The Rovers lost their season-opening encounter on Saturday, going down by 19 points to Parkdale Vultures at Boss James Reserve.
In warm conditions, the visitors came out firing in front of a good crowd, kicking the first three majors of the game. Boom WAFL recruit Matt Boland kicked five of Parkdale’s six goals in the opening term before being forced from the ground early in the second after succumbing to a knee injury.
That didn’t stop the Vultures’ dominance though, as a 24-point quarter time lead extended out to 39 points at the main break. You couldn’t fault the young Rovers effort, but some costly mistakes allowed the visitors to take full advantage and they moved the ball well.
Two goals early in the third saw Parkdale extend the lead to a game-high 51 points, but from there the Rovers lifted. The boys started winning the ball out of the middle, sending it forward and getting shots on goal. Goals to Nathan Smith, a mark and goal to Corpy from 40m, a crisp handball from Fletch to Speedy McPherson resulted in a goal and then the highlight of the quarter a couple of bounces, a couple of baulks and Sammy Bradford banged one through from 40m to bring the margin to 37 points at the final break.
It was goal-for-goal early on in the final term before the Rovers kicked the next four consecutive majors, sending some panic into the Vultures coaching staff. It was the home side finishing stronger, despite only having one on the bench and players cramping everywhere. Danny Corp was putting on a show – he finished with five majors, while goals also from the speed thrills duo of Bradford and Smith reduced the deficit to 19 points by the final siren.
The big blokes in Sammy Clements and Charlie Miles both ran hard all day, whether in the ruck, defence or up forward and in the second half were breaking even in the contests with the Parkdale talls. Good to see the swag of first gamers in Cam Hetheringham, Will Walker, Zac Donald and Finn McMaster-Garraway all improving as the game progressed. Add to this the pleasing form of eligible U19 players in Jack Toouli, Christian Carnovale and Ryan Fogarty and the supporters can look forward to the 2016 season.
While it was a disappointing first half, there was plenty of promise from the second and plenty of positives to take into the round two clash against Ajax (likely to be at Gary Smorgon Oval at Albert Park – TBC this week).
HAMPTON ROVERS 3.2 3.3 7.7 12.10 (82)
PARKDALE VULTURES 6.3 9.6 13.8 15.11 (101)
Goal Kickers: D. Corp 5, J. McPherson 3, N. Smith 2, C. Carnovale, S. Bradford
Best Players: R. Atkins, S. Clements, D. Corp, N. Smith, W. Walker, R. Fogarty
In the Reserves, Parkdale Vultures were far too strong, defeating the Rovers by 16 goals.
The Under 19s got the triple-header off to a good start, coming from behind to defeat arch-rivals Ormond by 10 points. With just a single goal on the board at half time and down by 28 points, the Rovers kicked three in the third term to reduce the deficiet to three points at the final change. In front of a vocal home crowd, the Rovers snatched the lead early in the final quarter and kicked four for the term to claim a win in the first game of the season.
Ben Kneebush was best for the Rovers and kicked three goals while Darcy Merlo kicked two. View the full U19 report >
The opening home game luncheon of the year was a good one with over 60 in attendance. New senior president Steve Anderson addressed the crowd while new senior coach Owen Lalor also spoke a few words ahead of the season opener. The next lunch will be held in two weeks’ time when the Rovers host Old Brighton.