The Hampton Rovers flexed their muscles in a 90-74 win over fourth-placed Mazenod in VAFA Premier C Men’s on Saturday at Boss James Reserve.
It was a repeat of the corresponding fixture from earlier in the season at Central Reserve, with Mazenod playing a physical brand of football, taking the advantage early on, but Hampton finishing the stronger team and sealing the victory late on.
Mazenod had 3 goals on the board before Hampton kicked their first major – a scramble in the goal square where Ben Marron was first to pounce on the loose ball and kick it off the ground for the first and only Hampton goal for the quarter.
The new ruck combo of Liam O’Driscoll and Tom Ellinghaus, playing his first game in the seniors up from the U19s, was working well. The midfielders, particularly Christian Carnovale and Ryan Fogarty, were taking advantage of the ruck taps to advantage. Ant Folino, in his first game back for some weeks looked dangerous and the pass he took from Lachie Carrigan early in the second quarter was a treat and the goal even better. Still, Mazenod were playing well and their accurate ball delivery was causing the Rovers backs headaches. Joel Melnjak had control of the their forward while Ryan Leslie was given the big job on their gun goal kicker and was working hard. Pross was in and under as usual and when he swooped on the loose ball close to goal, the result was never in doubt. Veteran Daniel Corp was working the forward line well and when he marked with less than a minute of the second quarter to go, Hampton needed the goal. He didn’t let the big crowd down and the Rovers went into the main break with a 2 point deficit.
Hampton came out hard in the third quarter and banged on the first 2 goals, a sharp snap by Carnovale and then a minute later a very opportunist intercept by Ned Gray who waltzed into the open goal. Mazenod, not to be outdone, kicked the next 3, all when the skipper and Cam Morris were having enforced time on the bench and for a moment Mazenod retook the lead. At the 20 minute mark, Cam re-entered the fray and immediately was awarded a hard earned free and kicked the goal. Corpy then took a mark way outside 50 and picked up the 50m penalty and he didn’t miss. The scores were still close and Ryan Leslie’s desperate spoil late in the third quarter stopped what otherwise would have been a guaranteed Mazenod goal. We topped off the quarter when Max Coughlin marked at 40m and had the set shot for goal, finishing off the great mark with the goal. 11 points up at three quarter time.
Mazenod did kick a couple of goals in the final term, but it was the Rovers relentless pressure on the opposition that got us over the line. With goals to Cam Morris and Ben Marron early in the quarter, Mazenod were on the back foot. When Ned Gray put in the great block to give Carnovale space for his pass to Dillon Melnjak, we were on song and Dillon’s pass to Cam Morris for a goal topped off the best Rovers play for the day. In the end, it was a 16-point victory for the green & gold – the second win over Mazenod this year.
Great to see Chris Perkins, Lachie Cairns and Ant Folino all improving their form given the long layoffs that they have had. Lachie Carrigan continuing his domination from half back and Joel Melnjak back in the team after time overseas.
HAMPTON ROVERS 2.6-18 5.8-38 10.11-71 13.12-90
MAZENOD 3.1-19 6.4-40 9.6-60 11.8-74
Goal Kickers: C. Morris 4, B. Marron 2, D. Corp 2, C. Carnovale, N. Gray, J. Prosser, A. Folino, M. Coughlin
Best Players: C. Carnovale, L. O’driscoll, M. Coughlin, C. Morris, L. Carrigan, R. Fogarty
Next up, it’s a blockbuster 1 v 2 clash with Hampton Rovers hosting Monash Blues at Boss James Reserve on Saturday, with three rounds remaining until finals.