It was a picture perfect day on the lakefront in Chicago as these two old foes once again locked horns in battle for the MAAFL crown. Nashville were looking to keep their slim hopes of premiership glory alive and Chicago were hoping to continue their unbeaten run this season. Playing 14 a side and in front of the huge Chicago crowd, this was sure to be a classic.
The game started with the melodic stylings of Nick on the bagpipes and Australia’s Consular General in Chicago, Mr Bob Charles flipping the coin. As the snags sizzled and refreshments were taken, the big men began to fly.
A problem with the United team has been the leads they often gift opposition teams with slow starts but today wasn’t the day for this to happen. Chicago came out of the blocks fired up and caught the Roo boys unaware. Big Drew Ehlers was on fire as he marked strongly and kicked truly for Chicago’s first. He added another minutes later and the run was all Chicago as Nashville struggled to break the strong Chicago backline led by best on ground Funky Miller and complimented by Frank Bradley, Jacko and DK.
The irrepressible Brian Hoyt was also proving dangerous up front as he managed his first, setting the crowd alight with chants of “we love you Brian”, chants that were echoed by his coach as the Chicago forwards took control but inaccurate kicking proved costly as the boys from Chi town went into the first break 3.4: 22 leaders to Nashville’s 0.2: 2.
The second quarter saw the Roos kicking with the 1 or 2 goal breeze that trickled in off the beautiful azure waters of Lake Michigan. Nashville tightened defensively but an unmarked Drake slipped forward to kick a coaches goal to get things going for United. He and Mustard De Jong were working in tandem through the middle and minutes later Mustard added to the tally with a lovely goal 40 meters out. Bad kicking again plagued Chicago but the use of the ball, their run through the middle and staunch defense could not be faulted and when Gordo snagged his first, the game threatened to get away from the boys of the south but just like that, momentum changed and Nashville started to play like the Nashville of old. Without big Drew Cox, the forward line wasn’t at it’s best but with Dee and Luke starting to get more and more of the ball, Nashville started to out run and out hustle a cocky Chicago. On a fantastic lead, Nashville’s second gamer ‘plugger’ pulled in a classic grab and duly went back and went ‘bang’ to bring up the two hand salute from the umpire and get the scoreboard clicking for the roos. But Nashville also suffered the yips and some bad kicking in front of goal led them to the main break 6 goals down. Chicago 6.10: 46 to Nashville 1.4: 10
Nashville started the second half where they left off the first and were able to dominate the first half of the quarter as they slammed on two big ones to worry the impressive Chicago crowd and bring the difference back to 4 straight kicks but the experienced Chicago team playing on their own heap were not going to be outdone and momentum soon swung back to the boys from Americas greatest city as Brian Hoyt claimed his second, followed soon by another pair from the two damaging, if inaccurate forwards Roofy and Toddy McClamroch to send Chicago into the orange break 9.14: 68 to 3.4: 22 up.
Nashville would not throw in the towel and battled out the game in the last quarter throwing, literally, everything at Chicago with some interesting tactics that may be looked at closely by the MAAFL board. Despite this, Nashville added one more and Pat Hoyt finally kicked one straight to seal the game and set up a classic, winner takes all match against Milwaukee in September.
|Goals||United: Hoyt B (2), Ehlers (2), Ward, Hoyt P, Drake, Ambrosino, De Jong, McClamroch
|Best||United: Hoyt B, Ehlers, McClamroch, Morgan J, Miller