On a beautiful day for footy, there was a lot of sunshine and pre-match nerves for players and supporters at Elsternwick Park. After a more than 10 goal drubbing last week, the odds were with Ormond.
The first five minutes of the game were a deadlock between both sides with a little nerves perhaps causing some turnovers but generally very congested traffic due to strong tackling. In two instances, Ormond had broken clear but great run down tackles by TJ and Hodgey stopped the flow and they were rewarded with frees. The first goal went to the Rovers by Jacko, who snapped it in the goal square after good entry by Hodge using his speed to break clear and deliver. It wasn’t too long after when Fallon scored a similar snap goal – quick entry and great forward pressure meant a spilled ball and goal.
But Ormond started to threaten. Their tall forwards were getting some opportunities and finally they marked closer to goal to bring up their first major. They then got their second with some good link up play through the middle with hard running to give the Rover back poor chances to defend.
Overall, the Rovers had a little more of the play, but Ormond’s quick skilled entry into the forward line meant they made better of their opportunities. It didn’t help that the Rovers also posted two out of bounds on the full from very gettable set shots at goal. The umps seem to have decided that finals footy means fewer free kicks so the play was left to go on in many cases when frees either way would usually have been paid or an earlier ball up.
The second quarter was pretty similar. Shem got the first goal from a distance out after a long handball receive gave him plenty of space to kick from. But the Ormond forwards were getting excellent delivery in plenty of space due to quick and efficient ball entry from the middle of the ground. They got their first from a mark and could have got a couple more but for inaccurate kicking. But the Rovers were battling away and it was a battle with finals tempo the go. Fallon got his second for the quarter and the first from a set shot from a good distance and a severe angle.
Ormond finished the quarter stronger again with good skill creating great link up play through the middle and delivering lace out footy to hard leading forwards. This got them two more goals to take a seven point lead into the main break. Anyone’s game at the main break.
The third quarter started well for the Rovers. A clever tap by Stewart set up Fallon for his third goal while Tate got a good goal after a strong mark. Shortly after, Culvenor did a brilliant intercept across the wing (when it looked like Ormond were away) and he kicked well to Ned who handballed to Jacko in the goal square for his second. He shortly after brought up his third with a good pack mark at the top of the square. Suddenly, the Rovers had a three goal break on Ormond and looked in control.
But just as suddenly, the Umps decided it was time to start paying frees for the most vague of reasons and it brought momentum to Ormond who quickly kicked four unanswered goals to resume the lead.
Zaina provided the goal of the day late in the third term. With an Ormond player attempting to break away, he managed to strip the ball from the defender in a forward dive, jumped up, did a couple of pirouettes then snapped a 40m goal! Unfortunately, Ormond then spoilt the party with two late goals for a comfortable lead.
The last quarter was all set for a close finish. The Rovers were absolutely dominant for the first 10 minutes with the ball in the half. Unfortunately, some due to pressure but some still gettable goals were only turned into three behinds. The poor forwards were often made to sit under very high balls, making it easier for the Ormond defenders to punch the ball clear.
As often happens, the congested play in the forward line meant it was hard to break clear. But when Ormond did break clear, they then had plenty of space to work into and as such, great delivery into their forward line resulted in two goals in a couple of minutes. It did look like game over, but the Rovers didn’t give up. Tate was dominating. TJ did a great intercept and goaled and shortly after Zaina scored his second for the day to bring it back to a two goal deficit. Unfortunately, time ran out for the Rovers and Ormond ran out with a 15 point win to advance to the Grand Final.
The two sides had the same number of scoring shots and the Rovers had their chances. Ormond were more efficient with the ball and gave great delivery to the tall forwards for set shots whereas the Rovers shots were more often snaps or on the run. The Rovers need to improve ball transfer efficiency to get back on the winning list next weekend when they take on West Brunswick in the Preliminary Final.
HAMPTON ROVERS 2.1 4.2 9.3 11.8 (74)
ORMOND 2.1 5. 11.4 14.5 (89)
Goal Kickers: N. Fallon 3, N. Jackson 3, J. Zaina 2, T. Jones, S. Curry, C. Tate
Best Players: C. Tate, C. Miles, J. Zaina, H. Hodges, T. Jones, N. Jewell