Hampton Rovers defeated Prahran Assumption by 36 points in wintery conditions at Toorak Park on Saturday to remain unbeaten after the opening two rounds of the 2018 season.
It was another strong win in a game where the Rovers seemed to be in control all day yet it was only in the second half of the third quarter that the boys took the game by the scruff of the neck, banged on four unanswered goals and, in probably the most difficult conditions for a number of years, it was game over.
What was particularly pleasing was the emergence of a couple of potential stars of the future. Cam Hetherington has always shown promise but in the second half he came of age and in conditions that wouldn’t really have suited him, showed the skills and strength that would have brought smiles to the faces of all Rover supporters. Similarly, new ruckman Josh Broadley in his second game took a huge step forward and dominated in clearances at the centre and around the ground. He threw himself into the contest and time and time again he seemed to soar above his opponent.
The scores never really reflected the state of the game. In the first half, yes, Prahran did kick two goals but when you consider they kicked those goals in a two minute stretch in the last five minutes of the quarter against the flow of play, it was obvious that they weren’t really in the game.
The Rovers backs were on top and while the opposition moved the ball with short kicks to their forward 50, it was there that their system fell down due to the strong defence led by Josh Pavlou and Luke Deville in the key posts and ably backed up by Rich Atkins, whose coolness under pressure was a feature all day. Harry Crisp, Mat Care and skipper Cowboy McNeil off the back flank and Nick Murnane in the pocket or on the flank all contributed. Ned Fallon has moved down back and it’s paying dividends and he’s relishing the role of negating the oppositions damaging forward. The backs combined well all day and to keep the opposition to only four goals was a mighty effort.
At the main break, coach Anthony Quon stressed that “This in one of those mindset games. What is your mindset?” Not really conditions conducive to footy, a roaring gale, some hail, a bit of sunshine, wet under foot and even some mud in the centre. The boys answered his challenge and that third quarter was a treat. With Speedy McPherson relishing his time up forward, he banged through four goals for the day to add to his three last week and he is on fire. Cam Hetherington must have pulled in half a dozen marks for the quarter, all contested, and was rewarded with a couple of goals. Ryan Fogarty’s great pick up of the mongrel handball which he then calmly slotted through the big sticks on the run from 50m was a highlight.
In the last quarter, the wind relented and seemed to favour both ends at various times of the term. Prahran kicked a couple of goals but never really threatened. Hampton were on top around the ground and our forwards just didn’t capitalize on the opportunities given to them for the second week running.
The Rovers remain in second position on the division one ladder after two rounds and face Ivanhoe AFC this Saturday away at Ivanhoe Park.
HAMPTON ROVERS 1.4 3.5 8.7 9.12 (66)
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 0.0 2.2 2.3 4.6 (30)
Goal Kickers: J. McPherson 4, C. Hetherington 2, F. McMaster, R. Fogarty, S. Curry
Best Players: J. Broadley, H. Crisp, L. Deville, N. Fallon, J. McPherson, J. Pavlou
— Hampton Rovers FC (@HRAFC) April 14, 2018
The Reserves also recorded another victory (read match report) in the earlier game and elsewhere, the Under 19’s had their first win of the season with Benji Audige, Ant Folino and Scott Ebbott best for the Rovers while Folino kicked three goals. At Boss James Reserve, the Senior Women fell just short against Ajax and the Thirds lost to Melbourne High to go 1-1.