Doggies interrupt Swans’ derby glide

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

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.

In his 100th game for Rovers, Chris Sims takes a fabulous mark.
Camera IconIn his 100th game for Rovers, Chris Sims takes a fabulous mark. Credit: Picture: Taylar Amonini

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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, out-kicking, 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.

Rovers Chris Sims.
Camera IconRovers Chris Sims. Credit: Taylar Amonini

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.

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