For the second consecutive week, the Hampton Rovers again finished strong to come from behind and down their opposition. This time, it was a six goals to one fourth term blitz, to defeat Mazenod by 20 points at Central Reserve.
The Rovers went into the top of the table clash without Chris Perkins (suspended), with Lachie Carrigan coming into the side, and knowing the Nodders had easily accounted for the Rovers on both occasions last year.
It was a hard fought affair. The Rovers got out of the blocks quickly and had peppered the scoreboard early to have a three goal to nil lead mid way through the first term. Josh McPherson was on song with an early goal and Liam O’Driscoll benefitted from some great play by Lachie Cairns and Cam Morris to goal. A bullet like pass by Lachie Carrigan to Ryan Fogarty was rewarded with a goal. The backs were holding firm and the big Mazenod forwards were starved of opportunity.
The Rovers twin towers of Oscar Roberts and VDS ably supported by Ryan Leslie and Rich Atkins were impassable and repelled the Nodders forward thrusts. The home side came back hard with a couple of goals, the second from a free straight in front right on the siren. Still, at quarter time, Hampton held an eight point lead but the match was being played at great pace with ferocious tackling by both sides. Mazenod seemed cleaner with the ball and their midfielders were cutting us up.
In the second quarter, Mazenod took over and as the Rovers’ only goal came from a mark right on the siren by Zac Mackay who kicked accurately to stay in touch, Hampton were lucky to be only three goals down at the main break.
From the halfway mark of the first quarter to the last minute of the second quarter, the Rovers had been outscored 7.4 to 1.2 and while the boys were in the fight, they just couldn’t get their usually accurate running and passing game working. Sam Clements was going well whether in the ruck or up forward, Fogs and Carnovale were prominent around the ground but Mazenod were dominant in the centre clearances.
When the home side kicked the first goal of the third quarter after a couple of minutes of play, they had virtually doubled the Rovers score. Fortunately, Quon’s chargers steadied and with goals to Cairns and McPherson, who gobbled up the loose ball on the 50m and on the run kicked accurately for his third. The Mazenod crowd were becoming quite vocal as they matched the Rovers goal for goal and by the end of the quarter, the Rovers had narrowed the half time lead by a couple of points but we were certainly on the back foot.
Whatever the Rovers coach Anthony Quon said to his players at three-quarter time clearly had an effect. The boys switched on. Sam Clements quickly goaled on the run, Benji Audige who was having a quiet day got into gear and boy what a difference that made. Whether in the centre controlling the taps or putting his body in around the ground he was the difference.
All of a sudden, the Rovers mids started getting the ball and driving it forward. A long kick to the square suited McPherson who was just too elusive and agile for his opponent and ran into the open goal. Suddenly, the margin was less than a goal and Hampton were in control.
For 10 minutes, Mazenod defended gamely and while peppering the goals, the boys could only manage behinds. The backs restricted the Nodders to just one goal for the quarter, and in fact only six scoring shots after half time. Another long kick forward and McPherson goaled, he then took advantage of a bullet pass from Matty Rieniets and the margin widened further. At the 25 minute mark, Rieniets again centred the loose ball and Cairns, ever alert, grubbed the ball through from the square. The travelling Rovers supporters were ecstatic! The day was topped off when just before the siren, Benji passed to Liam O’Driscoll who kicked accurately from 50m. What a win!
A raucous rendition of the Rovers club song followed. The coach acknowledged the great game and six goals kicked by Josh McPherson but gave the MVP award to Cam Morris who was in the game from the outset and was ferocious in his attack on the ball and the opposition.
The victory keeps the Rovers on top of Premier C, undefeated with a 7-0 record and two games clear of Monash and Mazenod, ahead of a bye this weekend, following which the Rovers take on Old Geelong at Como Park.
Hampton Rovers 3.4-22 4.6-30 7.10-52 13.16-94
Mazenod 2.2-14 7.6-48 10.6-66 11.8-74
Goal Kickers: J. McPherson 6, L. O’driscoll 2, L. Cairns 2, S. Clements, R. Fogarty, Z. Mackay
Best Players: O. Roberts, J. McPherson, C. Morris, L. O”driscoll, R. Leslie, M. Rieniets
Stay tuned for match reports from the other games on the weekend.