Rovers start season with gritty win over Eagles

Winter returned for the start of the 2023 Premier C Men’s season, with the Rovers travelling to Bulleen to face Marcellin in wet conditions.

It was a good old fashioned arm wrestle, low scoring, big packs, fumbles, dropped marks – all those things that detract from the modern AFL game!  Only two goals and five scoring shots in the first quarter and that set the pattern for most of the day. 

You could sense that the Rovers were better than the opposition. Yes, the scores were close but time and time again, the boys moved the ball forward from deep in defence with relative ease, only to fall down in front of goal. On the other hand, the opposition battled the ball forward taking advantage of the dismal conditions and made the most of what limited opportunities they had. 

Oscar Roberts continued with his great form of 2022 and seem to mark everything that came into the opposition forward line.  Dillon Melnjak was hard as nails on his wing and his attack on the ball and his opponent was a treat.  The backs were combining well with Pross, VDS, Joel Melnjak and Zac Mackay easily handling their opponents.  

Scores were just about level at the first break, but the confidence of the players was high.  The highlight of the second quarter was the intercept by “Big Nick” in his senior debut, grabbing the ball and sprinting into the open goal to kick accurately from 20m out.  The players and travelling supporters went wild! 

Liam O’Driscoll leading the mids was holding sway in the ruck and with captain Carny everywhere, the Rovers were getting plenty of drive forward but just couldn’t convert.  The comical part of the quarter occurred when the Marcellin backs took offence at VDS’s tough play in their goal square and gave away three consecutive 25m penalties which resulted in Dillon Melnjak having a shot from 30m out directly in front at the other end of the ground – he missed!

At the main break, Hampton were a goal up, a big margin in the conditions and when Jacob Gray marked at 35m at the start of the third quarter and goaled, the boys were buoyant.  That was short lived as Marcellin then, against the play, banged on three goals in about even time to jump to an eight point lead. Again, it was big in the conditions!  Hampton steadied and when Ant Folino gave the pass to Jacob Gray, he had his second on the board.  Still at the final break, there was only two points in it. Matt Rieniets was playing his best game for the Rovers with his secure marking and his kicks continually hitting targets.

Coach Anthony Quon was calm at three quarter time.  No ranting, no raving, just a clear message that if his chargers kept to their game plan, they would eventually roll over the top of the opposition. 

Lachy Cairns started the roll when he put on the afterburners to get away from his opponent and grab the long ball over the pack to run into the open goal. A few moments later VDS passed to Christian Carnovale who didn’t miss from the set shot and then finally, the icing on the cake was Lachy Cairns, repeating his earlier efforts with the loose ball, and while he did have a little trouble picking it up kicked truly to extend the Rovers lead to 20 points and snuff out any chance the opposition had.

Marcellin OC             1.2-8    2.5-17  5.9-39  5.13-43
Hampton Rovers        1.1-7    3.5-23  5.7-37  9.9-63
Goal Kickers: J. Gray 2, L. Cairns 2, J. Prosser, L. O’Driscoll, R. Fogarty, N. Assirvaden, C. Carnovale
Best Players: O. Roberts, D. Melnjak, J. Melnjak, M. Rieniets, L. O’Driscoll, J. Gray


Next up on Saturday is our traditional Anzac Day match at Boss James Reserve. This year we take on arch-rivals Ormond in what is sure to be a big day.  The first Home Game Luncheon is on from 12 noon and the bar will remain open all day as one of our four allocated extended lunches.  The on-ground Anzac ceremony will commence at 1:45pm prior to the Seniors game at 2pm.  It’s a triple header with the Senior Women kicking off proceedings at 9:30pm with the unfurling of their 2022 Premiership flag.

Bookings for Luncheon can be made online here.


The Rovers need you to not only be supporters but members as well.  After record membership in our time of great need during the Covid lockdown, numbers dropped last year. Show your support and jump on board in 2023.  Prices start at just $70 and include entry to Luncheons. Click below to join now.


The Reserves pushed hard throughout the game. There was less than a goal in it at the final change.  The conditions were difficult evidenced by the scoring in the last quarter – 2 points to the home side and 3 points to the Rovers – and Hampton had the wind!  To go down by five points was a good effort and shows that in 2023 the Reserves will be more than competitive.

Marcellin OC               2.3-15  5.5-35  7.5-47  7.7-49
Hampton Rovers  1.3-9    4.4-28  6.5-41  6.8-44
Goal Kickers: N. Jackson 2, J. Beames, T. Stephens, A. Woolston, H. Bottomley
Best Players: C. Carmeni, L. Sharp, J. Dartnell, N. Jewell, H. Crisp, T. Stephens


Old Brighton                            3.1-19  4.1-25  5.10-40            6.10-46
Hampton Rovers AFC              0.0       2.3-15  2.3-15              3.5-23
Goal Kickers: C. Williams, T. Jones, G. Samkova
Best Players: N. Morris, S. Raywood, I. Cameron, K. Ebbott, M. Naylor, J. Andros


The Under 19s took on traditional rivals Old Haileybury at the Boss.  A slow start by the boys and it looked like it was going to be a tough battle. Yet, in the second quarter the Unders clicked into gear and with 10 goals to 2 goals scored, the boys had the game in the bag.  It evened out in the second half but the boys ran out comfortable 64 point winners.  Great to see the boys had 20 more scoring shots than the opposition.  Josh Hudghton in the goals with 5, Kai Carrigan and Louis Coughlin in the best as well as regular senior player from last year in James Keys.  A strong start for the team in what will be a very competitive year in U19 Division 1.

Hampton Rovers         2.2-14              12.3-75            15.5-95            17.15-117
Old Haileybury            2.4-16              4.4-28              7.5-47              8.5-53
Goal Kickers: J. Hudghton 5, J. Smith 3, C. Kilburn 3, W. Crawford 2, P. Somogyi, O. Brown, J. Keys, L. Coughlin
Best Players: J. Hudghton, K. Carrigan, L. Coughlin, J. Keys, L. Nixon-Smith


The Rovers were defeated but not disgraced at Ivanhoe.  Great to see club chairman and legend Steve Anderson featuring in the best players, playing with his son Ollie.  Stalwart Lachie Wheeler has evidently pulled on the boots again together with veterans Matt Innes, Darcy Merlo and Brendan Cullvenor.

Ivanhoe AFC               3.2-20  4.5-29  5.7-37              9.9-63
Hampton Rovers AFC  1.4-10  2.8-20  3.10-28            5.12-42
Goal Kickers: D. Lyon 2, J. Grima 2, C. Ellison
Best Players: J. Grima, B. Klingwort, D. Merlo, S. Anderson, J. Bull

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