Bloods dominate Rovers

Hampton Rovers suffered a disappointing loss to ladder-leaders Old Haileybury at Princes Park on Saturday.

At the 19 minute mark of the second quarter, the home side was in complete control with the score 11.3 to 0.3.  Fortunately, some bright spots occurred just before half time when Nick Pavlou popped through the first Rovers goal from a mark at 35m, Ant Folino hit Ben Kneebone lace out for a goal and followed up a minute later with a well-earned free in the square and kicked truly.  In reality, it was too little too late.

The Old Haileybury side was quicker, slicker and more desperate, ran in waves and while they weren’t the tallest side, their speedy ball use gave them multiple opportunities.  They kicked as many with the wind as against it and Hampton didn’t have an answer.  If not for the hard work of the skipper Christian Carnovale and his deputy Adam McNeil in that first half, the half time situation would have been bleaker.  They were hard at the ball and the man and were really the only ones taking it up to the opposition.

At the main break, the coach was calm.  There wasn’t much he could do when the opposition clearly had our measure and had the wind in the third.  They continued on their merry way with a five goal quarter and the Rovers struggled to score.  Our forward thrusts were all unrewarded to the stage where the scoreboard didn’t really represent how we were playing.  Our backs were under heavy pressure with the inside 50 entries mounting.  Shem Curry maintained his composure and was managing to hit targets.  Roland DeBiase used his strength to advantage and whether down back or on the ball, was matching it with the opposition.

The last quarter started promisingly, Cowboy goaled from a great run and carry from 60m but Old Haileybury just came back harder.  They answered with a couple of goals with relative ease.  Finally, we made some progress with goals to Pav from a nice mark, Cam Hetherington after a bullet pass from James Prosser and finally Cam Hetherington passed off to Pav for a goal on the run from 30m.  Positives to take into next week.

Our best were hard to find. Richard Atkins, back from Sandringham, was solid all day, took a couple of fine marks and was effective down back or on the ball. Similarly, Nick Pavlou, from limited opportunities, booted three goals for the afternoon and looked dangerous with ball in hand.  But it was the leaders in Carny and Cowboy who were our best on a fairly dismal day.

That has the Rovers at three wins, four losses, going into this Saturday’s must-win match against Old Camberwell at Boss James Reserve.

HAMPTON ROVERS  0.2  3.6  3.8  7.9 (51)
OLD HAILEYBURY  5.3  12.6  17.8  22.10 (142)
Goal Kickers: N. Pavlou 3, A. McNeil, A. Folino, B. Kneebush, C. Hetherington
Best Players: C. Carnovale, A. McNeil, S. Curry, R. De Biase, N. Pavlou, R. Atkins

It was much better news for the Reserves. There was an air of confidence in the rooms prior to the game.  With Tim Jones, Nick Murnane, Nick Jackson and Darcy Merlo all returning from the Seniors, Mat Care and Jesse Donald getting back into the rhythm and old timers Ash Fisher, Coach Anton Duddy and Michael Flahive all raring to go you could feel the confidence.

They played with that confidence for four quarters for the first time this season.  Ten points down and kicking with a strong wind in the last, the boys were buoyant and exhorting each other for greater effort to see us over the line.

Best on went to Darcy Merlo, back on the wing, where he earned three junior B&Fs and didn’t he enjoy it!  Nick Jackson was marking everything coming his way, Tim Jones, whether up forward or the unaccustomed role in the ruck, played well all day but it was the 250 gamer Ash Fisher who performed like a two year old and for the second week in a row, popped through a lazy five goals.

At Boss James Reserve, it was an Under 19 double-header and first up the U19 (2) side faced St John’s. Coach Sam Care at the start of the day challenged his players to set the tone early and have the right mindset coming into the game. Especially playing the bottom side he didn’t want the playing group to be complacent.

In the first quarter with the wind the 6 goals really set the tone for the day.  But it got better!  In the 2nd quarter going into the wind the young rovers kicking another 7 goals! Will Wood backed up his 7 goal performance last week with 8 goals this week, he’s in outstanding form – can he do it again next week?

Captain Zach Raghdo and Sam Callahan carried the bulk of the midfield work, they are now working as a team and are linking up through the centre to gain the important clearances. Will Smith and Johno Aikins run out of the back line was a key for the Rovers. Will especially seems to be growing with confidence each week and taking the game on with increasing success.  

Overall it was a complete 4 quarter effort, the main focus was to play team oriented football and it showed throughout the 4 quarters.  The young developing rovers are listening to and acting on instructions and as a result ran out comfortable 115 point victors.

The U19 (1) side took on Old Ivanhoe at 2:00pm and were in in all day, down by just a point at the last change, but went down by 24 points – another disappointing loss for the side.

On Sunday, the Senior Women’s side returned to the Boss for the first time since opening night, taking on Melbourne University. It was a different result than that historic night, with the girls recording a solid victory. View the full report >

View the full results >

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