Rovers tame Wolves
Port Hedland Rovers re-energised their 2016 season last weekend with an impressive 32-point win over North Pilbara Football League frontrunners the Wickham Wolves.
Kicking with the wind, the Rovers jumped out to an early first quarter lead before keeping their noses in front the rest of the night as they won 11.8 (74) to the Wolves’ 6.6 (42).
Rovers coach Greg Mastrangelo said his side capitalised on the opening stanza’s strong breeze before regrouping in defence in the second.
“It was tough to score against (the wind)… but we maintained that tackling pressure through the middle of ground and kept on driving the ball forward,” he said.
“We just focused on playing another four quarters of footy, and the message that it’s about consistency and playing to our strengths and maintaining pressure all over the ground.”
Having faced down a strong Wolves side, the Rovers can take confidence into the rest of the season after recovering from losing their first three games to now having posted wins in their past three.
SItting fourth on the NPFL ladder, the Rovers now loom as a serious threat to undefeated cross-town rivals, the South Hedland Swans in next weekend’s derby.
Mastrangelo said his team looked forward to the test.
“It is about improving and... not being satisfied with each win, instead you want to get better and how better to do that than come up against the top side to really find out where you are at,” he said.
The Wolves for their part will be disappointed with their intensity and run.
The damage started early for the Wolves as the Rovers set up last weekend’s win early, using the wind to boot five goals to one in the first quarter.
With a Rovers player red-carded in the second quarter, the Wolves fought back keeping the Hedland side scoreless, yet failing to make a significant scoreboard impact themselves, as they managed only one goal for the term.
The second half played out to the same pattern as the Rovers capitalised on the wind in the third quarter to kick out to a 41point win before the Wolves clawed some of the deficit back in the last.
Mastrangelo said best-onground Brad Horsman played a super game off half-back, while Brendan Meagher repelled every Wolves’ assault from full-back.
He also singled out Lance Lawrence and Sam Flanegan for their forward and midfield contributions.
The Rovers will also be impressed by their multiple avenues to goal as Lance Lawrence, Ben Gasior, Tom Paton and Michael Lakeman all booted two goals each.
In the reserves, the Rovers highlighted their depth as they comfortably dispatched top team the Wolves by 15.7 (97) to 5.8 (38) to now sit second on the ladder.