On a big day for the club, it was a case of the one that got away for the Rovers Seniors, missing an opportunity at the death to take the win, but instead coming away with a draw against Old Ivanhoe at Boss James Reserve.
The two sides met just three weeks ago and on that day, the Rovers were completely outclassed and went down by 13 goals and also lost young Ross Sklavenitis for the season with a knee reconstruction.
This time around, it looked like at three quarter time, the Rovers were in with a big chance as the boys have in most last quarters this season, come home well and outscored the opposition.
As has become the norm, Old Ivanhoe jumped the Rovers in the first quarter and the boys were lucky the deficit at the break was only a couple of goals. Hampton’s only goal came from some good work from Ryan Fogarty who created the turnover, got the ball out to James Prosser, who kicked to the square where Matty Rieniets marked on the line. Prosser and Scott Ebbott were both in fine form and doing hard work around the middle of the ground. Similarly, Ant Folino was knocking up getting possessions and the work he was doing inside 50 was not being rewarded on the scoreboard.
Great to see three debutantes all performing well in their first game in the seniors. Jack Garrow, having played a few games in the reserves, looked at home from the outset, he did some good work in the midfield. Max Coughlin, a tall, boney forward took some great marks against much bigger opponents and no doubt has a great future with the Rovers. Harry De Wolf, was a surprise, a big bloke for an U19 and had impact as soon as he came onto the ground. A difficult introduction for the debutants, as Ivanhoe are one of the stronger clubs, size-wise, in Premier C.
The second quarter was goal for goal once the boys again overcame the slow start. Harry McIntyre took the pass from Scott Ebbott and kicked truly, Jack Garrow kicked his first goal in the seniors when he goaled from outside 50, Prosser baulked and weaved and goaled from 30m, Ant Folino, from a mark outside 50 split the big sticks and Matt Rieniets kicked his second from a free plus a 50m penalty.
Down back, Ben Traeger-Haig was being his usual miserly self and stopped many Ivanhoe forward thrusts. Ivanhoe’s captain, playing deep forward, was causing trouble with his strong overhead marking made easier by the good delivery from the Ivanhoe midfielders.
At the break, Rich Atkins, who was playing well on the HBF, was sent to Ivanhoe’s skipper and his right fist must be battered and bruised from the number of times he made the clearing punch after half time. With that avenue to goal effectively closed, the match tightened up with only six goals scored after half time.
The Jones boys, Tim and Corey, were prominent both through the midfield and up forward giving the Rovers drive, but the boys just couldn’t put the score on the board. The skipper Adam McNeil, playing both forward and back was getting a lot of the ball and creating opportunities that his teammates just didn’t capitalise on.
It was a tough, hard fought battle for that last hour and with little scoring. The Rovers seemed to have the majority of the play and when Sam Bradford kicked truly from straight in front, the scores were level with 25 minutes played.
The ball went forward again and Ant Folino was given a free kick after a high tackle – about 45 and on a slight angle. Despite the quarter just 27 minutes in, the minimal scoring meant the siren sounded as he walked in to kick – maybe that put him off, or it was the cramp he had suffered earlier, or the high tackle, but it wasn’t his best and the ball unfortunately fell short, confirming a draw between the two sides.
“We were probably the better team, we just turned it over … we were kicking it to them a fair bit, which is frustrating. We also had a lot of snaps and set shots that didn’t hit the mark … we just couldn’t get it done. In the last quarter, we had a lot of the play, we just couldn’t quite finish it” said Rovers coach Anthony Quon.
Still, two points is better than none, and with a winnable game against the bottom side PEGS next week, the Rovers should be able to keep their finals hopes alive for 2019.
HAMPTON ROVERS 1.1 6.5 8.10 10.11 (71)
OLD IVANHOE 3.2 7.2 9.7 10.11 (71)
Goal Kickers: M. Rieniets 2, H. McIntyre 2, A. Folino 2, J. Prosser, M. Coughlin, S. Bradford, J. Garrow
Best Players: R. Fogarty, S. Ebbott, J. Prosser, A. Folino, A. McNeil, R. Atkins
The Reserves were looking forward to another tussle with Old Ivanhoe after knocking over the top side last time they met. Trailing by just two points at half time, the visitors turned it on in the third term, kicking five goals to none to set up a match-winning lead. Despite the Rovers kicking the only three goals of the final term, it was Old Ivanhoe running out 18-point winners. Adrian Hug kicked two while Michael Timmons was best for the Rovers.
The Under 19s were under-strength due to a number of players up in the seniors. The Rovers started slowly against Marcellin, down by six goals at quarter time and five at the main break. The boys did come back strong though, but failed to get the win, going down by nine points, for just their second loss of the season. Cam Morris was best for the Rovers, kicking five goals.
The Senior Women recorded a big 10 goal win over Prahran Assumption at Castlefield Reserve. Read the full match report
The Thirds faced a Glen Eira side at Packer Park who had stacked their side for a milestone game, and with the Rovers low on numbers, were no match, going down to the Saints by 67 points. Still, a great effort by the boys in trying circumstances, doing the club proud.