Around the grounds with steve tervet – Wangaratta Rover’s win!

If it’s true that actions speak louder than words, any body language expert would have had a field day after Wangaratta Rovers’ convincing win over Albury.

For the Hawks’ 20-point triumph at W. J. Findlay didn’t spark the sort of tub-thumping such a result might have brought even 12 months ago; rather there was a calmness amid the post-match celebrations which is ominous for the rest of the competition.

No longer are the scalps of the ‘big boys’ viewed as the summit for Sam Murray’s side, you feel this Rovers outfit is only at base camp on its climb towards a greater goal.

“Previously, we rode the emotions a little high as a team,” Murray said. “But we’re really composed this year.

“We’ve got young guys – only two people over 30 and everyone else is below that. We’ve probably got six or seven under 21 so we’ve got to continue to stay together and not ride the emotions too hard.

“I’ve always been excited by the potential of this group. It’s a great group and we’ve got some great recruits so it’s a great place to be.

“The thing that excites me is they’re starting to get it. It will come and go, it always will, and we’ll be challenged certain weeks, but they’re starting to play the way we want to play regardless of their own personal results.

“That’s a hard thing to find in football clubs, a team that’s willing to just do whatever the team needs. That excites me – and it makes me proud.”

Even court jester Alex Marklew, now with 14 goals to his name in 2024, has a certain steeliness in his eyes.

“We’ve put together a list that we think can go a long way but we don’t want to look too far ahead,” co-captain Marklew said.

“Week-by-week seems to be working for us at the moment so if we keep doing that, we should be up there for finals.

“If we keep putting in performances like that, anything can happen.”

The tag that nullified Lochie O’Brien against Albury only served to open the door for others in brown and gold to shine.

Jace McQuade, 22, Alex McCarthy, 20, and Charles Ledger, 19, were three of the Rovers’ best players.

“Everyone played their role and we look a lot better when that’s the case,” McQuade reflected.

“Sometimes everyone’s chasing the ball so the weeks like this, when everyone plays their role, we look a much better side and we’ve got to do that more consistently.

“I don’t think the team’s looked this good for a long time.

“Everyone’s a bit excited and everything’s rolling so we’ve just got to keep it going.”

Good things are also happening on the netball court, where Rovers’ A-grade chalked up just their third win in as many seasons during Round 4.

In fact, the 52-43 victory over Albury was coach Gracie Reid’s very first home win but it would have come as no great shock for anyone who watched the Hawks take the fight to a much-fancied Wodonga Raiders outfit seven days earlier.