Piranhas Seal Grand Final Berth in Thriller


Burgmann Fields, IL – What an exciting time to be involved with the Chicago United Football Club! In a game which could have swung either way right up to the final siren it was the Lincoln Park Piranhas who prevailed by 6 points over the desperate Lincoln Square Tigers.

Both teams went into the match missing many of their big guns and were fighting just to get the required amount of players to constitute a team. With players of the caliber of McGlashan, Ward, Palmer, Didak, Morgan, Ehlers and Monaco for Lincoln Park and Burgmann, Meyer, Uhlmann, Morrissey, Biggs, Gizynski, Bradshaw and de Jong out for Lincoln Square, the game could easily have deteriorated into a schamozzle but the determination of both teams raised the game to a high level. In the end the pollish and experience of the Piranhas was the deciding factor over the handball and hard running of the Tigers.

The first quarter began with the Piranhas firing as Disco Panek had two early shots on goal from in front. Unfortunately Disco’s goal kicking woes continued and both shots tumbled through for behinds. The trend continued for Lincoln Park as the pressure from the Tigers’ backline resulted in just four behinds for the quarter. Grisoni was having his best game for the year leading his inexperienced backline with great support from proud new dad Ortiz.

As the young Tigers found their feet they began to move the ball quickly and were rewarded with a classic goalsneaks goal to Ambrosino to give the Tigers the lead at the end of the first quarter. The danger signs were there though with Dangerous Dave Allen, despite the close attention of the Doorhy brothers, getting plenty of the ball as was big BJ Gambaro in the ruck.

First Quarter- Lincoln Park 0.4:4, Lincoln Square 1.1:7

The second quarter was again tight with the surprisingly dominant backline of the Tigers being the determining factor in them once again winning the quarter. Dan Thompson was having a colossal battle with Dan Kastilahn at full forward and with the help of the ever elusive Outback Kid was able to score his first for the game. The Piranhas responded quickly through Dangerous Dave’s Aussie mate before the Tigers kicked the team goal of the year. Starting in the back pocket the ball was worked cleanly out of the backline through Fitz and Frank Bradley before some tremendous running from brothers John and Vince Doorhy resulted in Vince hammering home his first ever Aussie Rules goal.

The second quarter finished with the Tigers on top due to hard work down back and a willingness to run and support each other. Despite outscoring the Piranhas though, Allen, Gambaro and Phil Cisco were getting plenty of the ball and with the ball driven into their forward line so often into an inexperienced defense, only time would tell before the Pirahnas got on top.

Second Quarter- Lincoln Park 1.4:11, Lincoln Square 3.3:21

The flood gates opened for Lincoln Park in the third quarter as, despite captain Bradley’s best efforts, Allen, Gambaro and Ryan Hayes took control of the game. Lincoln Square found it difficult to get the ball past center half forward and the constant pressure resulted in three goals for the Piranhas. Within the first 7 minutes of the quarter another of Dave’s mates kicked a goal in his first Aussie Rules outing followed by a goal to ex United player, Brad Lanikonis, returning to Chicago for Deri Morgan’s wedding. Hayes capped off a productive period of play for his team with what he does best, breaking away from the pack to kick a goal on the run from distance.

After the move of Thompson out to center half forward the Tigers forced their way back into the game but despite peppering the goals for the rest of the quarter were unable to achieve anything more than four behinds. The cool and experienced heads of Lincoln Park had put their team in front and it looked ominous for the Tigers with one quarter to go.

Third Quarter- Lincoln Park 4.6:30, Lincoln Square 3.7:25

The final quarter was an absolute cracker with both teams determined to put their stamp on the game. It was a torrid tussel as players were throwing their bodies into every contest trying to turn the game in their teams favour. The game appeared over when Allen received a free kick and a 15m penalty from Anthony, who did an outstanding job umpiring, and kicked truly. Allen’s hard work and tackling were a highlight of his match and he deserved the resulting goal.

This was followed by a brilliant snap over his shoulder from deep in the forward pocket by Hayes. Unfortunately for Hayes and despite his efforts to impress his wife, Katie, with brilliance, she refuses to pay attention at the crucial time.

With just three minutes remaining and the match looking all but over, the crowd began heading for the turnstiles in the hope of beating the traffic out of the car park. In a stunning revival though the Tigers were able to kick two goals in a minute from Thompson’s thousandth contested mark and Ambrosino who was having a purple patch in a continuation of some excellent recent form.

Tensions were high in the last two minutes of play as the ball sat in the Tigers forward line. Ambrosino was electric and was livid with a disallowed mark withing scoring range. A roving shot at goal, also by Ambroso, with just seconds to go tumbled out of bounds and the game was lost for Lincoln Square. Lincoln Park had won a game they probably deserved to win but it was a tribute to the inexperienced and Aussieless Tigers how close they were able to get to the premiership favourites.

Dave Allen and BJ Gambaro were everywhere for the Piranhas constantly forming a solid wall across their half forward line and then pushing forward when required. Frank Bradley continued his sensational season with a herculean performance for the Tigers. There was not a poor performance from anybody on his side and with more games under their belt, this team could be anything in the future.


Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Piranhas 0.4.4 1.0.6 3.2.20 2.1.13 6.7.43
Tigers 1.1.7 2.2.14 0.4.4 2.0.12 5.7.37
Goals Piranhas: Hayes (2), Lanikonis, Dave Allens US Mate, Dave Allens Aussie Mate, Allen D
Tigers: Ambrosino (2), Thompson D (2), Doorhy V
Best Piranhas: Hayes, Allen D, Cisco, Gambaro
Tigers: Thompson D, Bradley, Brian, Grisoni, Fitzgerald

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  • Thomas Shearman
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