The Rovers Reserves have started the season with five traight wins for the first time in a long time. It wasn’t all smooth sailing on Saturday against West Brunswick, but a magnificent second half set-up a good win by the boys.
Coming into round 5, there was plenty of interest in this game as West Brunswick had shown some good lead up form and the unbeaten HR Ressies had seven changes with a couple promotions to the seniors and a few missing with injuries.
The game opened well for WB with centre clearances and a tall full forward getting good feed from the midfield. WB started with dominance and had 3 goals on the board by midquarter. The Rovers were getting as much of the ball but poor delivery meant there were few positive patches of good team work. Wheeler laid a great tackle to prevent a certain goal and Nahas was also playing well across half back. The Chief came on after 12 minutes and immediately had an impact and maybe made a few at WB a bit nervous. After a couple of late points TJ took an absolute pearler of a mark in a contested pack 25m out and converted for the Rovers for their first goal at the 22 min mark. Overall WB spread much better and Rovers supporters lamented their lack clean ball use creating turnovers. WB looked to have the edge and book makers shortened their odds.
The 2nd quarter started much the same, WB had the 1st and 2nd goals and the Rovers really struggled to get it past the midfield with poor disposals again. Nick Murnane, back from injury was one of our better players and Lynchy started to take some good marks across half back. Suddenly about the mid-point things began to click for the Rovers. TJ was outstanding in these pivotal few minutes – after another strong mark he hit up Bright on the chest who converted through the big sticks from his set shot. Within a couple of minutes, he hit Jacko from congested play and Jacko duly slotted it through with his new kicking boots. Clarkey was also a notable ball winner for the quarter even giving off a couple of classic Dusty Martin “don’t argues”. (Maybe it’s the tatts?) The last stirring 5 minutes showed maybe the Rovers were now hitting their straps with a total of 7 scoring shots to 4 yet still trailed by 9 points, despite having one more scoring shot. Bad kicking (is bad football) the culprit. At half time, the home side held a nine point lead over the Rovers. WB 5-4-34 to HR 3-7-25.
Not surprisingly, the third quarter started the same as the first two. WB had the first goal at the 7-minute mark and threatened to break open a big lead. But after a yet again slow start the Rovers started to click again and forays forward resulted but unfortunately only added to the points tally. But persistence started to pay, with Hemsley (who was busy and becoming influential) in good play delivered a nice pass to Tate who goaled for the Rovers. Soon after the visitors had it forward again and a crunching tackle by Bright in the forward pocket was rewarded with a free and he converted to level the scores.
Shortly after the WB tried to clear the back line with a long kick but brilliant reading of the play by Nahas saw him intercept and deliver a beautiful pass to the Chief who kicked truly to give the Rovers a 1 goal lead. Special mention to Birthday Boy Jewell who had a dominate quarter across half back. At three quarter time, the score was WB 6-4-40 to HR 6-10-46.
With the advantage of a breeze to WB it was an interesting position to start the last quarter. But the Rovers seemed to have found a new level while WB seemed to be running out of puff. After a couple of early forays for the Rovers, Cougs finally got a goal from the goal mouth with a scrambled shot through traffic which gave the Rovers a handy lead. Shortly after Bighead took a diving mark also in the goal square and converted. WB did respond with a couple of goals with 6 minutes to go to give them a small chance. It wasn’t to be with a few WB going down with cramp, Hemsley was gliding across the ground while his opponents seemed to be running in treacle. He gave off a great pass to Jacko who kicked his 2nd for the day and pretty much iced the game for the Rovers. Timmons goaled in party time as the Rovers ended with a solid win by 14 points.
A very messy game until the more talented Rovers started hitting forward targets and then converting. After quarter time the Rovers had 19 scoring shots to 8 which was really telling but despite this the margin was only 14 points. Pretty much if we back up the great guts & determination we display with a little more polish we can own these games. Maybe fitness also helped in the end as WB did seem to wilt a little. Well done Rovers but stop giving us a fright.
HAMPTON ROVERS 1.3 3.7 6.10 9.13 (67)
WEST BRUNSWICK 3.2 5.4 6.4 8.5 (53)
Goal Kickers: M. Bright 2, T. Jones 2, C. Tate, N. Jackson, S. Cougan, M. Timmons, M. Fletcher
Best Players: T. Jones, M. Bright, C. Tate, N. Jewell, B. Culvenor, M. Fletcher