It’s been a long time coming, but the Rovers finally recorded their first victory of 2016, and it was in convincing fashion over fourth-placed Old Haileybury at Princes Park on Saturday, while the Reserves also got up.
The improvement in the young Rovers side has been evident over the past few weeks. Last Saturday the boys pushed flag favourites Beaumaris and this week, were never really in doubt against a side with finals aspirations.
The home side won the toss and kicked with the breeze in the first term, the Rovers could have got off to the perfect start in the first minute with a pin-point pass to Corpy, but he sprayed his shot on goal. Haileybury kicked the first of the game 10 minutes in though ex-Rover Will McTaggert. But that’s all they could manage, as Ant Folino kicked the Rovers first, followed by Nath Smith, to give Hampton a 10 point lead at quarter time.
It was the second term where the Rovers played their best footy of the year so far. Six unanswered goals blew the margin out and it was only a goal on the siren that got the home side on the board. From the first bounce, Nath Smith took possession of the footy, ran to 50 and slotted a goal to get the ball rolling, his first of three for the term. Goals to Will Walker, Josh McPherson and Danny Corp gave the Rovers a 35 point lead at half time.
Midfield beasts Christian Carnovale and Jack Toouli who returned from the sidelines were sensational all day. Ben Traeger-Haig given a running role had the better of his opponent and Danny Corp, whether loose in defence or roaming half forward, put in another strong performance. Young ruckman Ben Audige is improving each week, handling the bigger bodies, had the better of his opponent and gave the Rovers great drive out of the centre.
The home side had and the wind in the third term and the Rovers had to work hard to prevent them getting back into the game. Hampton’s backs were in control and managed to prevent them kicking a major until 22 minutes in, they kicked another for the term before Josh Pavlou responded, with a set shot from 40 metres out. The Rovers’ attack on the footy forced Haileybury to make countless mistakes, putting them under immense pressure. The only concern for the Rovers was Rich Atkins going down and stretchered off with a knee injury, but we’re pleased to report it seems not as serious as first thought. At the final break the margin was 28 points.
The last quarter was an epic, 14 goals in total and going well beyond 30 minutes. The Rovers kicked five of the first six goals, with Corp, Smith and Clements contributing, and the margin was out to a game-high 48 points. However, the home side then kicked four majors in four minutes. This has seemed to happen in most games this year, the difference this time was that the game wasn’t in the balance. The Rovers didn’t panic, and steadied through Sam Bradford, who was up there with the best players on the day, a sneaky goal late on where he ran past his opponent was a highlight.
The final siren blew and it the Rovers tastes success for the first time this year, 28 points over Old Haileybury who remain in the top four. The twin skippers both had impact, with Leigh Fletcher enjoying his role on the back flank collecting multiple possessions, while Danny Corp was strong all day, particularly towards the end when the opposition tired. The grit, determination and increased confidence of players like James Prosser, Ben Kneebush and, in his best game in the seniors, Darcy Merlo, have contributed to the improvement of the Rovers.
Nath Smith was best for the Rovers, kicking five goals, while Bradford kicked three, Corp and Clements two. Audige, Bradford, Fletcher, Carnovale and Traegar-Haig were also amongst the best.
— Hampton Rovers FC (@HRAFC) May 21, 2016
The song was sung loud & proud and it was music to the ears of the travelling Rovers supporters. There has been a great vibe around the club, that came to Princes Park on Saturday and continued back at the Boss Saturday night. Next week, the Rovers travel to Brindisi Street Oval to face third-placed St Bedes/Mentone Tigers.
HAMPTON ROVERS 2.3 8.5 9.7 16.10 (106)
OLD HAILEYBURY 1.1 2.6 4.9 11.12 (78)
Goal Kickers: N. Smith 5, S. Bradford 3, D. Corp 2, S. Clements 2, J. McPherson, N. Fallon, A. Folino, W. Walker
Best Players: N. Smith, B. Audige, S. Bradford, L. Fletcher, C. Carnovale, B. Traeger-Haig
The Reserves also recorded their first victory of the season, defeating Old Haileybury by 14 points. The Rovers held a lead of eight points at the final change and were kicking against the wind in the last. However the boys outscored the home side three goals to two and went on to win the game. Ed Turner was a clear best on ground, kicking all six of the Rovers’ goals. Read the full report >
The Under 19s were defeated by Collegians at Albert Park. The home side was too strong for the Rovers. It must be noted that 10 U19 players lined up in the seniors on Saturday. However the boys tried hard all day. Matt Oswald continued his good form down as back, same with fellow backmen Sam Gall and Steve Reymer. Big Sean Bourke and Jack Daley also played well in the midfield.
Buy a ticket now for the Rovers $2,000 Reverse Draw! Don’t miss the function on Saturday 4th June @ the Boss – click here >