The Rovers U19s had a big 61-point win over Oakleigh in the Preliminary Final on Saturday morning to advance to next week’s Grand Final against Ormond.
The first quarter was a real contest. Hampton were a goal up mid-way through and had the play but couldn’t exert any scoreboard pressure. At the break coach John Cesario stressed the team rules and that the boys were falling into the style of play the opposition wanted to play and had to be first to the ball, in numbers and move it quickly. Clearly, they weren’t listening as in the first 10 minutes of the second the Krushers had banged on 3 goals and had jumped to a 15 point lead. While the Oaks were scoring on their inside 50s we were going in more often but just couldn’t put the score on the board. We kicked the last 6 behinds of the quarter!
Still, at half time, the stats were not lost on the coaching staff. More inside 50s, more clearances, more tackles we were in front everywhere but where it counted. The scoreboard! There were some great individual efforts in that first half, Lachy Cairns attack on the ball, Ryan Fogarty’s poise at half back, Jack Campion’s control of the Crusher’s key forward and of course all topped off by a couple of great marks by Tom Fisher.
The first 10 minutes of the third was an arm wrestle but then all of a sudden the game opened up. Lachy Cairns flashed across the pack, a clean pick up and bang, 2 minutes later Hodgy collected the loose ball and drilled it to Cam Jones. Scores were level as Dave Broadstock tapped to Josh Elston and goaled. The momentum had changed and the Rovers tails were up and running. Big Jandre takes the mark 15m out and goals and the Oakleigh boys were reverting to type. A minute later Joel Ballegi flashes through the centre, kicks long to the goal square and Zac Donald kicks the goal. We were well on top playing fast open footy and the Oakleigh were struggling. The quarter ended with Ryan Fogarty kicking to Cam Jones who simply tapped the ball into the path of Mackie Robertson and we were 28 points up at the final break.
A huge crowd of Rovers supporters and players met at the huddle to urge the boys on. The dads on the wing had already declared it game over but the coach was not so sure. He wanted a big win as a positive lead into GF week. The boys didn’t let him down. Within a minute a chain of 4 handballs delivered the ball to Hodgy in the square and he kicked truly. A minute later Luke Morcom pinpointed Connor Clarke on his own for a goal to be closely followed Joel Ballegi finding Lachy Cairns and we 42 points up and the Oakleigh boys were angry. A couple of unsavoury incidents followed which resulted in Cam Jones earning the free and his 3rd goal.
At this stage we were at the 20 minute mark of the last quarter and … Oakleigh hadn’t scored a goal in 1 hour 20 minutes of footy. Oakleigh’s forward thrusts had been easily repelled by an “on song” Rovers defence for most of the morning. With Jack Campion and Luke Morcom in control of their opponents and Matty Oswald having a picnic at full back I was beginning to think that maybe they would be held goalless. Then Oakleigh did attack and had us outnumbered as they kicked long to the square. Matty Oswald outnumbered, spoiled the first attempt by the Oakleigh forward to goal and then backed up by smothering the attempt by the second Oakleigh player who crumbed the smother. A great effort. In a flash it rebounded into our forward line where Hodgy popped the final goal of the game through from the square. A fitting end.
We had good players all over the ground (from the 10 minute mark of the second quarter). Tom Fisher played a great game from half back with some big marks and great delivery to our forwards, big Jandre was prominent with a dominant performance in the ruck in the second half as well as picking up possessions around the ground. Mackie, Hodgy and Zaina all came into the game in the second half and all got better as the game progressed. By the way Oakleigh from the 10 minute mark of the second quarter to the final siren kicked 3 points. A great effort by the whole team. goal for the day.
It’s the 11th straight win for the U19s who were 3-6 after nine rounds. It’s been a massive turnaround by John Cesario’s side who finished the season fourth and now advance to the Grand Final next weekend against arch-rivals Ormond.
— Hampton Rovers FC (@HRAFC) September 6, 2014
It will be a huge weekend for the club with both the Seniors and Under 19s playing in Grand Final’s. Keep up with all the latest news on the Rovers website. Both games will be played at Trevor Barker Oval with the U19s kicking-off at 9:30am and the Seniors at 2:30pm.
HAMPTON ROVERS 2.1 2.9 8.11 13.15 (93)
OAKLEIGH 1.4 4.5 4.7 4.8 (32)
Goal Kickers: C. Jones 3, L. Cairns 2, H. Hodges 2, C. Clarke 2, M. Robertson, J. Elston, P. Olivier, J. Balleggi
Best Players: T. Fisher, H. Hodges, M. Oswald, R. Fogarty, J. Stewart, J. Campion