Rovers too strong for Kew in opening round

Hampton Rovers have had the perfect start to the 2018 season with a dominant 61-point win over Kew at Boss James Reserve. The Reserves and Thirds also recorded solid victories while the U19s and Senior Women went down.

In perfect conditions at David Street, it was a scrappy affair at times, against the Bears who were also relegated from Premier C last year. In the last campaign, the Rovers were big winners against the same opposition in round one before a defeat at Boss James later – the low point of 2017.

The players were told to hunt the bear, and that they did. While it was a reasonably even first quarter – locked at 2.3 a-piece at quarter time, the Rovers edged ahead in the second term to lead by 17 points at the main break. The Rovers seem to have the control but couldn’t put it on the board, with the exception being Kyle Pinto who kicked three goals in the first half. Speedy used his pace to put one through as did Richard Atkins.

The Rovers came out from the sheds and dominated the second half, with 20 scoring shots to Kew’s 6. The term started in sensational fashion when Christian Carnovale burst through the centre chasing the loose ball, collected it at full speed, performed two blind turns and slotted the goal on the run from 50. The visitors responded with the next two to make it an eight-point ball game, but the Rovers then steadied and took control of the contest, kicking the next five goals.

With goals to Speedy, youngster Adam Schaeke, Speedy again from the square, a great pass from Rieniets that hit Adam Schaeche lace out for his second for the quarter and the Kew resistance had broken down. When Cam Hetherington won the sprint to the goalsquare to pick up the loose ball and goaled, the Rovers lead extended to seven goals and it was game over.

The goals slowed in the final term but not from a lack of trying. Carny hit the post in the opening 30 seconds and a further eight behinds followed, meaning what could have been an annihilation ended up being a comfortable 10 goal victory. Rovers’ 2.9 to 0.2 in the last showed the domination, but the goals lacked. Hampton finished with 14 goals 21 behinds, but the number of scoring opportunities was certainly a positive, with 35 to 14 for the game.

Coach Anthony Quon was pleased with the performance,

“It was a pleasing reward for the players for the hard work they have put in over the summer. We played with a lot of hunger and desire.”

Josh Broadley made his senior debut for club and was presented with his jumper pre-game by Michael “Chief” Fletcher, who himself made his return to senior football for the first time since the 2013 Grand Final. His presence both from a physical aspect and experience is a benefit to the young Rovers side.

Ben Traeger-Haig, Shem Curry and Mat Care were named as the Rovers best while Josh McPherson and Kyle Pinto each kicked three goals.

HAMPTON ROVERS  2.3  6.9  12.12  14.21 (105)
KEW  2.3 4.4  6.6  6.8 (44)
Goal Kickers: J. McPherson 3, K. Pinto 3, A. Schaeche 2, C. Hetherington 2, S. Curry, L. Cairns, R. Atkins, C. Carnovale
Best Players: B. Traeger-Haig, S. Curry, M. Care, K. Pinto, C. Carnovale, J. Broadley

The Reserves got off to a strong start and were never really troubled by Kew, running out 28-point victors. In a side that featured the three Jones brothers – it was Corey who starred with six goals as the sole multiple goal kicker. Joel Melnjak, new recruit Duana Vella were amongst the best.

The Thirds, back in action after a two-year hiatus, kick-start their campaign with a 39-point win over Swinburn University away in an early game at Hawthorn. Ash Hoar and Lucas Blatchford kicked three goals each while newly-named captain Adam Power was best for the Rovers.

At Castlefield Reserve, the Under 19s weren’t good enough for Marcellin, going down by 80 points. Max Coughlin was best for the Rovers, also kicking two goals.

The Senior Women took on Old Haileybury in a VFL curtain-raiser at Trevor Barker Oval and while the girls played well, it was the Bloods who ran out 41-point winners. Nat Harrison and Nikky Clarke kicked a goal each and Liz Dingeldei was best for the Rovers.

Around 70 people were in attendance for the opening Home Game Luncheon of the year and it was a buoyant atmosphere at the club throughout the day as the 2018 season got underway.

Next week, the Seniors travel to Toorak Park to face Prahran Assumption.

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