Dog­gies in­ter­rupt Swans’ derby glide

Pilbara News - - Sport - Tay­lar Amonini

Play­ing one of the best games this sea­son, Port Hed­land Rovers be­gan their 50th an­niver­sary week­end with a bang, de­feat­ing South Hed­land Swans in an in­cred­i­bly display of coun­try foot­ball.

The round 13 North Pil­bara Foot­ball League Hed­land derby saw the cross-town ri­vals bat­tle it out as Rovers kept a mea­sure ahead of the sea birds, win­ning 16.11 (107) to 11.13 (79).

The struc­ture Rovers have been work­ing on all sea­son shone brightly, blind­ing the Swans as they showed off to alumni in the au­di­ence in town for the Dog­gies’ 50th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions.

De­spite start­ing strongly and dom­i­nat­ing the be­gin­ning of the first quar­ter, the Swans were blind­sided by the Rovers’ spec­tac­u­lar show of co­he­sive team­work as the sec­ond quar­ter saw four goals from Rovers in less than 10 min­utes.

While Swans’ speed al­lowed them to out­run the Rovers and kick some spec­tac­u­lar goals, it didn’t match up to An­gelo Thomas, Brad Horse­man and Kieran Hard­ing of the Rovers, who dom­i­nated the for­ward pocket with 11 goals be­tween the three of them.

Rovers’ Chris Sims shone in his 100th game in the club, out­kick­ing, out-run­ning and push­ing the ball for­ward as Swans failed time af­ter time to take the foot­ball star down.

In a true show of sports­man­ship, Swans gave the Rovers a guard of hon­our as they left the field, not only to com­mem­o­rate a great game but to hon­our Sims and his 100th game.

South Hed­land Swans coach­ing men­tor Troy Melville praised both the Swans and Rovers play­ers for their great game ef­fort and show of sports­man­ship.

“We threw it around a lit­tle bit in the sec­ond half and ro­tated a few of the play­ers, got a bit of mo­men­tum and un­for­tu­nately they (Rovers) got a break just when we got it in our for­ward line then they got those ex­tra goals on top and we just ran out of time,” he said. “We knew they’d come out fir­ing for their big week­end and they did. “It’s a tes­ta­ment to the team.” De­spite the loss, Melville praised the Swans for step­ping up and keep­ing the game as close as they could.

“Podge (Pavric Ban­non) played a re­ally good game, stepped up into a lead­er­ship role, did a few things dif­fer­ent and I think he played ex­cel­lent for us,” he said.

Rovers pres­i­dent Mal Olive had noth­ing but praise for his boys af­ter their wins on their mile­stone week­end.

“The boys were chal­lenged a num­ber of times dur­ing the game and ev­ery time they kept it up and an­swered the chal­lenge, spec­tac­u­larly,” he said.

“In par­tic­u­lar Simsy with his mile­stone game, he got in­ducted into the Rovers Half-Cen­tury team and it’s very well de­served.”

While the win does not change ei­ther the Swans’ or Rovers’ po­si­tion on the lad­der, the Rovers are bit­ing at the Swans’ heels.

Next week will be a bye for the North West cel­e­bra­tion of the Queen’s Birth­day long week­end, but upon their re­turn, Rovers will have a visit from the Kar­ratha Fal­cons, while the Swans will make their way to Wick­ham Oval to take on the Wolves.

Pic­tures: Tay­lar Amonini

Out of nowhere, Rovers’ Matt Ni­cols takes the mark.

In his 100th game for Rovers, Chris Sims takes a fab­u­lous mark.

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