutes it was an arm wrestle from the last line of defence to the centre with the Rovers unable to penetrate their defence and likewise the Pirates not being able to take advantage of the amount of the play they had. The goal they kicked just on the bell put them 3 points up, but it was Hampton kicking to the scoring end in the last.

The Rovers backs held firm with some more spectacular aerial work from Josh Schmitz and Ben Tragear-Haig, who’d worn his opponent like a glove rendering him ineffective, and started to cop the wrath of the Peninsula crowd, particularly after he snagged a goal of his own from the boundary line. Rich Atkins just kept on doing what he does best while Rory Lynch and Jesse Lovig kept their opponents out of the game with Jesse keeping their main goal kicker goalless, and collecting the best on ground award after the game.

Hampton’s forwards came into the game. Josh Verlin pulled down a couple of telling marks and Josh McPherson chipped in for a couple to add to the two that Josh Pavlou had kicked earlier in the game. The Rovers were too quick and too elusive for the Pirate boys and it was a great win against a team who desperately needed the victory to remain well in the finals race.

Jess Lovig was well supported by Josh Schmitz, now two games back from his trip away, and showed why we missed him so much while away and is Hampton’s performance barometer, Cracker was in and under, big Charlie Kelso won the taps all day and even pulled down a screamer on the far wing. The debutantes in Smith and Sharp were sensational – particularly Cam, who, while training for most of the year hadn’t played a game as he recovered from surgery, will only get better with the run.

Next week the Rovers host PEGS in another important game at Boss James Reserve. They also defeated Hampton earlier in the season and sit one game behind the Rovers on the ladder.

HAMPTON ROVERS  3.2  7.4  8.7  14.11 (95)
PENINSULA OLD BOYS  3.1  4.6  8.10  10.11 (71)
Goal kickers: G.Martyn 2, J.McPherson 2, J.Pavlou 2, C.Sharp 2, J.Verlin 2, M.Care, N.Smith, B.Traeger-Haig, E.Turner.
Best players: J.Lovig, J.Schmitz, B.Traeger-Haig, C.Sharp, M.Devereaux, L.Fletcher.

– Watch the full match replay on VAFATV >
– Watch the match highlights >
Watch the boys sing the song >

The Under 19’s recorded a 48 point win over De La Salle at Boss James Reserve – that’s the fourth-straight for the young Rovers who are pushing for a spot in the finals. View the full match report here >

The Reserves looked the goods during the third term, leading by three goals but ran out of legs in the last with Peninsula getting up by 8 points. The Thirds were inaccurate at Ormond and went down by 36 points.

Seniors scoreworm:

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