After applying the sunscreen last week, real footy weather returned this week with trench coats and gumboots required. From the opening bounce, the ball was slippery due to persistent showers before and during the game. Prahran had better early control of the footy with clearances from the ruck contests, however the back line for the Rovers were able to apply great pressure and provide rebound.
Culvenor was an early standout with his pace and sure handling of the ball. Well supported by the steady Tate on the last line. The Rovers forward line had limited opportunities early but Jackson finally got them on the scoreboard at the 14 minute mark with a strong overhead mark then went back with a long shot thru the middle of the big sticks. Rick Jones was working hard and had plenty of touches in the first quarter while Corey Jones had a couple of chances before snagging a goal with a snap, after evading a couple of defenders with some good twisting and turning to open up the goals. Prahran had a few long bombs for goal but the near gale winds mostly blew them off line. At the end of the first quarter the Rovers led 2.2.14 to 1.4.10.
The second quarter started brilliantly for the Rovers with Donald grabbing the ball from the first tap out and belting out of the centre to kick a long bomb into the forward line. Under good defensive pressure, the forwards looked for each other and after a string of clever handballs Jackson was on the end and passed well to Rick Jones who marked, settled and kicked a goal from 25m out. A goal in under a minute! It was generally a hard slog for the rest of the quarter with many dropped marks due to the slippery conditions. Merlo did hold one though on the 40m line from a Prahran kick out of defence. With the wind over his shoulder he launched a long range shot that no-one expected and the ball just cleared the goal line before a defender could get his fingers on it. A snap shot by Donald shortly after gave the Rovers their third goal of the quarter for a handy lead. Prahran responded with their only goal for term. Rovers defence was well led by Melnjak who held up many forward thrusts at CHB. Half time Rovers 5.3.33 to 2.5.17.
At the half time break, it pelted down with heavy rain and hail for 15 minutes leaving the Toorak Park ground impossibly wet and cold. With Prahran kicking to the shallow end, they got an early goal but it was just then a hard long slogging standup and knockem down affair with every effort to get the ball forward by pushing, knocking, tapping, sliding etc. Daniel Corp was welcomed back to the Rovers with this deluge and he was in the thick of things in the forward line. A little rusty perhaps but was in several strings of play with the battling forward line but they couldn’t quite finish things off due to a heavy and slippery ball. Eventually through persistence and one of the very few quick long kicks forward by the Rovers, it found him one out with his opponent and with clever body work nudged his opponent out and ran into an open goal to kick the Rovers first goal for the quarter. A few minutes later Jackson took another strong mark and kicked a long goal from the set shot. Prahran replied with another goal to keep in the game trailing by 17points at the 3qtr time break.
In the final quarter, the Rovers took an early advantage as the conditions started to improve. Donald was on fire with an early goal and then shortly after passed well to Corp who finished with another goal. Suddenly the lead was out to 29 points and the Rovers looked home. But to Prahran’s credit, they hung in there and started getting drive through the middle. Lynch for the Rovers was in his element though and reading the play was able to leave his man and repel many of the Prahran forward thrusts. Tate was again a good contributor for the quarter across the middle and forward. Prahran did finish with two very late goals when the game was over to reduce the final margin.
Like the Seniors, the Reserves also remain undefeated following the opening two games of the season and face Ivanhoe away from home this week.
PRAHRAN 1.4 2.5 4.6 6.7 (43)
HAMPTON ROVERS 2.2 5.3 7.5 9.6 (60)
Goal Kickers: J. Donald 2, D. Corp 2, N. Jackson 2, D. Merlo, R. Jones, C. Jones
Best Players: C. Tate, N. Jackson, R. Lynch, J. Melnjak, J. Donald