Round 15 found the Rovers U19s away against PEGS at Keilor for another early game.
Although we’d had two wins over them already, we knew from recent results they’d improved significantly since our last meeting, so it would be no easy game. This was amply demonstrated with first blood to PEGS and a follow-up not long after in the first quarter. They were clearly hungry for the pill and had a couple of very handy midfielders who were certainly ‘up and about’. Far too slow a start from our lads, as it quickly became clear there was some serious football to be played today.
Thankfully our lads didn’t panic and slowly worked their way into the game from an early ‘kick and hope’ approach to more structured football. Over-use of handballs also saw costly turnovers and while not ideal, there was only a kick or so in it. A goal to Cam Morris after yet another brilliantly-timed lead kept us in touch at the first break.
Some fairly ‘frank’ words from Coach Sam at the break saw the lad’s focus return in the second quarter. Ben Marron clearly enjoying his role up forward this game and quality delivery from his teammates saw him add 3 goals to the board to just one from PEGS. Better tackling pressure and more settled kicking from the team, particularly Max Coughlin, Chris Perkins, Lachie Fraser and Joe Eccles resulted in a more cohesive brand of football through the second and yielded a small lead coming into the half time break.
Tackling pressure was to be a focus this week and with PEGS moving the ball far more quickly across the ground than last time, our lads really needed to lift the work rate. Thankfully this increase in effort resulted in us outscoring them for yet another quarter. Tom Goldsmith’s ability to read the play has been excellent this season and was certainly leading the charge with his tackling pressure. This lift in effort saw reward for 5 separate goal kickers in the third quarter – Pat Starcevich, Lachie Fraser, Liam O’Driscoll, Chris Perkins and another for Ben Marron.
What appeared to be a reasonable lead at three quarter time was not quite as solid as it first appeared – PEGS had very clearly improved and were coming at us hard – two goals and a couple of close misses had them clearly believing they could roll us in the last. The urgency increased all over the ground and Mo Labib proved invaluable by gut-running back to get a spoiling hand on what was looking like a certain goal for PEGS. It came at just the right time, allowing us to rebound and push forward again. A late goal to Joe Eccles sealed the deal for us, a win by 19 points that was far closer than the scoreboard would suggest.
A better team effort as the game wore on but a well-deserved B.O.G to Chris Perkins on his welcome return to the side, with Ben Marron, Mo Labib (in one of his best games yet!!), Max Coughlin, Lachie Fraser and Joe Eccles rounds out our top 6 for the day – well done fellas!
So, another win which sees us hold our second place on the ladder…..but nothing is guaranteed and a lesson that slow starts, particularly as we edge toward Finals, can be very dangerous. Good teams will make you pay dearly for any lapses and it is clearly something to work on over coming weeks.
Thanks once again to our Volunteers who made the trip out to Keilor, Scorer – A.Donald, Boundary Umpire – R. Bergman, Goal Umpire – Mark Starcevitch, Interchange Steward – M.Marron, Goal Stats – S.Marron, Oranges & lollies – De Woolf Family, Bus driver – S.Marron
Next week sees us away again, up against Old Xaverians at Stradbroke Park, East Kew.
PEGS FC 3.2
4.4 6.6 8.7 (55)
HAMPTON ROVERS 1.3 4.8 9.9 10.14 (74)
Goal Kickers: B. Marron 4, C. Morris, C. Perkins, P. Starcevich, L. O’Driscoll, J. Eccles, L. Fraser
Best Players: C. Perkins, B. Marron, M. Labib, M. Coughlin, L. Fraser, J. Eccles