Hampton Rovers recorded their second consecutive win, defeating Old Camberwell by 19 points at Gordon Barnard Reserve on Saturday.
It was a hard-fought victory by the boys and a win that keeps the chances of remaining in Premier C section alive with two rounds of the home & away season remaining.
Rucking duties fell to Sam Clements in Charlie Thorpe’s absence and what a game he played. A lone hand all day and whether on the ball or resting up forward, his attack at the ball and his opponents was sensational. Our midfielders, as a result, lifted and won the centre clearances. We have been criticised as having a one speed midfield, great in and under players in De Biase, Carnovale, McNeil and Fletcher but maybe missing a bit of outside speed. The introduction of first-gamer Harry Crisp Crispy, Nick Murnane and Adam Schaeche added a bit of pace and run for players so inexperienced.
Fifteen minutes into the first quarter and the Rovers hadn’t scored while the Old Camberwell boys were doing exactly as the coach predicted and led by a couple of goals. Hampton steadied and with goals to Speedy on the left and some great team work between Schaeche, Lachy Cairns who got the ball to Oscar Roberts who juggled and held the mark in the square and goaled! At the break, the Rovers were nine points down but had controlled the last half of the quarter. Great to see the increasing confidence of the two key backs in Josh Pavlou and Luke Deville who give the rest of the back six some confidence.
The second started with a great pass from Ben Kneebush to Cam Hetherington on the lead for goal, followed soon after with a bullet from Nick Murnane to Cam who again goaled. The Wellers’ boys were rattled and when Clemo and Dibba combined to get it to Carny who goaled and we were 10 points up and in control. Yes, the opposition kicked six behinds, but the pressure applied by Fletch, Cowboy and Tim Jones down back gave them little chance to settle. Josh McPherson was on fire and his second goal came from some strong work from Dibba who knocked the ball into his path and Speedy as usual found the goals. James Prosser, like a dog with a bone, just kept on harassing his opponent and stopped him getting the ball. His frustration was mounting as the game progressed. Good to see young Ant Folino continuing his improvement. Some great contests and subtle handballs and taps that gave his forwards chances. Of course, he even kicked a goal himself from a nice mark and set shot!
There was a buoyant mood in the rooms at the main break. A couple of goals up and the opposition looked flat. The home side had the breeze in the third and started much the same as they did in the first. Two quick goals in the first couple of minutes before the Rovers had even warmed up and that was it for them until time on where a great individual effort from their bullocking full forward resulted in a goal. For the 30 minutes between those goals, Hampton held sway. A great pass by Nick Murnane to Oscar who goaled, followed shortly after by the highlight of the day, a courageous mark by Ben Traeger-Haig running with the flight of the ball. Clemo was rewarded with a goal from a good mark and kick from CHF and we went into the last quarter with a four-point lead and wind assistance coming up in the last. There was an air of confidence at the huddle amongst players and the travelling supporters.
By this stage, injuries and incidents were taking their toll. Mat Care’s hammy was playing up, we’d already lost Lachy Cairns to the same thing and Zac Donald was spending some time off the ground due to an innocuous push to an opponent’s chest that resulted in a card.
It didn’t matter. Traegs goaled early in the quarter, followed by two to Oscar, playing a great game at full forward and another to Nick Murnane, having received a great pass from Ben Kneebush. The Rovers backs and mids were combining well to stop the Old Camberwell’s run and with Fletch and Cowboy playing classic mopping up roles down back, the boys were looking good.
The Rovers now face a massive final home game of the season this Saturday against top side Caulfield Grammarians and then Old Mentonians away to round out the season. Hampton must win both games and rely on either Old Ivanhoe or Old Camberwell losing both remaining games to avoid relegation. The club encourages everyone to get along to Boss James Reserve this Saturday to show their support and help the Rovers get over the line. Book now for the final home game luncheon!
HAMPTON ROVERS 2.3 6.7 8.8 13.11 (89)
OLD CAMBERWELL 3.6 3.12 6.16 9.16 (70)
Goal Kickers: O. Roberts 4, J. McPherson 3, C. Hetherington 2, C. Carnovale, B. Traeger-Haig, N. Murnane, S. Clements
Best Players: S. Clements, O. Roberts, J. McPherson, J. Prosser, A. Schaeche, L. Deville
The Reserves suffered a disappointing loss in the early game. At half time, the Rovers were just four points down and right in a contest that we needed to win to keep our finals hopes alive. In the first half we had matched the OC boys and with Rory Lynch, Ben Kezilas and Luke Morcom playing well down back we were travelling well. Our mids in Tom McCarthy, Shem Curry and Jack Lloyd were providing drive but a few of the OC’s mids were getting into space and causing havoc. Much discussion went into how to curb the influence of those players at the half time break.
Unfortunately, Ben Clarke’s game was over at half time courtesy of a head clash. The third quarter was a disaster. A couple of points to us and 5.3 to them and it was game over.
Hampton switched on in the last, kicked a few goals but the sloppy conditions did not help our style of play. Good to see Ryan Fogarty, playing up the ground in the play, Jack Zaina going in hard and often as usual and Shem Curry knocking up getting the ball. A cameo by Ed Turner who only slotted one but the conditions did not suit. Thom McCarthy put in another fine game and the coach, Anton Duddy, pulled on the boots and showed some of those skills he’d acquired in those 285 games he has played for the club. His strong mark in the last quarter for a goal was reminiscent of days gone by. In the end, it was a 37-point defeat for the Rovers.
The Under 19 firsts were defeated by Ormond in an early game at Boss James Reserve. The boys played great footy in the first half, dominated the opposition yet for some reason just couldn’t put the score on the board. Steve Raymer continued his good form and his anticipation and hard body work he did on his opponent was great work by the full back. He was well supported by Liam McCartney, Sammy Gall, Blake Bergman and Oscar Donald. Benji Audige was having a blinder in the ruck. His run over the ground and great work at the contested ball were keeping us in the game.
In the second half, Ormond were just a little bit more poised than we were and made the most of their forays forward. Sam Slykhuis was looking good down forward and probably the highlight of the day was the steal by Andrew Woolston, took a bounce and slotted the goal from 50m. Tom Butterss up from the second team put in a fine performance and his hard work and smothers were a feature of his game.
In the end, Ormond ran out comfortable winners however as coach John Cesario said “the scoreboard was not a true reflection of the way the game was played”.
The Under 19 seconds had a tough day at probably the Rovers’ least favourite ground – Scammell Reserve. With a couple of the players eligible for the finals dropped down, it wasn’t enough for the Rovers to get over Oakleigh who sat comfortably in third place on the ladder. A win was essential to keep our finals’ hopes alive. It was not to be.
While Oakleigh blew us away in the first half, it was great to see the boys fight back after half time and in fact, outscore the opposition. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to overcome the lead built in the first half.
Hampton’s best were Joel Broadley in the ruck, Dylan Melnjak up forward where he managed to be leading goal scorer for the day, Adrian Hug on the ball and Jack Daley given a roaming commission by the coach.