Rovers go down to Old Geelong as focus shifts to Finals

Hampton Rovers hosted Old Geelong in the final round of the regular season and the visitors got the win they needed to secure a spot in the finals.  

The Rovers went into the game three games clear in second position, with the double-chance wrapped up. And the performances by both teams on the day seemed to reflect what they were playing for.

The game started well for the home side when Cam Morris shot the handball out to Christian Carnovale for a goal on the run in the first minute.  Old Geelong kicked a couple and then when Ben Marron kicked accurately on the run the scores were level.  As the quarter wore on, the OG boys were getting on top and while we kicked a couple more, Matty Rieniets and Dillon Melnjak both from long set shots they kept responding to have a handy lead at quarter time.

Oscar Roberts down back was continuing his marking spree, Ned Gray just kept getting possessions and his partner down there in Lachie Carrigan seemed to have a roving commission on the back line, in fact the whole ground!  Max VDS had his hands full with the OG full forward.

The wind favoured the city end, and Hampton took advantage of it in the second quarter to reduce the lead to 9 points by half time. James Prosser was prominent in the middle, Harry McIntyre was having his best game since returning from his break and Perko and Lucas Sharp on the wings just kept running the lines.  With Benji Audige and Liam O’Driscoll sharing the rucking duties I thought that they would gradually wear their opponents down but the contest was even and it was more that the OG midfielders were more efficient in getting the loose ball out of the centre that was causing us problems.

A change came over the game after half time in that OG lifted their intensity and kept driving the ball into their forward line.  The Rovers were down on the inside 50 count and it didn’t help with the number of uncontested marks their forwards were taking.  Of course, the skipper, Christian Carnovale just kept running and moving the ball to advantage, but our forwards couldn’t take advantage of their opportunities.  Our only goal came early in the quarter when Harry McIntyre earned the free and kicked truly from outside 50. 

The coach was calm at three quarter time and the Rovers found themselves 7 goals down, but had the breeze in the last.  The quarter opened with Cam Morris taking another of his many strong marks for the day but again couldn’t hit the big sticks. We were on top all over the ground and while Harry McIntyre and Ben Marron kicked a couple we could not take advantage down forward of the opportunities presented.  The backs lifted and OG only managed a solitary point for the quarter while we had 7 scoring shots for 2 goals.

The Rovers finish the home & away season in second position on the Premier C Men’s ladder and take on Monash Blues in the second Semi Final this Saturday. The VAFA has announced the match will be played at Monash University due to issues with ground unavailability. A positive is the fact the Rovers defeated Monash on their home deck earlier in the season. Kick-off is 2:15pm and the winner will advance straight to the Grand Final and earn promotion to Premier B section for 2023, while the loser will get a second chance, in the Preliminary Final the following weekend at Trevor Barker Oval.

Old Geelong’s win meant that they held onto fourth place by percentage from a very disappointed Old Ivanhoe and the flyers at the end of the home and away season were Parkdale who trounced Old Mentonians but needed the two teams above them to lose to make the finals.

Hampton Rovers         4.1-25  7.4-46              8.6-54              10.11-71
Old Geelong                7.4-46  8.7-55              14.9-93            14.10-94
Goal Kickers: B. Marron 3, H. McIntyre 2, D. Melnjak 2, M. Rieniets 2, L. Cairns
Best Players: N. Gray, H. McIntyre, L. Carrigan, C. Carnovale, O. Roberts, J. Prosser

Watch the Replay | View Photos

The day started with another big Hampton Rovers Luncheon inside the clubrooms, with more than 100 people packing in the final tenth and final lunch of the season to enjoy the magnificent meal put on by our caterers. Thanks to everyone who attended and the crowd that came in after the game for a drink.

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