Rovers prevail in thriller

Hampton Rovers played their best footy of the year to defeat fourth-placed Williamstown CYMS by three points at Boss James Reserve on Saturday.

It was Anthony Quon’s first game in charge as senior coach and the players lifted to record a memorable victory in perfect conditions at the Boss. Stark contrast to the round five encounter at Burbank Oval when the CY’s ran out easy 62-point victors. This time, the Rovers backs were in control, the mids dominated and the forwards converted – it was a true team effort to break a run of five straight losses.

The Rovers made a strong start to the game and while Williamstown kicked the first goal, it was all Hampton from there, with Oscar Roberts kicking the first, and second-gamer Adam Schaeche kicking his first senior goal. Although some missed opportunities meant it was just a slender eight-point lead at the first break.

The boys clicked into gear in the second quarter and dominated the opposition. The goals were shared amongst players with no one clicking more than two for the day. The Rovers kicked four goals to one for the term but again also missed several opportunities to extent the margin further. Hampton took a 29-point lead into the main break and were in control, but coach Quon warned his charges to expect a lift from Williamstown in the second half.

His words rang true – the visitors controlled the third term, kicking five goals to the Rovers three. But as the Rovers had done in the first half, they wasted numerious opportunities and it was still the home side up by 10 points at the final change, with everything to play for in the last.

With Williamstown having the momentum, the final term was always going to be a cracker and both teams didn’t disappoint in what was a heart-stopper. Continuing his stellar form from the Big V representative game last week, Christian Carnovale put in a true captain’s performance, leading from the front and kicking two goals to give the Rovers some breathing space. The first, he ran the ball out of the guts, bounced, and kicked truly from 50m. Later, he received a handball and snapped a goal from 40m.

The visitors had different ideas though and they never let up, with two late goals of their own reducing the margin to two points with one minute remaining. The Rovers had the chance to seal it but a behind gave Williamstown possession. With the ball in their half, the siren sounded to a huge roar from the Rovers faithful and confirming a three-point much-needed win.

Christian Carnovale, Oscar Roberts, Ned Fallon and Lachie Cairns each kicked two goals with the Rovers captain a clear best-on-ground and well supported by Luke Deville, Josh Pavlou and James Prosser. Good to see Sam Bradford and Jesse Donald in the seniors for the first time this year and both putting in good performances.

HAMPTON ROVERS  2.4  6.9  9.10  12.15 (87)
WILLIAMSTOWN CYMS  1.2  2.4  7.12  12.12 (84)
Goal Kickers: C. Carnovale 2, O. Roberts 2, N. Fallon 2, L. Cairns 2, A. Schaeche, C. Hetherington, A. McNeil, S. Bradford
Best Players: C. Carnovale, L. Deville, J. Pavlou, J. Prosser, S. Bradford, R. De Biase

Watch the full match replay >

The Reserves recorded a dominant 52-point victory over Williamstown with Ash Fisher starring with seven goals. The Rovers dominated the first half, restricting their opponents to just three behinds. The boys clearly took the foot off the pedal in the second half, allowing the visitors to kick their first goal in an even third term and then a further four in the last to reduce the margin. However, the Rovers then turned it back on, booting five goals to record their third straight win and enter lift to fourth position on the ladder.

Club stalwart Lachie Wheeler was chaired off the ground in his 300th VAFA game – an outstanding achievement by someone who has given so much for the club over many years – read more here. He kicked a goal late in the game and as well as Fisher’s seven, Mat Care kicked three and Anton Duddy two. Ben Theodore and Ryan Fogarty featured in the best players.

The Under 19 firsts recorded a solid seven goal win over arch-rivals Ormond away at EE Gunn Reserve. The boys had a perfect start, kicking seven goals and restricting the home side to one point. Joel Bowditch, Andrew Woolston and Mitch Bowles each kicked three goals, while Scott Ebbott, Sam Gall and Josh Broadley were best.

The Under 19 seconds had a disappointing loss to Old Camberwell away from home. The boys held a ten point lead at half time and could manage only one goal after that, going down by 38 points. Ash Hoar and Max Molino were best for the Rovers.

The Women took on Old Mentonians at a freezing Castlefield Reserve on Sunday and went down by three goals. Liz Dingeldei kicked the only goal for the Rovers, and what a goal it was, running the ball along the boundary line and kicking truly from 35m. She was also named best, well supported by Kristy Ebbott and Max Behnke. With several injuries to key players recently, it’ll be a tough couple of rounds leading in to the finals. This week, the girls face Melbourne Uni away and then Saturday-week, the final home & away game of the season, hosting Mazenod in a twilight game at Boss James Reserve following the Seniors clash v Marcellin.

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