The Rovers Under 19s recorded a big 70-point win over fourth-placed Collegians at Boss James Reserve on Saturday.
The boys have struggled of late with so many players running around up in the Seniors, going into the round 16 clash second-bottom of the ladder. Last time the two teams met, it was Collegians who recorded a 100-point victory at Harry Trott Oval. However this was the first in 2016 that coach John Cesario had a near-full list to choose from, with both the Seniors and Reserves having a bye.
Eight U19 players returned from the Seniors to take their place in the side and in front of a healthy crowd at the Boss, the boys dominated from the opening bounce. However they were wasteful in the opening term. While having ten scoring shots to one, the Rovers could only manage one goal to lead by 14 points at the first break. Despite the inaccuracy, it seemed only a matter of time before the floodgates opened.
In the second they did, and when the Rovers posted six goals to the visitors’ one, the result was not in doubt. Christian Carnovale continued his great form that saw him captain the U19 VAFA rep team. With Benji Audige winning in the ruck, Christian was his usual bash and crash self, causing havoc among the Collegians midfielders. Captain Scott Ebbot was in and under and enjoying the relative freedom where the opposition just didn’t know who to cover. Zach Donald and James Prosser both had days out. If all these blokes do a solid pre-season coupled with a bit of gym work – look out 2017.
In the third quarter, the boys let loose. Cam Hetherington took a couple of big marks and kicked accurately. Matt Bowles came into the game and did a couple of clever things that had the opposition bamboozled. Collegians challenged but we had the answers and by the final break we held a comfortable 10 goal lead. Great to see how the backline was holding up with veteran Matty Oswald supported by Ryan Fogarty, Tom Yorgey and Matt Rieniets. Now, there’s a nucleus of a Rovers back line for the future!
It was in the last quarter when the surprise of the day occurred. Corey Jones, younger brother of Rick and Tim, decided to put on a clinic. A couple of hangers in the square that resulted in goals, and a well-earned free kick gave him his third, with the fourth coming from the check side shot in front of the clubrooms after another strong mark, to send the crowd into raptures! Of course, some suggested he could have given off the last as Matty Oswald, who had sprinted the length of the ground in an attempt to kick his first goal of 2016!
All in all, a great win and a 170-point turnaround from earlier in the season, thoroughly enjoyed by the supporters who called in to have a look. The coaching staff were all smiles after the game, no doubt contemplating the up and down season they have endured in 2016.
This week, the boys are back at the Boss, taking on bottom side Old Ivanhoe commencing at 2pm. The following week, the boys close out the season against local rivals Old Brighton, also at home. The Seniors and Reserves are back in action this week, making the short trip to Parkdale to face the Vultures.
HAMPTON ROVERS 1.9 6.10 12.15 17.15 (117)
COLLEGIANS 0.1 1.7 3.8 6.11 (47)
Goal Kickers: C. Jones 5, C. Hetherington 3, D. Terjung 3, M. Rieniets 2, Z. Donald, B. Kneebush, S. Ebbott, A. Woolston
Best Players: Z. Donald, C. Carnovale, T. Yorgey, C. Jones, J. Prosser, B. Audige