Rovers return to winners list with gutsy win over Parkdale

It was a great day at Boss James Reserve on Saturday, with a sold-out lunch for Past Players Day, the awarding of two new Life Members and a classic win by the Seniors over local rivals Parkdale Vultures.

The day started with 125 in attendance for the Past Players & Supporters Day Luncheon and many more who couldn’t get a seat, as Leigh Fletcher and Kam Atkins were announced as the newest Life Members of the Hampton Rovers Football Club.

Pregame, the talk was all about the number of players from both clubs who had left for trips overseas and the buzz about last week’s win by Parkdale U19s having dropped all their U19s in the seniors back to the U19s to score a tight win over the Rovers.  Saturday it appeared that it was going to be the “battle of the boys” with the Rovers having five U19s playing, of which three were making their senior debut and at least 10  players who had played less than a handful of games in the seniors.  Parkdale were in a similar situation and in fact, their U19s had to forfeit.

We started well with the benefit of the strong wind blowing towards the David Street end.  Big Treaders, Liam O’Driscoll, for the first time this year had an opponent who was shorter than him and he took full advantage and was giving our mids first use of the ball.  With Harry McIntyre and Christian Carnovale hard in around the packs we managed to keep the ball in our attacking zone and it was only a momentary loss of concentration that let the visitors in for a goal against the gale.

Will Crawford was moving well at full forward and clearly gaining confidence with each game, Joey Wilson was at every contest in the forward line and providing a target.  We had the ball but just couldn’t put more of a score on the board.  The pressure was going to be on in the second quarter. It was not our usual back six with Oscar Roberts out, Ryan Leslie overseas, along with both Melnjaks and full back Max Van Der Stratten who was having a great year also joined the exodus this week.  The only regular left was Crispy and maybe Lucas Sharp who had been spending most of the year down back.  The new boys all fought hard. Cam Carmeni and Hugo Garrow were great in the key back positions,  Sammy Ragdho was solid in the back pocket and debutant Lachy Celantano was settling quickly into his role.

When we kicked a goal early in the quarter to give us a 3 goal lead the crowd in the social rooms were exuberant but as in so many games this year a lapse of a couple of minutes let Parkdale in for a couple of quick goals and while we held them out for the rest of the quarter the opposition’s goal on the siren was disappointing.   James Prosser, being less creative and more direct in his play was having a great impact and his speed around the contest with the ball was a delight.

At half time, the many of the past players in attendance descended on the change rooms to urge the boys on in the second half.  By now, the conditions were windy and wet, but the boys did a great job as darkness descended and to kick 4 goals in the trying conditions was a miracle.  Perko and Jackson Manning were getting more into the contest, Oscar Donald was fighting hard and new boys in the team in Huggy, Kento Hikima, Dougy Ballard and Lachy Celantano were not giving up.  The tackling and chasing was ferocious.  Such was our dominance in the term that had the weather been kinder, we could have had the game wrapped up at the final break.

The weather cleared somewhat for the final term and at the bounce of the ball to start the last quarter even the sun made an appearance.  While the Rovers had a 3 goal lead, it was impossible to be confident of the outcome.  The strength of the wind meant that kicks from outside 50 were shots at goal.  At the 20-minute mark, when we kicked a goal to take us further ahead those in the social club did relax a bit only to be put on the edge of our seats when Parkdale kicked two majors from free kicks within 30 metres of goal, and the margin was back to less than 2 goals.   The last 10 minutes was a chaotic affair, some of our players, forgot the discipline the coach had decreed but with time running out, the Parkdale boys gave away two 50m penalties against them made it was clear that on the Leigh Mathews formula, we were home.

A great fighting win to no doubt the youngest and most inexperienced team the Rovers have fielded in recent years. Great to hear coach Anthony Quon praise veterans Josh “Speedy” McPherson in returning to his blistering form of past years and of course the skipper for another inspiring performance.

Next up, the Rovers travel out to “the Runway” at Essendon to face PEGS.

Hampton Rovers               3.2-20  4.2-26  8.6-54  9.8-62
Parkdale Vultures             1.1-7     4.5-29  5.5-35  7.11-53
Goal Kickers: J. Prosser 2, L. O’Driscoll 2, W. Crawford 2, J. Wilson, J. Manning, C. Perkins
Best Players: L. O’Driscoll, L. Celantano, C. Carmeni, C. Carnovale, H. McIntyre, J. Prosser


The Rovers Women took on Old Melburnians at VAFA HQ and unfortunately had a slow start, but when you look at the game as a whole it really was a great performance.  OMs are sitting in second place on the ladder and to keep them not just goalless but scoreless for the duration of the second half is a great achievement. The Rovers had a few players returning – great to see last year’s leading goal kicker, Steph Peacock back on the park and putting through a couple of goals, Jas Andros back from a week off was influential in the midfield, Mandy Naylor popped up with another goal and Poppy Ward was playing well in the ruck all day.  Tayla Jones, another returnee was back on her wing and kept driving the ball forward.  Another couple of debutantes for the girls who both performed well.

Old Melburnians               2.4-16  5.6-36  5.6-36  5.6-36
Hampton Rovers               0.0         1.2-8     1.2-8     4.3-27
Goal Kickers: S. Peacock 2, B. Kavanagh, M. Naylor
Best Players: J. Andros, M. Miller, M. Naylor, M. Behnke, P. Ward, T. Jones


Another sensational performance from the Under 19s in Division 1 to defeat Old Melbournians comfortably in our home game which was relocated to Old Brighton’s ground at last-minute due to an issue with the lights at Boss James.  A great job by our secretary Anthony Naumoff and a big shout out to Old Brighton and Old Melbournians who were very co-operative in rescheduling the game at very short notice.

Clearly a game greatly affected by the conditions and a 6 goal 8 behind last quarter with the wind determined the game.  Great to see Kai Carrigan and Tom Ellinghaus in the best and Josh Hudghton down from the seniors featuring in the goal kickers.

The U19s are now two games clear of the 5th team and equal with the three above them on the ladder on 24 points. Imagine the team that they will have at final’s time with a full complement of players to select!

Hampton Rovers               2.1-13  4.5-29  4.6-30  10.14-74
Old Melburnians               3.5-23  3.6-24  5.8-38  5.9-39
Goal Kickers: J. Hudghton 3, K. Carrigan 2, C. Kilburn 2, J. Grima, W. Rogacki, D. Hall
Best Players: K. Carrigan, T. Ellinghaus, O. Horigan, B. Seddon, J. Hudghton


The Reserves were decimated by injury and the loss of players overseas. Great to see Will Walker pulling on the boots for his first game for 2023.  He kicked our only goal and was named as one of the best.  Always hard in the conditions on Saturday but great to see Jacob Beames pick up BOG and Joel Bowditch and Dave Broadstock named in the best.

Hampton Rovers               0.0         1.1-7     1.1-7     1.4-10
Parkdale Vultures             4.1-25  9.2-56  11.6-72 11.9-75
Goal Kickers: W. Walker
Best Players: J. Beames, J. Bowditch, D. Broadstock, W. Walker, W. Cowie, Z. Raghdo


The Thirds won on forfeit as Old Brighton were unable to field a team. The ‘win’ keeps the Rovers in finals contention!

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