Rovers survive

Sam JonesNorth West Telegraph
The first bounce of the night went the Swan's way, the rest of the game didn't
Camera IconThe first bounce of the night went the Swan's way, the rest of the game didn't

The North Pilbara Football League kicked off over the weekend, albeit for a shorter season, with the Hedland Derby the first fixture for the year.

In league, a close game between the Port Hedland Rovers and the South Hedland Swans saw the Rovers edge the win in front of their home crowd.

It looked all over early with the Rovers scoring five goals to the Swans zero in the first quarter, setting the tone for most of the game with a strong score of 5.1 to the Swans 0.1 at the siren.

The second and third quarter where much the same, with both teams going tit-for-tat, but it was the Rovers accuracy in front of goal that headlined the day, ending the third quarter 10.1 to the Swans 5.5.

It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Swans seemed to turn it on, their strong backline holding the Rovers to just one point in the final period while their forward line pushed on towards a comeback. But time (and the Town’s grounds keepers) weren’t on their side — the game finishing early due to the sprinkler system turning on, with Rovers 10.2.(62) to Swans 7.8 (50).

Rovers’ Craig Buckley and Swans’ Nelson Ansey were the top goal scorers for the night, both taking home three, Ansey scoring almost half his teams tally.

Rovers number 12 Alexander King received best-on-ground for the night with his teammate Dylan Ross getting two votes and Joshua Nannup from the Swans receiving the single vote.

If the Swans were disappointed in their league performance they could at least take solace in the strength of their reserve team, who ripped apart the Rovers reserves.

The first quarter was clearly one for the players to shake off the COVID break rust, with just one goal and two points scored by both teams before the siren.

In the second quarter the Swans took flight, scoring five goals and three points and holding the Rovers to a scoreless period. The third quarter saw the Swans continue the onslaught, scoring another four goals to end the quarter 59 points up.

The Rovers did manage to double their score in the fourth quarter, but were clearly no match for the Swans all game, with Swans winning 13.11.(89) to Rovers 3.2 (20). Ricky Henry slotted three goals.

Next week the South Hedland Swans teams will head to Karratha to face the Kats at Millers Well Oval, while the Port Hedland Rovers will play at home again against the Dampier Sharks.

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