Redbacks up for another challenge

Tanner Stanton's Hampton Park face another big test this week. 400988 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Jonty Ralphsmith

Third on the ladder with its only loss being to table-toppers East Malvern.

This wasn’t the position Hampton Park was supposed to be in six rounds into the Southern Football Netball League Division 2 season.

The club was willing to admit 2024 would likely be a building year.

The Redbacks were lacking in too many areas: height, star power, list demographic, chemistry.

Yet somehow, they’ve just found a way to compete and win.

Coach Hayden Stanton, well-regarded for a long period in the south east region, has made the best with what he has had.

Bailey D’Monte is a ball magnet in the midfield, Jye King has taken a big step forward, and the likes of Tanner Stanton and Trent Downe remain bankable contributors.

Saturday’s clash with Caulfield at Robert Booth Reserve presents an opportunity to truly ensconce itself in the top five.

A win would likely see the Spiders move three wins clear of sixth-placed Endeavour Hills, which itself needs a win against Doveton.

The Falcons fell six points short of a stirring comeback against Caulfield, bringing them back down to earth after winning its first three games.

Like Hampton Park, it probably needs more consistency from its role players; but where the Redbacks Division 2 experience has helped them win key moments, the Falcons are still building.

The Doves will be looking to bounce back to their best after an at times scrappy yet convincing victory over St Kilda City.

In Division 1, Cranbourne faces Bentleigh, a match it simply needs to win after competing excellently across a brutal first six weeks of the season, yet emerging with just six points.

HAMPTON PARK v Caulfield, Endeavour Hills v DOVETON, Bentleigh v CRANBOURNE