Thee opening weekend of our football season saw us set sail South down the picturesque 65 to Louisville for Kings of Louisville tournament between Nashville Kangaroos, Columbus Jackaroos, Ohio Valley River Rats & a mix up of the spares and a new team from Cleveland.
Some of the boys loitered overnight in Indianapolis; a few others couldn’t drive past the birthplace of John Cougar Mellancamp and set up camp in Seymour, IN. On paper the squad of 22 heading down looked really solid; which also included a number of star recruits donning the Chicago jersey for the first time. Congrats to those boys, Russ, Dennis, Xavier & Toby.
The scene was set on a sunny 70 odd degree day, with three quarter size grounds and 14 a side format proposed. Upon our arrival, we were informed that only 4 teams would play, with the lads from Cleveland not having enough players to make the trip.
So the schedule was set, Chicago Swans V Columbus Jackaroos and the Nashville Kangaroos V Ohio Valley River Rats. We ended up playing a full game against the Jackaroos, a game they were desperate to win, having never beaten Chicago previously. Chicago knew the Jacks would come out firing, and really took the game up to us. In a game where Chicago never really threatened saw Columbus ultimately run out winners by 5 points.
A good tough hit out first up, from a team that had been nipping at our heels for a while now. Led well by a solid defense and an excellent game from one if the best center half forwards in the game.
That said, considering it was our first game of the season, and with blokes like Ponyboy sunning himself in WA, regular full back Hoyty plucking a few notes at some dive bar in Chi-town and ‘Big Bad’ Al McGlashan preserving his last hurrah for a home game, the boys needed to pick up the slack and fill the holes.
There were indeed some promising signs of good things to come from new recruit Russ, working his way around the ground in a tireless performance. Since defecting from Milwaukee a couple back, Pat Defors has become a rock solid defender for Chicago. And a big improver, who could make a push for this year’s MVP award, Jayson Schmelzer was in and under everything on Saturday. There were signs shown yesterday that Jays might be useful as a pinch hit midfielder in the future.
|Swans: Patterson (2), Bradley (2), St John (2), Schmelzer J (2), Ortiz, Edwards
|Swans: Schmelzer J, Edwards, Panek, Adams, Defors, Fitzgerald
The second game was played in Nationals format, with 20 minute halves. Once again we battled hard in tough conditions; We really let ourselves down in the second quarter kicking 6 behinds. While the work rate was pleasing, we can’t allow teams to get four goals ahead and expect to peg them back later in the game. We did eventually run out of legs in the last few minutes of the game, however were still a chance to take the win with 90 seconds to go.
Solid efforts by newcomer’s Russ Adams and Toby Patterson, and regulars, Dave Fitzpatrick, Frank Bradley, Josh Edwards & Mike Panek gave us a lot of drive from their respective positions on the field.
|Swans: Meyer (2), Bradley, Schmelzer J
Ohio Valley: None
|Swans: Adams, St John, Defors, Fitzgerald
Ohio Valley: None