After a disappointing Round 6 effort, we were all keen to see how the Rovers U19s shaped-up this week, against 6th-placed Old Xaverians at Boss James Reserve.
Unfortunately, another slow start from the Rovers saw Old Xavs clear quickly out of the centre to snag some easy early goals with our boys slow to return fire. The boys began to gather themselves later in the quarter and delivered to Jacob Gray and Max Coughlin for two goals.
Some fairly ‘frank’ words from Coach Sam Care at quarter time sharpened the boys focus and resulted in far more of the ball in our forward half the next quarter. Two more goals (to Jacob Gray and Ben Marron) whilst keeping Old Xavs goalless, was a positive. The scoreboard was ticking over but minor scores were appearing a little too often.
Cam Morris and Dillon Melnjak were warming to their task, providing solid tackling pressure all over the ground and strong forward drive.
Mitch Hall was having a day out, with excellent tackling and repeated 2nd/3rd efforts. Tanner Ellis also fiercely contesting everything that came his way and his leg speed at times was amazing, catching more than a few opponents by complete surprise. An honourable mention to Matt Spaziani, who is a very determined competitor and left many much bigger opponents wishing they hadn’t tangled with him, great work Matt!
The second half saw the boys come out more composed and more determined to play their brand of football. Ben Allan was dominating the Ruck and providing clean exits for our boys – Ben Marron clearly enjoying the on-ball role and proved damaging through the middle, along with a spell up forward saw him finish with 3 goals for the game.
Lachie Carrigan had one of his best games yet, bagging a well-deserved goal in the third and is proving to be a valuable member of the 19 squad. Continuing to keep Old Xavs goalless, our boys certainly had the lion’s share of the ball but goals were still hard to buy. Jacob Gray certainly contributed in that regard and is going from strength-to-strength – proving to be a formidable Forward by bagging 6 goals for the game, including a miracle goal from deep on the boundary line. A well-deserved B.O.G. this week!
It was encouraging to see the lads settle after a rough start to the game and the strong tackling pressure from the entire team paid dividends with their opponents becoming more fumbly and uncertain the longer the game went on. Still some lapses in the game-plan when put under pressure early, but their ability to re-focus and come home strongly is a positive.
Mention must be made of the lads in the backline this week – all have been solid this season. Holding a strong backline together is an often-overlooked role but these fellas have been providing solid defence and great rebound for the mid-fielders – great work lads!
In the end, a comfortable win but unfortunately Tanner Ellis who has been playing so well, was taken out behind play and is now on our (growing) injury list. Hopefully not too serious and we wish him a speedy recovery.
HAMPTON ROVERS 2.1-13 4.8-32 6.9-45 11.13-79
OLD XAVERIANS 4.1-25 4.3-27 4.5-29 4.7-31
Goal Kickers: J. Gray 6, B. Marron 3, M. Coughlin 2
Best Players: J. Gray, B. Marron, T. Ellis, C. Morris, D. Melnjak, M. Hall
Thanks to our Volunteers again: Will Morris (Runner), Brad Young (Boundary Umpire), Susan Touey.