The Hampton Rovers Seniors recorded their first win of the 2019 season on Saturday, with a gutsy 24-point win over Old Camberwell in wet conditions at Gordon Barnard Reserve.
You could sense it from the opening bounce… the return of that desperate team of Rovers from 2018 who went within a hairsbreadth of taking out the big one. The tackling was ferocious, they ran and ran, the mistakes, while still a few were camouflaged by the atrocious conditions.
The back six did a fine job all day. The return of Cowboy to HBF, Crispy just doing what he does week in week out, Traegs back in and cool and controlled all day, Oscar Roberts holding down the key centre half back position and we were looking good. Cam Hetherington did a sensational job at full back, restricting his opponent to one or two marks for the day and even then he kicked it out of bounds.
Sam Bradford started the game on fire, a centre clearance from a leaping Josh Broadley, Ant Folino out of the middle and pressure from the forwards saw the free to Bubbles who calmly slotted it from the boundary line in the opening minute. A few minutes later he kicked his second with a clever kick off the ground. Hampton had the advantage of the breeze but the rain all but nullified the advantage. James Prosser was playing a great game through the midfield and his second and third efforts were sensational. Matt Rieniets, roaming half forward took a couple of strong marks but we just did not take the full benefit.
At the break, the Rovers were seven points up and the travelling supporters’ hearts were in their mouths wondering what was going to happen – would the wind be a factor? They didn’t wait long, within 15 seconds Scotty Ebbott intercepted the pass and waltzed in for his first goal. The Camberwell boys took advantage of the breeze and for the next 20 minutes dominated. They had seven scoring shots to Hampton’s one, to bring our lead down to a couple of points when Sammy again, picked up the loose ball, steadied and kicked truly.
The work of our backs was fantastic, yes, the opposition was on top, but they weren’t given an easy shot at goal at any stage. If that level of desperation can continue, many more wins will come our way. Ryan Fogarty was having another blinder in the middle or down back, a return to those U19 days when he picked up a division B&F. Broadley was leaping all over the OC rucks, Ant Folino and Harry Hodges were buzzing around the packs while up forward, Corpy and Tim Jones were attacking the balls that came forward notwithstanding the delivery to them was just a bit too sloppy. At the main break, the lead had been extended and in the rooms, you could feel the confidence and enthusiasm of the players.
The third quarter was going to be crucial. Hampton had the wind and needed to score. Ant Folino worked hard for a free just outside 50, he went back and drilled it. A good start. The home side was defending frantically but you could see the Rovers had the ascendancy and it was just a matter of time. The next goal came when Rich Atkins smothered the attempted kick in, picked up the loose ball and ran into the open goal. Down back, second gamer Blake Bergman was growing in confidence. Some great intercepts, hard on his man he seemed to be enjoying the challenge. The Rovers still had a battle on their hands and it took until the 31st minute when Joel Melnjak earned one of the few frees given by the umpires and banged it through from outside 50. Hampton had a 24-point margin at the final break.
The final quarter was an arm wrestle. The conditions deteriorated, the players tired and both sides only managed a goal each for the quarter. Hampton’s came from a clever pass from Matty Rieniets that hit Ben Kneebush lace out 25m from goal straight in front.
Spiros Sklavenitis had a great debut game for the Rovers. Only 17 and part of the Oakleigh Chargers squad, he started slowly in his first game of senior footy, but after half time he showed the talent he had. A number of strong marks at or about 50m, some great work when the ball came to ground and if he had his kicking boots, could have had 4 goals for the day.
After losing the opening three games to top-four opposition, three of the next four games are against teams currently occupying the bottom four positions of the Premier C ladder. This Saturday, the Rovers host Mazenod at Boss James Reserve.
OLD CAMBERWELL 1.2
2.8 3.9 4.12
HAMPTON ROVERS 2.2 4.4 7.10 8.12 (60)
Goal Kickers: S. Bradford 3, J. Melnjak, R. Atkins, S. Ebbott, A. Folino, B. Kneebush
Best Players: R. Fogarty, J. Broadley, J. Prosser, T. Jones, S. Bradford, C. Hetherington
A really strong performance from the Ressies where they battled not only the opposition but the worst conditions, weather-wise we’ve seen since probably at Prahran Assumption a couple of years ago.
Finn McMaster was on fire in the first quarter. A free resulting in a goal and then a great battling effort to get the ball out to Darcy Merlo who kicked accurately from the pocket. The skipper, Nick Jewell was throwing himself into the contest and stopped a number of OC’s forward forays. Lynchy at full back was returning to that form of his younger days winning the ball in the air and on the ground. Huggy was prominent around the packs in conditions made for him. Against the wind, a solid quarter where he gave the opposition little chance.
The second started in sensational fashion when JLov collected his tap, delivered to Finn who goaled on the run from outside 50. A few minutes later Darcy took a strong mark and with the assistance of the wind popped through his second. Not to be outdone, Finn picked up the loose ball, went left then right then back onto his left to slot his 3rd goal in just over a quarter and a half of footy.
Our backs were holding firm, Harry Robertson given a big job at CHB was enjoying the role, Josh Pav with a roving commission across half back was getting plenty of possession. Sam Taylor in the back pocket was providing good cover and not letting the OC forwards any easy possession. The conditions suited Jack Zaina. The hardness needed to get the loose ball or stop the opposition when they had it suited him to the ground.
In the third against the wind, the backs held firm and the opposition didn’t score. Dan Terjung kicked our only goal of the quarter when he snapped truly at the 5 minute mark. Great to see Corey Jones pull down a number of strong marks, while the Duck was in and under the packs and the opposition’s skin! 3.2 in front and kicking with the wind, it was looking like a strong win for the ressies. They didn’t let the supporters down. Darcy kicked his third, the Duck finessed and passed to Corey Jones who missed only to shortly after passing to Nick Jackson who kicked his first for the day. The quarter ended with Huggy and Jess Donald both opening their accounts and extending the lead to 41 points.
Old Camberwell 2.2-14 3.2-20
Hampton Rovers 2.1-13 5.3-33 6.6-42 10.9-69
Goal Kickers: F. McMaster 3, D. Merlo 3, D. Terjung, N. Jackson, J. Donald, A. Hug
Best Players: R. Lynch, F. McMaster, J. Lovig, H. Robertson, T. Sharry, C. Jones
The Senior Women played the undefeated second-placed Preston at Castlefield Reserve and two things stood out in this game. The first is that we had more scoring shots than the opposition, second, when Nicky Clarke came off with an ankle in the first quarter, we didn’t have a bench. Also coach Cuz pointed out that Zara, who had only ever play down back, popped through 2 goals for the day in a great effort.
Overall, it was a very encouraging performance from the women and the coach is confident that with a full side, we will give all sides in our Division a run for their money. Taylan played her usual dogged game racking up possessions in the midfield, Zara was great up forward and Bree, returning from a broken nose, was fearless down back. Our best was Kristy who was in and under all day and gave great drive from half back. All 19 contributed to a solid performance and our improvement continues.
The Thirds had a tough day with only 20 players available and a few of our players pulling on the boots for the first game for the year with little fitness. After half time, we were down to 19 players and by three-quarter time we had nobody left to go on the field. The boys did really well considering our numbers and put up a really good effort. We lost by four goals in the end, but the boys fought it out all the way.
It was good to see the boys so hard and determined at the footy. Brandon Scott played a great game along with Matt Care (three goals) – both in their first games for the year, Henry Brayshaw and Lachie Delisle, not to mention the Big Fish kicking four goals. Final score Therry Penola 96-72 Rovers.
The Under 19s maintained their unbeaten start to the 2019 season, with an away victory over Old Geelong at Como Park. Read the full match report.