Much interest in this game as undefeated and second-placed Hampton Rovers took on third-placed Therry Penola. The Rovers welcomed back a couple of well credentialed players in Kyle Pinto and Matt Rienerts but again the opposition looked to have us out weighed and a touch older as they lined up.
The first quarter started in somewhat familiar fashion with a struggle for the Rovers to get it forward of the centre. Therry Penola were moving the ball with better precision into the forward line with great purpose, while for the Rovers, the Goal Ump was looking for his butchers coat, and the players were butchering the ball. The backline however were holding strong and repelled many attacks deep in defence. Wheels providing pressure and Lynchy providing great spoils. Ballard was dashing across the half back and delivered well into the forward line. Therry finally prevailed with a goal after several minutes while HR finally got it into the forward line at the 8 minute mark with these forays ending in points but it looked like the Rovers were starting to click mid qtr. Jacko took a good mark on the point line and after a false start converted the first major for the Rovers at the 15 minute mark. Shortly after KP found some space in the forward pocket to kick the Rovers 2nd for the qtr. Given the Rovers started with a strong breeze worth 2-3 goals it looked like Penola had the early advantage in the game despite trailing by 8 points. But could the bigger bodies keep it up for 4 qtrs?
The 2nd quarter started brilliantly for the Rovers who got the first clearance to Bright who passed well to Jacko who converted. All within 1 minute of play. Finally a fast start to a quarter. It didn’t take too long for the ball to come forward again and great pressure by the forwards resulted in a panicked Penola backline giving TJ a chance who converted in heavy traffic. Therry rallied a little with a goal but the Rovers were back in attack soon after with Jacko marking well out but a grumpy Therry defender conceded a 25m penalty to gift Jack a goal. With a grumpy Therry player sent to the bench they did actually start to settle down again and they finished well with 2 more goals late in the quarter to set up an interesting last half as they trailed by only 5 points.
Despite kicking into the breeze, Therry started well again and had the first goal on board to hit the lead again. The match tightened up for a while and it was end to end footy for a while until quick movement into the Rovers forward line was seized by “the Butler” Jensen who used his speed to run into an open goal. Therry however were using their strength well and soon after got a quickish reply to level the scores. The Rovers than had a fairly dominant patch but apart from a somewhat fortunate free kick to the Butler in the goal square (for a goal) they had a couple of goal shots just touched on the line for minor scores. The Rovers had 6 scoring shots to 3 but at the end of the quarter had only increased their lead by 3 points so probably didn’t make the most of their chances and the handy breeze. Tate was good for the quarter, Reinetts showed his class at various stages and Broadstock was winning his share of tap outs.
With the visitors kicking with the aid of a strong breeze, it looked like it would be a big last quarter with advantage to them and trailing by just eight points. Or could the smaller but speedier Rovers use their pace to run out the game? Therry certainly wanted it badly and they had a goal within one minute which certainly made things interesting. It was heavily contested for a few minutes as each side made their claims but then in HR teamwork play of the day started by TJ out of congested traffic across half back got it over to big brother RJ who, well protected by shepherders, took a couple of bounces in front of the home crowd (who actually couldn’t care as they were actually enjoying a nice lunch and comfy reds) and passed to Jacko who then delivered long into the open forward line & goal square where KP used his pace to evade and goal. NICE! But with the wind, Therry soon responded with another goal and it was back to a narrow 2 point margin to HR. Game on. The Rovers did respond well getting it out of the centre which led to another Jacko goal to give some 8 pt breathing space. Sensing time was running out Therry then started to kick long through the centre and this put the Rovers defenders under a lot of one-on-one pressure but well lead by Jewell and Lynchy they managed to stop any scores and repelled well. Getting the ball forward the Rovers small forwards had the Therry backs feeling the pressure and ended in them coughing up the ball as Zaina pounced and goaled. It was a very open last 10 minutes of pressure footy but Therry were unable to convert (4 points) while Jacko finished the contest with a great goal from a boundary throw in.
HAMPTON ROVERS 2.3 5.5 7.7 11.12 (78)
THERRY PENOLA 1.1 4.5 7.6 8.10 (58)
Goal Kickers: N. Jackson 4, K. Pinto 3, J. Hemsley 2, T. Jones, J. Zaina
Best Players: T. Jones, N. Jewell, C. Tate, N. Jackson, R. Lynch, D. Ballard