Monash claim thriller over Rovers

Hampton Rovers lost to fourth-placed Monash Blues by three points at Boss James Reserve on Saturday in a game the Rovers should have put away if not for the countless missed opportunities.

The young Rovers side showed great fight against a much bigger, stronger and experienced opponent and despite falling just short, it was a mostly positive performance by Hampton. The one negative was the accuracy on goal. The Rovers racked up 27 scoring shots, seven more than Monash, kicking 12 goals 15 to the visitors 14 goals 6.

The Rovers went into the game without Adam McNeil, Jack Toouli and Nick Pavlou from the previous week while Sam Clements returned and young Tom Yorgey made his senior debut for the club and had an outstanding first game.

The difference in the game was the first 12 minutes of the second term. The visitors kicked the first five goals unanswered and seven goals in that period to the Rovers one. Prior to that, the Rovers started strongly and kicked four goals to two in the opening term to lead by 11 points at quarter time.

Despite early dominance by Monash in the second, the Rovers stemmed the flow, kicked three goals of their own, and at the main break the deficit was a manageable 19 points.

Hampton restricted Monash from scoring at all in the third term and kicked four goals of their own to take a 10 point lead into the final quarter. The boys were playing great footy against an opponent who brought Beaumaris to their first defeat of the season the week prior.

The Rovers had numerous opportunities in the final term to kick further ahead, but struggled in front of goal. Against the slight breeze, the ball probably spent 25 of the 30 minutes in the Rovers attacking 50 for a total score of 1.7, while Monash made six trips inside their 50 for a score of 4.2.

The visitors took an unlikely lead in the 22 minute mark before following up for another soon after, and the game looked done and dusted. However despite being late in the term, there was still time and a Rovers goal reduced the margin to three points with less than a minute remaining.

Kicking towards the David Street end, the Rovers cleared the ball out of the middle and again got it inside 50, but Monash’s pressure prooved too much and Hampton were unable to put a further score on the board, with the final siren sounding, confirming victory for the boys from Monash University.

The disappointment on the player’s faces in the rooms following the loss was evident more than any other defeat this year, knowing it really should have been the third victory of 2016. It’ll surely only make the boys stronger and determined to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Captain Leigh Fletcher and Christian Carnovale appeared everywhere and were best for the Rovers, well supported by Nath Smith, Josh McPherson and first-gamer Tom Yorgey put in a solid performance. Ned Fallon finished with three goals, while McPherson, Clements, Turner and Smith kicked two each.

The Rovers remain on the bottom of Premier B with just the two wins. Against top four opposition, the boys have not been embarrased with the exception of the Old Scotch game, and more performances like the weekend should result in further wins. Next week, the Rovers face sixth-placed Fitzroy Football Club at Brunswick Street Oval before a week off.

HAMPTON ROVERS  4.2  7.3  11.8  12.15 (87)
MONASH BLUES  2.3  10.4  10.4  14.6 (90)
Goal Kickers: N. Fallon 3, J. McPherson 2, S. Clements 2, E. Turner 2, N. Smith 2, J. Prosser
Best Players: C. Carnovale, L. Fletcher, N. Smith, J. McPherson, T. Yorgey, B. Audige

The Reserves were outclassed by the depth of Monash Blues. By quarter time, the Rovers were down to one rotation with three players off injured. That was never going to make things easy for the remainder of the match. Still, the boys fought on, Shem Curry put in his best game of the year, while Ben Kezilas and Adam Power found plenty of the ball. Luke Morcom and Vin Camera also continued their good form. Shem and Culvenor kicked the goals for Hampton.

The Under 19s faced a tough road trip to face top side Williamstown CYMS. It was always going to be a tough match with so many players unavailable, injured and in the seniors. The Rovers had just 19 players, and against the home side’s 24, ran out of legs and failed to score in the final term.

The Williamstown full-forward was on fire, and kicked seven goals to tear the game apart. Coach John Cesario is looking forward to the return of regular full-back Matty Oswald. Still, the Rovers were just 20 points down at the final change to the top side who had lost just two matches thus far in the season. But a four goal to zip final term gave them a comfortable victory.

Finn McMaster- Garraway, playing in the middle was Hampton’s best, his attack on the ball and tackling when he didn’t have it was great. Jack Daley and Scott Ebbot both played well all day and it was great to see another Raghdo, Zac, younger brother of Sam, play his first game in the U19s and feature in the best. Steve Rayner kept up his good form of recent weeks and Liam McCartney, playing at CHB, clearly had the better of his opponent. Corey Jones, playing at full forward, battled hard all day and his second efforts to get the ball were rewarded with a couple of goals on the day. Next week the U19s are up against Mazenod at Central Reserve at 9.20am.

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