Ormond defeat Rovers and advance to Grand Final

Hampton Rovers had a disappointing day out, going down to arch-rivals Ormond by 29 points in the Semi Final at Elsternwick Park on Saturday. The Rovers must now front up against Oakleigh in the Prelim Final for a change to earn promotion and a Grand Final berth.

From the first bounce, it was evident the Rovers were flat.  A sitter was missed in the first couple of minutes and from there, Ormond seemed more assured in their ball handling and movement and Hampton were playing catch up from the outset.  Yes, scores were level at quarter time, largely due to a bullet-like pass from Kyle Pinto that hit Ant Folino lace out for goal and Clemo, late in the quarter, popping the neat pass over to Cam Hetherington who kicked truly.  Otherwise, the Rovers were on the back foot and the backs did well to defend against the unrelenting pressure of the Ormond mids who just kept moving the ball forward.

In the first 10 minutes of the second quarter, Hampton peppered the goals.  But apart from back pocket Liam McCartney, who drifted forward to snap a much-needed goal, and a good handball from Ben Kneebush to Christian Carnovale who goaled, the boys were reactive.  Ormond dominated the later part of the quarter, kicking 4.5 while holding Hampton scoreless.  Josh Broadley was working hard in the ruck, yet the mids just weren’t at the fall of the ball and time and time again the Ormond midfielders whipped the loose ball away through a chain of handballs that made Hampton look slow.

Matt Rieniets was putting in down back, Oscar Roberts was having a battle with his opponent, James Prosser was, as always, hard and tough and giving his man little space but the boys down back weren’t helped by the lack of pressure applied by Hampton’s forwards and mids, as Ormond moved the ball through the midfield with ease.

At the main break, coach Anthony Quon was upbeat and made it clear that his chargers weren’t playing their best footy yet we were still in the game. Just that they were making more errors than the opposition and they were making us pay.

The third term started with Ormond bombarding the scoreboard and fortunately for Hampton, they were inaccurate and at the midpoint, the Rovers seemed to have weathered the storm. While Ormond had the majority of the scoring shots, each side had only kicked one goal.  Then the tide turned.  Ormond banged on 5.2 plus a couple of out of bounds without Hampton troubling the scoreboard.  More worrying was that in that period, Ormond took eight marks inside their forward 50 and Hampton just couldn’t take a trick.  The Rovers forwards were starved of opportunities while Ormond dominated through the midfield.

At the final break, a few changes were made. Matt Rieniets was moved forward, Rich Atkins played further up the field, Cowboy started to get more of the ball and the team work that had been missing all day started to reappear.  It wasn’t helped when Ormond kicked the first goal after the break, but from then on it was all Rovers with goals to Matt Rieniets (2), Ant Folino and Rich Atkins.  Special mention should be made of the marking clinic Richard Atkins offered on the supporters’ wing in the last quarter, with at least six strong contested marks.  The Rovers battled the quarter out and outscored Ormond 4.6 to 1.4, but when you consider that at the one minute mark of the last quarter, Ormond were eight goals up, the last quarter was in reality a formality.

A hard game to pick best players where no one really was prominent for the full four quarters, although Matt Rieniets took the honours of best-on for the Rovers. Great to see the Rovers army out in force on Saturday in the perfect conditions at the new-look VAFA HQ.

With Oakleigh holding on to defeat Therry Penola by one point in a thriller on Sunday, the Rovers now take on the Krushers in the Preliminary Final on Saturday at Trevor Barker Oval for a spot in the Grand Final and promotion to Premier C.

HAMPTON ROVERS  2.3  4.6  5.8  9.14 (68)
ORMOND  2.3  6.8  12.15  13.19 (97)
Goal Kickers: M. Rieniets 2, R. Atkins 2, A. Folino 2, L. McCartney, C. Carnovale, C. Hetherington
Best Players: M. Rieniets, J. Prosser, L. McCartney, A. Folino, C. Carnovale, K. Pinto

It was a tight contest in the Reserves. The Rovers started well and gave it their all, but it was the minor premiers Ormond who finished stronger to claim a 15-point victory and advance to the Grand Final. The Rovers will take on West Brunswick in the Prelim Final next weekend. Read the full report >

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