Both clubs were winless coming into the round 3 clash and both teams came ready to play each searching for that sort after win.
It was Manurewa who struck early getting the first goal, Howick then, slotted one in return. The first quarter was very fast and physical. Both teams were evenly matched however, Manurewa finished the quarter on top. (H 2.2 v M 2.4).
The momentum of the game started to shift in the second half with Howick able to call on fresh legs to maintain the fast style of play. Howick began to push the ball deep into the forward line and had plenty of shots at goal. Unfortunately, the kicks weren't as straight as they had hoped for and ended up with a few behinds. Manurewa maintained their first quarter lead but their lack of reserves was starting to take a toll. (H 4.6 V M 5.6)
Continuing on the momentum from the second quarter Howick tried to maintain the pressure on Manurewa by playing in their half. The Hornets dug deep and began to believe that they could win, sensing that Manurewa were tiring. The Hornets kicked 4 goals, 4 behinds in the quarter to outscore Manurewa and win the quarter. (H 8.10 V M 7.7).
With their first win within grasps, the Hornets knew they had to maintain the pressure they had applied all game. The Hornets were quick to strike and put two goals on to extend their lead. With an unfortunate stoppage in play due to injury, the Raiders were able to catch their breath and they came back firing with 12 minutes to play. Manurewa responded with two quick goals of their own, seemingly starting their comeback. However, late in the last quarter the Hornets were dominating play, keeping the ball in the Manurewa 50m and kicking a goal and many behinds. With the final hooter sounding it was the historic first win for the Howick Hornets AFL team!
Up the Hornets!
Final Score: Howick Hornets 11.16 (82) to Manurewa 9.10 (64)
Goals: Andrew Azzopardi (5), Elliot Bennetts (2), James Mackinder (1), Alan Rathbun (1), Antonias Roberts (1), Ryan White (1)
Alan Rathbun (RM) - Took a quarter to get into the game and then unleashed against the Manurewa Ruckman. Winning nearly every ball up in the second half and kicking his first goal. He continues to improve on each week. Voted Best on Ground by the Manurewa Captain.
Andrew Azzopardi (FF) - Will claim he took a 3m hanger but was probably closer to 300mm. Although he struggles to get airborne he absolutely dominated his opposite when playing in the full forward position. Kicking 5 goals and 7 behinds, he showed his worth but needs to work on his accuracy of set shots.
Tim Elsey (FB) - Another tenacious effort from Tim Elsley at fullback. Marking a significantly taller and larger opponent, Tim spoiled multiple opportunities for Manurewa and helped keep the Hornets ahead.
Peter Jones (CHB) - Playing his first ever game of AFL, Pete was a stand out performer in the backline. He played like it was his 50th game not his first, owning his position by disrupting any high kick coming into the defensive 50m. Pete also has a massive boot on him and was able to clear the football from the danger zone and relieve the pressure for the team. Voted Best on Ground by the Howick Coaching Staff and received a Basalt Bar and Restaurant voucher.
James Mackinder (CHF) - James helped keep the scoreboard ticking over with many shots at goal. He was a second threat in our forward line and being a tall target had plenty of heat coming his way.
Logan Kinnear (Wing) - Played a loose game down the edge of the ground. Would leave his marked player for dust as he took solid marks or ran the ball down field. Providing a pivotal link between the back and forward lines Logan was able to distribute the ball into the attacking line effectively.