Burgmann Fields, IL – And so it was and so it shall be. The Tigers have barnstormed their way into the Metro Grand Final with a solid win over a struggling Rhinos team that gave absolutely everything but in the end, to no avail. The Rhinos were undermanned again but gallant in defeat as the Tigers recruiting staff wheeled out another couple of future champions in B.O.G Fitzy and runner up B.O.G Vince, both of who put the Rhinos to the sword with the help of Fish, Crackers Brennan and stalwart Poncho who was unstoppable again in defence.
The game started with 10 a side and moved to 11’s when the dangerous Drew Wolfe appeared for the Rhinestone Cowboys. Extremely well umpired (Biggsy could only be heard once for the whole game giving advice) by Ryan Hayes (sadly, Katie was more interested in the ice cold 312’s on the sideline and missed his great performance), the game started with Drake marking nicely about 40 out on a slight angle between the two big ‘P’ men in Pace and Poncho and slotting home his first for the day. The Rhinos continued to attack the ball with great work rate from stalwarts Jezza and Funky and when Drake gathered 30 out on the boundary he looked to send the Rhinos further in front but an ‘illadvised’ handball to the kid alone in the square was fumbled and Poncho was able to recover (after 8 more Rhino fumbles!) and set Bad Boy Billy alight on the wing. His ensuing goal on the trot was a classic and gave the Tigers a 3 point lead at the first change, 1.4: 10 to 1.1: 7.
Rumours abounded about a return of Big Guns in Burgmann for the Tige’s and McCoombe for the Rhinos but after the club wasted $1500 on a marching band and cheerleaders (not to mention the 3 Philipino strippers) to welcome them back, rumours were all they turned out to be so the two teams continued to slog it out with both missing several top line players.
The tigers gained the ascendancy in the second with Fitz having a field day off the half back flank. His play was spectacular and only spoiled by a couple of bad shots on goal which would have put this game to bed at the half. Poncho was magnificent and Brennan and Fish were having field days on the ball. Art, Frenchie and Vince were getting tonnes of it and the Rhinos looked stuffed as they chased Tiger tails all over the park. Up forward, danger men Biggs and Hoyt were being well held by Mr Reliable in Disco Panek, first gamer Adam who was having a ripper of a game and Mike who were keeping the Rhinos in it. Hoyt finally broke through for his first with a soccer off the ground and then successive goals to Crackers and Fish further frustrated Miller and his Rhinos who were unable to worry the scorers except for two behinds. At the half, a beaming Mustard welcomed his Tigers 4.7: 31 to WV 1.3: 9
Miller appealed for much more from his Rhinos at the half and with a renewed and sobered John Scher were able to reply in kind. Scher and Tyrekos were able to get more of the footy and support Morgan and Funk who were giving everything along with a rejuvenated Wolfe. A bomb from Tyrekos was marked in a pack by Drake who got a classic case of the Burgmanns and from 35 out (ok, 5) missed a sitter to the delight of Poncho. His next chance came seconds later when he swooped on a ball 30 out and running toward the boundary snapped a ripper on the left foot and went into wild celebrations. His jumper off, arms in the air and victory lap were spoiled though by umpire Hayse who thought he’d have a laugh at the coach and get himself a position on the bench in Milwaukee by giving the one finger slaute and giving it a point, once again to the delight of Poncho.
The Rhinos kept attacking though and a minute later, some good work down back by Adam again found Miller who’s deft pass found Drake on a lead and finally the ball went through the two big ones and the Rhinos were coming home with a wet sail. At the orange break, LS hung on 3.8: 32 to WV 2. 6: 18 and the last quarter was going to be a ripper as the Rhinos looked to keep their finals hopes alive and the Tigers looked to play spoiler.
The Rhinos were again first out of the blocks but Drake was being well held by Pace and an unmanned Poncho kept the Rhinos at bay until Wolfe burst through the middle and found Drake on a lead, 40 out and on a slight angle. He slotted home the quarters first and the Rhinos were all of a sudden one kick down. Tyrekos was gettin gplenty of the ball and when a bomb into the open Rhino forward line found the Kid by himself all hell was cutting loose on the Tiger bench as the Kid marked and played on into an open goal and went “BANG” to even the scores with 5 minutes of classic footy to go.
It was classic football as both teams threw everything they had at the ball. Fitz and Vince continued to defy the Rhinos midfielders and Uhlmann finally started to come alive as the Tigers swung momentum their way and if not for some poor kicking at goal, could have sewn the game up but as it was, Morgan was able to run out of the backline and find Miller who went further afield to Drake who copped a nice one around the chops from Pace. As Poncho argued the call with MacGlashan, Drake was able to play on and have a bounce (first in 15 years just quietly) and run into an open goal and put the Rhinos in front for the first time since his first kick in the first quarter. The Rhino crowd was abuzz as Katie popped her 5th 312 on the sideline and Haysie realised tonight was his turn to drive the new Chevy Aveo home. Mustard was throwing moves left, right and center as the Tigers tried to come back against a determined Rhino outfit that ceded 3 points for lack of numbers and had had the better of the Tiger forwards and with minutes to go, it was still anyones game.
The Tigers through Brennan and Fish were able to continue to dominate the middle after Wolfe copped one high and went to la la land. The Tigers attacked and low and behold, the spoiler in Pat’s brother Brian pops up with a big grab in front of Mike. His ensuing shot was called wide by Hayse (possibly after having one of katies 312’s?) who made up for the earlier indiscretion against the Rhinos but it still evened the scores and made the last two minutes a literal free for all. The Rhinos tried in vain but couldn’t get the ball forward and the Tige’s were starting to run over them as they found the mercurial Hoyt who went back and went BANG to put the Tigers a goal up. After that, the tigers ran out the final seconds to condemn the Rhinos to a futile season and a winter of soul searching. The Tigers, buoyed by a big second quarter were too strong and the Metro GF looks to be a classic as they will welcome back Oscar, Tommy Gun and a sleu of others including, possibly, Warrick Burgmann. For the Rhinos, a look at their list suggests a very good team but too few carried too many and changes will have to be made. Pick ups in Mike, Mike Tyreko, John Scher, Adam and the great form of Disco Panek were soured by the loss of playmakers Plant, Johnson, Ambrosino, McCoombe, Leblanc and the disappearance of Rhino legend McClamroch. Some soul searching ahead at Miller towers but with first pick in next years draft, expect big things from the Rhinos (especially if another Dangerous Dave Allen pops up).
The Tigers are the real deal though and fully deserved their win. Fitz put a smile on the United selectors dials and Vince was outstanding. Poncho gave them plenty and when the game was on the line, veterans in Uhlmann and Hoyt were able to stand up and be counted. Good games out of Ortiz, Frenchie, Biggs and Fish helped and they eventually ran out winners 5. 10: 40 (+ 3 points bonus = 43) to 5. 7: 37.
|Goals||Rhinos: Drake (4), OBK
Tigers: Hoyt B (2), Uhlmann, Brennan, Doorhy J
|Best||Rhinos: Tyrekos, Adam, Morgan J, Miller
Tigers: Brennan, Doorhy J, Bradley, Doorhy V, Fitzgerald