PRELIMINARY FINAL REVIEW
Hampton Park 5.6 (36) def by Endeavour Hills 11.6 (72)
Endeavour Hills ended Hampton Park’s season with a withering third term, during which the Falcons kicked five goals to the Redbacks’ one.
That gave the Falcons a 32-point lead at the final change and they were never again challenged, storming into the division 3 decider with a six-goal win.
Endeavour Hills played committed team-footy from the outset, not allowing Hampton Park the space or time to play the game on its terms.
Still, the Redbacks hung in the match and trailed by just seven points at the long break.
Once action resumed, Endeavour Hills was quickly into attack and that set the pattern for most of the third term.
The Falcons worked hard to keep the ball in their forward line and whilst they didn’t immediately reap rewards on the scoreboard, Hampton Park was not posing any threat to them.
The rewards started to come for Endeavour Hills when midfielder Daniel Batson goaled at the 11-minute mark.
Andrew Vella and Sam McLean soon added further majors for the Falcons.
Redbacks’ skipper Luke O’Brien tried to lift his team with a goal on the cusp of time on.
But Endeavour Hills quickly responded through the accurate set shots of Byron Hoe and inspirational captain Nate Strom.
Although not named in his side’s best, Strom’s third term was magnificent and set the standard for his teammates.
Hoe was best afield, with Andrew Vella another Falcon who played a significant part in ensuring victory for his club.
He worked hard throughout and was rewarded with a couple of goals, making him the winner’s only multiple goal scorer.
Nine Falcons booted one goal each, reflecting Endeavour Hills’ team approach to achieving the desired result.
Hampton Park had a couple of players with two goals each in Jack Besley and captain O’Brien, but Travis Davis’ one major was the Redbacks’ only other goal.
Besley, Jackson Philpin and Michael Henry were recognised for their tireless efforts for the beaten side, being listed as its top trio.
In the Falcons’ rooms, a stirring rendition of the club song was quickly followed by coach Rob Dipper reminding his boys to do their stretches.
Whilst he was determined not to let his players get ahead of themselves and to ensure they focused on the job ahead, Dipper was delighted with their efforts against Hampton Park.
“We were disciplined. We played our style of footy,” he declared, explaining the Falcons’ ability to apply pressure to the ball carrier was the key.
Vanquished Hampton Park learned a tough lesson, failing to adequately recognise the threat posed by Endeavour Hills.
The Redbacks were unable to produce a meaningful response when the extent of that threat became all too apparent.
Perhaps after a long winless period in the SEFNL, Hampton Park’s 16-2 home and away record this season led the Redbacks to underestimate the pressure of finals footy.
Endeavour Hills’ win has set up a tantalising contest with Springvale Districts and whichever side holds the trophy aloft next Sunday will be a deserving premier.