HAMPDEN Football Netball League is back in the top 10 Victorian leagues after a Jonathan Brown coached Bottle Greens outfit ran over the top of their opponents to win by 18 points on Saturday.
The Bottle Greens were largely inaccurate in front of goal against South East Football Netball League, and battling against home crowd support for the Demons with the match played at Casey Fields, Cranbourne.
Hampden got off to a solid start, leading by five points at quarter time, then nine points at half-time, having wasted scoring opportunities with 18 scoring shots to nine, with just 6.12 to 6.3 to show for it.
Hampden hearts were racing by the final break as the Demons booted five goals to two and started to capitalise on some Hampden turnovers, hurting the Bottle Greens on the rebound.
At the final break, Jonathan Brown urged his charges to pressure their opponents, questioning his players’ work rate in that third quarter after dropping off and letting the home side take control.
Brown’s words of wisdom did the trick, with Hampden booting five goals to one in the final quarter to storm to glory in a 13.19 (97) to 12.7 (79) victory.
Tim McIntyre booted three goals, while Jackson Bell was named best on ground with Cobden’s Jahd Anderson a close second as well as Bottle Greens’ captain Rory Taggert.
Cobden coach and Hampden vice-captain Levi Dare played through the ruck and booted a goal in the second quarter, while Terang Mortlake defender Ryan O’Connor was named in the best for his efforts down back.
The victory means the Bottle Greens will now move to the ninth versus tenth clash next year which will see Hampden take on Goulburn Valley Football League after it went down to Ovens and Murray in a thrilling seven-point match.
Dare said the opposition stood up despite having no previous AFL experience and less state league experience.
“I thought they’d try to get a fast start which they did,” he said.
“It put us on the back foot with them kicking the first three goals,
“We had a lot more play throughout the game but we butchered the ball and they were much more efficient going forward.
“Especially in the first three quarters, in the last quarter we used our lead-up targets and hit up our forwards better.
“If we’d started like that we would have played a lot better, but they played well and had a good side.”
Dare said the midfield was instrumental in turning the game around.
“Jackson Bell got a lot of the ball and was best on ground,” he said.
“Jahd (Anderson) was terrific on a wing, a couple of times he was outnumbered and still won the ball.”
Dare also praised Brown for his work as coach to inspire the players to victory.
“He was really good, the way he spoke you can tell he has passion for the Hampden League and wants the league to do well and that made it a lot easier to play for him,” he said.