USAFL Central Regional Tournament Wrap Up
Chicago Swans vs Austin Crows
The Swannies’ tournament started with a tough match against a team who had won 3 of the past 5 National Championships in Division 1. Jeff “I-play-for-the-USA” Kraemer was his usual self, working hard in the ruck and trying to drag the rest of the team along with him. Ajani “AJ” Crosley provided plenty of run and chase on the wing. Brad “The-Great-White-Hope” Clifton’s move into the middle of the ground was a great tactical shift and he spent the rest of the day winning hard balls and pirouetting through traffic. Unfortunately, poor kicking at goal from Marcus ”Cheese” Colby ensured that we were not able to keep in touch with the boys from Texas.
Thanks to Austin for lending us a couple of players throughout the day and ensuring we were able to field a full side!
Chicago Swans vs Denver Bulldogs
Our second match for the day was against the 6-time Division 1 National Champion Denver Bulldogs. We played much of the game from our back half, where Eric “Money” Monroe starred at full back and Mikæl “Magic” Ðråzba and former Kangaroo Matt "I'll-pick-a-fight-with-a-guy-whos-4-feet-taller-than-me" Filchak piled on pressure and gave good carry out of the backline and through the middle of the ground. Colby went down with a crippling ankle injury which prompted a coaching masterstroke from Coach Crameri, sending Gordon “G-Train” Barnett to full forward for the second half, sparking some activity on the scoreboard for the Swans.
Goals: Crosley (1), Barnett (1)
Chicago Swans vs Nashville Kangaroos
The boys showed that our pre-season had paid off, running the tournament hosts off their feet to finish the day with a strong win. After playing in the forward line earlier in the day, Jeremy “Swingman” Hede played a commanding role in the backline in this match. The Kangaroos were unable to hold on against the powerhouse performance in the midfield from Alex "I-drive-a-Subaru" Campanella and Joe "Shirt-Off" Caffarini. Adam "My-knees-don't-bend" Strachan and Stu "F**k-it's-hot" Nicol plugged the forward line, applying the pressure to Nashville's backs, whilst Kyle "Mr. Wisconsin" Maichle caused havoc around the ground. Tom “Barrel” Crameri lived up to his name, kicking a 65m torpedo after the siren to cement the win and send the fans into a frenzy.
Goals: Crameri (4), Monroe (1), Barnett (1)
This year’s regionals saw the debut of the mighty Mid-West All Stars Women’s team, a combination of players from Chicago, Nashville, Minnesota, Des Moines, Atlanta and Cincinnati. Whilst most players had just met that day and over half the players were new to the game, you certainly would not have known it from the teamwork and camaraderie shown on the field throughout the day!
Game 1 – Texas Heat
A scorching midday game against the Texas Heat saw a strong opening half from both teams with the Mid West All Stars up at half time, proving to be the more dominant through the middle. Unfortunately as the heat grew more intense the Swans were unable to convert up forward, letting the Texas heat slip through with a few forward entries to score an extra two goals and take the win just before the final siren. A strong effort by all with special mention to new Chicago player Sheridan Agasilou and second gamers Sarah Roughead and Tess Maisey.
Game 2 – Denver Lady Bulldogs
A quick break for the All Stars and the ladies took to the field for their second game against reigning Nationals Champions Denver Lady Bulldogs. A strong hit out from the outset, the All Stars starting midfield put up a strong show against the Bulldogs, demonstrating solid football skills and impressive teamwork. New players in particular took to the game like a Swan to water showing they weren’t afraid of a hard-ball-get, putting their head over the ball and contesting marks all over the field. Showing us just why they’re the champs in the league, the forward barrage from the Bulldogs was relentless, however the All Stars backline consistently took intercepted marks across the half back thanks to Laurell and Carson, and on the goal line thanks to Tess and KP to keep the Bulldogs from surging ahead. Link kicks up through the midfield led by experienced players Emily, Bron, Natalie and Kate pushed the All Stars toward our forward fifty, however were unable to stop the Bulldogs gaining a hard fought win.
Thanks to all the players for travelling from all over the mid-west to form a team of true All Stars, we can’t wait to see you all again at Nationals!
Congratulations to everyone who was making their first appearance with the Swans at a regional tournament and thanks to all those who supported the team over the weekend!
- C Swan