MILWAUKEE, WI – On a beautiful Wisconsin day, where the mercury threatened 90 in the breathless expanses of Brown Deer Park, Chicago United headed to the home of Millers, Brewers, Bucks and a tonne of leftover Germans to take on the might and power of the Bombers. A long history preceded the interlopers from the south and it was with much aplomb that the two teams took the field, marshaled very impressively by Milwaukee legends Gazza and big Plugger. All that was missing was an Al MacGlashan hurling abuse at the two old combatants in white from the sidelines.
Chicago let their intentions be known from the jump. With the magnificently quaffed Jason Wilhelm dominating the air, Chicago onballers Hayse, Brennan, Zukowski and Blundell were getting plenty of the pill and they had plenty of willing participants up forward demanding the ball. Hoyt was again busy, Roofy was being double teamed but still managing to present, Gordon Ambrosino looked like he maybe running into some circa 2006 form and the little Tiger in Nolan McKeegan was being a pain in the butt for the Milwaukee defence…. if only they all could’ve kicked straight! Time and again Chicago peppered the goals for no joy until the flamboyant Ambrosino snapped impressively to bring up the first two finger salute for the visitors. Chicago continued to attack but the Milwaukee defence continued to defy them and as the quarter went on, the Bombers started to show glimpses of the talent they have mustered over the off season. With Chicagos inaccuracy and a more confident Milwaukee team, the teams went into the first break nice and close with the United leading 2.7: 19 to 0.2: 2.
Hendrie swung the moves and the United responded in kind. Drake went into the middle with Hayse, Wilhelm and Brennan and together the foursome combined well winning numerous clearances and continually forcing the ball forward to their hungry forwards who were still being kept under wraps by their Bomber counterparts. Finally the big man in Roofy got free and was able to goal to set the score board ticking. Chicago continued to force their will on Milwaukee and it was all the Bombers could do to hang on and not succumb. The United kept attacking and the ball was rarely out of their forward 50 and with Hoyt, Ambrosino, Dorsett and McKeegan smelling goals like a post game Schlitz, it was the Bombers who had to hold fast. The Chi town boys started pummeling the goals and brought up four majors for the quarter with innacuracy being the main reason this game wasn’t over by the half. The Bombers were able to hit back with one late and at the major change it was United 6.9: 45 to the Bombers who were also getting a case of the Ian Baker Finch yips with 1.4: 10.
The third was a dour struggle broken up by a sneaky Ambrosino goal, the only for the quarter. With the heat rising, the midfielders struggled to run out the quarter with both backlines getting on top. Hayse was a ball magnet as was Blundell whose game was nothing short of sensational out on the wing made famous by Billy Uhlmann who was sadly missing from the United squad. Frank Bradley, along with McHale, Zukowski, Fitzgerald, Drake and legendary figure Al Mac… whoops, I mention legend and instantly think of Al!…. legendary figure big Spider had the backline rolling along like a Canadian on 15 beers to keep the Bombers goalless but at the other end, big Roofy and the dangerous Brian Hoyt were also finding it difficult to break free of the ‘Heater’ in Heath Moore and his band of merry men.
At the orange break, the United had a seemingly insurmountable lead of 42 points, leading 7.13: 55 to 1.7: 13.
The last quarter became a story of how far as the Bomber backs, worn down from repaeted United attacks continued to offer as much resistance as possible against a Chicago midfield that had completely taken over the game and boasting an impeneterable backline.
Goals started to flow as Roofy kicked 2 in succession, Hoyt got another as did the little Paddy in McKeegan to send him to the fine tally of 1.9 for the afternoon and bolster his chances for the golden goose. Seconds later though, deep in the Bomber forward line, an errant handball from Hayse left Drake floundering on the ground like a beached whale and his efforts to tap the ball through the Bomber goals saw him wincing in pain, anguish and embarassment as the ball, mercilessly, stopped right on the bloody line allowing a Bomber to swoop in and soccer their second through and return to pat the Pakenham boy on the head and thank him for his kind gesture and then to congratulate him on wresting the goose from McKeegans hands.
With it all over bar the shouting, Roofy took the last grab of the game on the boundary and Brain Hoyt like, kicked a magnificent banana to put the icing on the cake for the United as they set up what will be one of the biggest games in MAAFL history in August when they head south to take on Nemeth, Vsetka and the Roo Boys in what will be a cracker of a game.
For Chicago, a wins a win and they dominated this game for the whole 90 odd minutes but bad kicking and a stout Milwaukee defence kept this one a tad closer than the scoreline shall suggest. With Gambaro, Uhlmann and a host of others to return, training must be emphasized by all to ensure your spot in this team. Wilhelm was sensational in the ruck and his duel with the Bomber ruckman was fantastic all day. Hayse picked up at least 40 possessions and was instrumental in the win. Dougie Fresh, Betty Palmer, Zukowski, McHale and Ambrosino were others who stood out for the United. McKeegan had the ball on a (crooked) string and will be invaluable in Nashville (look for him to put his hand up for the runaway train that night too just quietly!). Old timers Spider, Bradley, Drake and Hoyt all played well in the challenging conditions and in the end it was a gutsy, if unpolished win for United. The Bombers were stoic and threw all they had at their highly fancied opponents. Heater was excellent in defence, Siegel ran himself into the ground in the middle and their ruckman was fantastic (as was # 1, sorry don’t have a name). The Bombers have some good young kids coming though and with some positive recruiting, they will quickly return to the top of the MAAFL heap.
Finally, cheers must go out to the fantastic job done by Gaz and Plugger in the middle….. and both did actually get out of the middle… though never happy about it!! Well done lads.
United: Ward (4), Hoyt B (3), Ambrosino (2), Hayes, McKeegan
United: Ambrosino, McHale, Blundell