The Rovers Under 19s were back at the Boss for Round 14 in almost perfect conditions – cool but thankfully dry and no wind.
After some pretty ordinary performances in recent weeks, it was time to re-focus and get back to playing Rovers footy. Thankfully there was a little extra energy in the rooms this week – 4 players with birthdays and Ben Marron playing his 150th game all for Rovers and Tate Gramaconi also with his 150th – 139 for East Sandringham and now 11 games for Rovers. A great achievement for two young men just emerging from junior football.
The team were also wearing black armbands for Bonnie Rogerson, mother of David, Peter & Ian Rogerson, all past players and current members, who passed away this week. David & Peter are Life Members.
A WIN was all we would accept yesterday for all the reasons given above.
Last time against South Melbourne Districts, we were (frankly) slow and lazy – resulting in a loss that simply shouldn’t have happened. The opening few minutes of this game showed clearly that wasn’t to be the case today. Dominating the ruck, Ben Allan allowed quick clearances from our Mids and rapid entries into our forward 50. The Marron brothers combined well to put 3 goals on the board in quick succession with Max Coughlin and Cam Morris also chiming in with majors.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic though, South Melbourne recovered slightly to stay in touch and would quickly punish any lapses in defence or inaccurate kicking from the Rovers. They switched Ruckmen to good effect and a couple of their on-ballers were fast and damaging. It was going to be an arm-wrestle…..
Clearly unhappy about being ‘jumped’ in the first quarter, South Melb came out blazing and outscored us 6 goals to 3 in the second. Despite both the Marron lads and Cam Morris goaling again, the momentum had clearly swung in the opposition’s favour. Defenders allowing their opponents far too much space and players simply not working hard enough on transitions saw a handy lead evaporate by the half time break.
A re-focus at half time saw a more concerted effort from our lads in the third. Tom Goldsmith was having a cracker – solid in defence and excellent reading of the play to rebound strongly for us. Oscar Donald was finding some very solid form too, even bagging a much-needed goal this quarter and on his way to 3 for the day. Two goals also to Max Coughlin helped tick the board over but poor kicking overall saw us squander quite a few opportunities. With a fairly tight contest on our hands, accuracy was important but definitely lacking.
With just a 13 point lead going into the final quarter, South Melbourne were obviously in with a good chance. They had better structure around the stoppages and the ability to move the ball very quickly. Our tackling effort however was proving effective and looking to move the ball across the ground certainly opened the game up. At times, instead of simply blazing away down the line, the lads steadied and worked the ball more slowly forward, building momentum until finding a way through the opposition’s defences. It was still an arm wrestle of a game but a good reminder to the boys that it takes 4 quarters of effort to win games.
Cam Morris was proving to be a great target up forward – timing his leads beautifully and sticking strong overhead marks – it was a pleasure to watch. He added two more goals to his tally and ensured we stayed ahead of the opposition.
Both Max Coughlin and Oscar Donald dominated with genuine Captains’ games but Tom Marron was in great form and got the votes today – out wide in his ‘domain’ and drilling his passes into the Forwards, well played Tom!
Honourable mentions must go to Matt Spaziani, Harry Crisp (from the Seniors and a very welcome addition to the side this week!), Ben Marron, Mitchell Hall and Samme Raghdo who all had important ‘moments’ when they were desperately needed.
In the end, a close contest and an important 12 point victory but the real lesson from this game as we head toward Finals, is that you cannot rest for even a moment against a good team. It’s a four-quarter-effort and that’s what gave us the win this week and 2nd spot on the ladder.
Looking forward to taking on PEGS next week in an early game.
Thank you again to our volunteers: Boundary Umpire – Brad Young, Time Keeper – Wilson Family, Oranges & lollies – Melnjak, Water runner – Lenny! Interchange steward – Jason Cave, Runner – Will Morris
HAMPTON ROVERS 5.5 8.6 11.10 14.15 (99)
SOUTH MELBOURNE 2.2 6.5 7.9 13.9 (87)
Goal Kickers: C. Morris 3, T. Marron 3, M. Coughlin 3, O. Donald 3, B. Marron 2
Best Players: T. Marron, M. Coughlin, D. Melnjak, B. Marron, O. Donald, T. Goldsmith