What a perfect afternoon for footy down at Waveland it was on Saturday. Chicago playing their first home game of the season against our arch nemesis, the Nashville Kangaroos. The Roos have been very solid for the past few years, the Swans would go back a long way to remember their last win against them! Playing for the Wayne Schwass Cup always adds additional spice to this game, this was a big game for the Swans. While The Swans had been competitive in the past couple years, we had struggled to reward themselves for effort.
Start time was pushed to 5:30pm as the field was fully booked; the game was actually played in perfect conditions. While The Swans had not been able to get their best side on the park for quite some time; they were finally confident that today was going to be the day, at least on paper it appeared this way.
Pony Boy was fresh back from the Revo assault in the International Cup in Melbourne. As a side note, the Revos played extremely well and we’re very well served in the ruck with our very own Pony Boy, Alex Wallace played very well against Finland until his Revo campaign came to an end with shoulder problems, congratulations boys!
So the Swans had a squad of 23 going into the game, Nashville came up to Chi-town with the bare minimum of 16 players, so it was decided we would play 14 a side. Given the size of Waveland, 14’s or 16’s are well suited.
The first quarter was a torid affair with no side able to gain the ascendency. Luke Nemeth was working hard for the Kangaroos as was Pedro for the Swans. But it was the defence that proved the stumbling block for the Kangaroos; Frank & new comer Brad Clifton continually thwarted their attacking forays, ‘Mac’ McLimore & the junk yard dog, Joe Swierupski back wearing the Swans jersey after a lengthy break through injury. Something to be genuinely excited about is ‘Mac’ who plays like a man possessed, his grunt at half back was a pleasure to watch, keep an eye on this player, expect big things. The red and white went into quarter time leading by a straight kick.
Both sides began to find targets inside the forward area in the second quarter. Another tough quarter with the Roos beginning to land a few body blows, something the Swans knew they had to be aware of when playing the Roos. The only way to play against sides like this is to hurt the, on the scoreboard and that is exactly what the Swans did, rounding out the second quarter with 3 goals to 2, going into the long break, 13 points clear.
Certainly not a match winning break. The message at the break was to regroup snd begin from scratch start, continue on with the blocking, shepherding and link up team work, that had been a feature of the Swans game in the first two quarters.
The third quarter began slowly for the Swans, and things looked ominous with the Roos jumping out of the gates to take the lead halfway through the third. And then all of a sudden it was the Woody & Seano Show the duo proved no match for the inexperienced Kangaroo back line. Dougy & Pony got a sneaky ones and this all but knocked the wind out of the Kangaroo sail.
The last quarter was one way traffic with the red & white lads lining up to kick a goal. Gloves chipped in for one of his trademark ‘soccer’ goals, one that Ronaldo would have been proud of. A couple of lads ran into open goals, and should have really rubbed salt in the wound.
Some really tremendous efforts all around the ground which was pleasing from a coaching point of view. Pedro played a blinder and hope this is a sign of things to come, Frank was the glue that held the back line together, I already mentioned Mac who is an excitement machine, he has a bright future with the Swans! Pony Boy had no competition in the ruck, and when they did, they message was just to take the body, sadly for them Pony was always one step ahead. Russ was understandably a bit rusty but his hands are always going to be a huge benefit late in the game when a big mark is needed.
The forward line functioned very well with Seano bagging 4, and Woody his able assistant threading 3 through the sticks when the game was there to be won! Hoyt battled well all day, and Tommy Shearman completely nullified their big forward.
A really fantastic win for the Swans who finally get some reward for effort, and one that should give us some good momentum into next weeks Sponsors game against Ohio Valley River Rats. Training has been really good of late, albeit light on numbers, but has been really energetic and clearly some of the boys are getting into their fitness groove before Nationals, which is only 5 short weeks away. Some of the blokes clearly need to work on their fitness, and of course there is no time like the present.
Swans 1.2.8 3.3.21 4.4.28 4.3.27 – 12.11.83
Roos 0.2.2 2.2.14 3.1.19 1.1.7 – 6.6.42
Goals: Seano 4, Woody 3, Pony 2, Brad, Dougy, Gloves
Best: Pony, Seano, Russ, Mac, Frank, Pedro,