Rovers win historic first Women’s Premiership

The Rovers Senior Women’s team made history on Sunday, winning the club’s first senior women’s Premiership with a two-point win over Albert Park.

The Rovers went into the game on a 24-game winning streak, undefeated throughout 2022 season and the interrupted 2021 season. In fact, the last defeat was the 2019 Grand Final.

The girls had a big hurdle to get over and that was their Grand Final opponents Albert Park who were having a very impressive finals campaign. The Rovers had only just got over them in the second semi-final by five points so no doubt this was going to be a huge challenge and would go down to the wire. 

It’s a great honour playing at Sandringham’s Trevor Barker Oval, let alone in a Grand Final, and the girls certainly were very worthy of both! When the teams lined up and the Australian National Anthem was played, it was a ‘shivers down your spine’ moment for sure.

Luckily the predicted rain had held off but a howling wind was blowing across the oval. The ball was bounced and away they went and it was Poppy winning the first ruck contest and the ball was then ‘living’ in the our forward half for some time as the Rovers were ‘on’ and their desperation was definitely unsettling Albert Park. 

There was some standout and trademark Rovers play such as Bella going in relentlessly winning the hard ball, Jas was crashing packs, as she does with the ball firmly in her grasp and Tash was making a strong statement with her marking, tackling and a great smother! 

Tackles by Maegan, Hayley and then Tayla were setting up some forward opportunities for the Rovers but it wasn’t until Maegan marked, got it quickly to Steph who snapped a point, that we got the first score of the game. Then Steph somehow smothered the kick in and turned around to kick an amazing goal. Although the Rovers had the majority of the play, Albert Park were going in hard and their strong marking was proving a bit of a handful.

Great defence by Max who got the ball to Alana to Jess across Steph for a point and nearing the end of the first quarter, Tayla swooped in and just missed for another point. The wind was definitely playing havoc with the Rovers shots on goal and kicking.

In the second quarter, the Rovers girls picked up where they left off and Bree, Casey and Kera leading the way by throwing themselves in and applying great forward pressure along with their clever footy skills. 

Poppy was having an awesome game, she was bravely hitting the ruck contests hard and was winning every single one by putting the ball to the our advantage or palming it to our runners. 

Tayla floated in for a really nice mark and Jas gave us another highlight reel with her run down the wing. Alana was asserting herself into the game with her clean, one grab marks and Steph got it from her late in the quarter and she kicked truly!

Still, Albert Park were attacking hard and managed a point for their first score just before half time. 

It was a credit to the Rovers back six with their relentless pressure in keeping Albert Park to just the single point for the half.

The Rovers held a 16-point lead at the main break and were looking strong in front of the big crowd that had turned up at Sandringham.

The third quarter kicked off and it was amazing as Albert Park seemed to flip the game on its head as they had just about all the play in their forward line during the term. 

Things could have been worse if it wasn’t for Hampton’s gutsy co-captain, Mandy, as her attack on the footy and contest, a couple of times saved certain goals.

We were still keeping them out with Max, Kristy, Shae and all the backs holding fort and great play by Lily giving them valuable support. 

But eventually, one of the opposition’s kicks fell short only for them to take a mark and kick their first goal of the game.

It was going to take a special Rovers Women’s effort in the last to get the job done and claim Premiership glory!

An interesting stat at this point was that in the first quarter, the Rovers scored 1.3 to Albert Park no score while in the third quarter, it was the other way around, Albert Park 1.3 to Rovers no score.

Rovers were seven points up going into the final quarter, but in seemed like Albert Park had all the momentum.  It was real nail-biting stuff, great exciting footy to watch with neither side giving an inch. One tackle after another until Max found Steph who passed to Kera, who just missed for a point.

Every Rovers player was giving their all but maybe it just wasn’t to be, as a couple of marks deep in Albert Park’s forward line resulted in a goal. All of a sudden, it was only a two-point lead to the Rovers which soon become just a single point as Albert Park surged forward.

Not long to go surely, as the Rovers got forward, EmJ took a strong mark, passed to Jas and across to Bree who shrugged a tackle and kicked quickly where Millie (who’d been moved forward) marked and could go back and take the time to have a shot for goal. 

She missed thanks to the wind and scored a point but it didn’t matter as the final siren sounded soon after and the Hampton Rovers Senior Women’s team had won the 2022 Premiership!

Hampton Rovers           1.3-9    2.5-17  2.5-17  2.7-19
Albert Park                   0.0       0.1-1    1.4-10  2.5-17
Goal Kickers: M. Miller, S. Peacock
Best Players: T. Jones, J. Andros, S. Peacock, M. Behnke, N. Morris, P. Ward

Watch the full Grand Final Replay >

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