A great day for the club on Saturday with four wins, including the Seniors defeating Mazenod by one point in a heart-stopper, to make it consecutive victories.
It was a hard slog from the opening bounce where neither side could break free of the opponents on the scoreboard. The first quarter contained a litany of errors from the Rovers and despite having the majority of the play, it was Mazenod who took advantage from their limited opportunities to open up the biggest margin of the day. Hampton’s backs were loose and when they had the ball there was some atrocious delivery. The Rovers’ only major came from Ben Kneebush’s free kick when he was nearly decapitated in a tackle. A goal on the siren from the Nodders extended their lead to 13 points and they looked to be in control.
In the second term, the Rovers switched on and with the aid of the breeze, managed to grind to a four-point margin at the main break. Two quick goals at the start of the quarter gave the boys some momentum but they still struggled to take full advantage of it. Ryan Fogarty earned a free for a great tackle and popped through the goal from the boundary line and second-gamer Ross Sklavenitis marked strongly at the 40m mark and kicked his first major for the seniors.
Danny Corp took a nice mark on the lead and split the sticks from 50m. Our rucks were holding sway, whether it was Charlie Miles using his weight to great effect or Josh Broadley just jumping over his opponents, they were both causing Mazenod a headache. Down back, skipper Adam McNeil was back to his best form having recovered from a crook shoulder and was again the general at half back.
After the main break, Mazenod woke up and fortunately for Hampton, just couldn’t put goals on the scoreboard. Three behinds at the start of the quarter and four in a row half way through the quarter was wasteful, but generally the result of the desperation of the Rovers back six, who weren’t giving the Mazenod forwards time or space to settle.
Hampton’s goals came from Richard Atkins from a set shot and Ant Folino who roved the pack just outside the goal square and ran into the open goal. Our quick midfielders in Harry Hodges, Scotty Ebbott and Ant Folino were in and under at all the contests. Four points in favour of the Nodders at the final break and it was anyone’s game.
In the first 30 seconds of the final quarter, Josh Broadley cleared from the centre bounce, Matty Rieniets marked and kicked truly. It was then goal for goal with Tim Jones, James Prosser and Ross’ second goal eliciting the chant of “Spiirrrosss” from the healthy gathering of Rovers supporters behind the goals.
At the 27-minute mark, Sammy Bradford’s goal from the square put Hampton six points up and the Rovers looked just about home. Then, on and on the quarter dragged, both sides nearly scored but the time kept running. At the 32 min mark, Mazenod, totally against the play, went forward (one of their few entries in the final 10 minutes) and from a free kick outside 50, against the breeze, kicked the goal to level the scores.
A draw was on the cards as the ball was bounced in the centre as the clock ticked over 35 minutes, it was great desperation by both teams to break the deadlock but at the 36 minute mark, Josh Broadley plucked the ball from a ball up and threw it to his boot. The resulting point was greeted with the biggest cheer of the day and with 11 seconds left on the clock, the Rovers snuck home for a much-needed win.
The win sees the Rovers improve their record to 2-3 and jump to sixth position on the Premier C ladder. Next week, the boys are at Boss James Reserve again, looking to make it three wins in a row, hosting Ajax.
HAMPTON ROVERS 1.6 5.13 7.14 12.16 (88)
MAZENOD 3.7 5.8 8.14 12.15 (87)
Goal Kickers: S. Bradford 2, R. Sklavenitis 2, J. Prosser, M. Rieniets, B. Kneebush, R. Fogarty, R. Atkins, D. Corp, T. Jones, A. Folino
Best Players: J. Broadley, S. Ebbott, H. Hodges, D. Corp, C. Miles, A. McNeil
The Reserves, Thirds and Under 19s also recorded wins on Saturday while the Seniors Women lost by one point away from home. Possibly the first time the club has won four matches on a Saturday, and agonisingly short of all senior teams winning on the same day.
In the early game at the Boss, the Reserves kicked three goals to one in the final term to run out 13-point winners over Mazenod. In a physical affair, there wasn’t much in it all day and it was the visitors who held a one-point advantage at the final change.
However, it the Rovers who finished the stronger team, to improve their record to 4-1. The goals were spread around with eight individual goal kickers while Jesse Donald, Callum Tate and Harry Robertson among the best.
The Thirds returned to the winners list, with a 25-point win over Glen Eira. It could have been more, with horrible kicking by the Rovers, who had 10 more scoring shots. Harrison McIntyre the star with three goals and best on ground in his first game of the season.
The Under 19s kept their unbeaten run intact, with a strong win over third-placed South Melbourne at Castlefield Reserve. View the full match report and photos
The Senior Women tried hard by failed to play their best football, going down to Prahran Assumption by one point in a low-scoring affair. Kavanagh and Bahn with a goal each, Chloe McLaren named best for the Rovers.
The day started with our annual Mothers’ Day Lunch. It was great to see over 85 Rovers mums, dads and supporters hitting the Boss to enjoy one of our great Home Game Luncheon’s of the year.