Rovers tame Wolves

Pilbara News - - Sport - Ben Leahy

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.

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