Japan Goannas Finish 3rd in Asian Australian Rules Football Championships The Japan Goannas returned victoriously to Tokyo on Monday 12 September, finishing 3rd place in the 6th Annual Asian Australia Rules Football Championships in Manila. In a promising debut performance the Japan Goannas got off to a superb start in their first game by unexpectedly beating the impressive Bali Geckos team by 3 points. Best players were Jon Holroyd, Michael Huberts and Yasutaka Tanaka. The second game saw the Japan Goannas compete against the Jakarta Bintangs and a stirring second-half comeback saw the Japan Goannas run out deserved winners by 5 points. Yuta Tsutumi, Kazuaki Hara and Pete Hosking were stand out performers throughout this game. With 2 wins from 2 games, the Japan Goannas started to attract the attention of opposing teams, and with an easy win against Malaysia in Game 3, the Goannas were in a strong position to make the final. A win against the Thailand Tigers in the 4th game would see the Japan Goannas play against Singapore in the Grand Final. However a heartbreaking late goal to the Tigers against a visibly tiring Japan Goannas, saw the team lose their only game by one straight kick, thereby handing a place in the final to Bali on percentage only, as both teams finished with the same win/loss ratio. At the Official Presentation on the Saturday evening, 3 Japan Goannas players from the 8 other teams competing were rewarded with selection in the Asian All-Star team, receiving their medal from Collingwood AFL legend Peter Daicos. They were Shane Flanagan and Yasutaka Tanaka (both Tokyo Goannas) and Yuta Tsutumi (Japan Samurais’). Goannas President and player Matthew Hegarty was delighted by his team’s performances over the weekend, stating that, “This was a sensational result for the Japan Goannas and sets the standard for future teams in coming years. Tournaments like this can only build momentum and increase exposure of Aussie Rules in Japan and throughout the Region.” “Many opposition players commented that it was encouraging to see Aussies Rules becoming successful in Japan, especially among Japanese Nationals and expatriates,” Hegarty added. Further Article Added By Captian, “Oohaah” Daniel Mcgrath: ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS – MANILA 2005 For the first time ever, Japan sent a national representative team to battle it out at the Asian Championships on the weekend of 10/11 September. As the Japan Goannas loitered in the Narita Airport lounge there were many questions going thru our minds…would we manage to win a game, would Peter Daicos laugh at our rabble of a team, would Manila be ready for the human wrecking ball Bump and Grind…? All these questions were answered to some extent over the course of this balltearing weekend… Not knowing what to expect, a squad of 18 mustered up the dough for what would turn out to be an amazing trip. All decked out in our snazzy tour t-shirts at Narita Airport we at least looked the part, despite Bump and Grind performing an erotic strip tease whilst putting on his shirt. The Banter checked in his selection of irons and before we knew it the beer and bloody mary`s were flowing on the plane as lip was being dished out to the hag flight attendants at a rapid rate. Some blokes had a kip, Pubes sat there sulking at the lack of male stewardesses whilst Jonny H never took his eyes of the screen as Miss Congeniality II mesmerized him, a quality movie I may add and Sandra Bullock was very stiff not to take home an oscar for that gem. After the voluntary cavity searches were over and B&G`s bitchfight with the immigration official was resolved, the Japan Goannas headed to the hotel. Plans to have an early nite and focus on our games the following day were quickly forgotten as the boys went and got lagered at the nearest gogo bar. Waking up with sore heads on match day a few things from the nite before were confirmed, we are all `handsome` (according to every Filipino bird) and feel like dickheads being called Sir by every other Filipino person, The Banter is crap at connect 4, Ricey is a dirty bugger, Hot Dogs has by far the hairiest chest rug in the team, Pubes is shithouse at jenga, B&G is as we all previously knew, pure EVIL and the Japanese boys were pretty damn disciplined in getting some valuable shut eye while their senior gaijin teammates emptied 10 dozen bottles of San Miguel. The polo club grounds were in pristine nick compared to our Narita paddock but a bit of rain left them a bit soft under foot. As we sized up our opposition we quickly realized most of them were pensioners and bloody big. We took on Bali first and got out the blocks quickly as Smokin Pete was running around like a madman and playing some fine footy early, reminiscent of his earlier VFA career circa 1963. Hot Dogs nailed a good sausage roll deep in the pocket early on and the Japan Goannas went into the half a couple of goals up. The Geckos kept coming and a spot on call from the white maggots that disallowed a goal saw us stumble across the line by a few points. The Geckos were right pissed off and the skipper moaned like a cheap Filipino hooker for a good 5 minutes but we stood hachiko style by our mate Flanno, our dogged on baller and honest diplomat who would never tell a lie and swore he touched the ball on the mark, that was good enough for us, BULLSHIT Flanno, u lying bastard! Taishi played a great game on the wing and Helgus did a good role floating around midfield/back barking orders. The second game saw us take on Helgus`s old mob the Bintangs. A see sawing encounter throughout saw Tsutsumi and Hara put in great performances with the former kicking the winning goal after 6 consecutive 15 metre penalties including the bintang player pelting his mouthguard at the ump. Flanno also managed to kick a great sausage roll and despite having sweat and sunscreen in my eyes and being 100 metres away, at first glance the ball may have appeared to be spinning in a drop punt motion, a first for Flanno, the jury is still out on that one however. Ballsax was going great guns in the ruck whilst Jonny H was ruling the back half with an iron fist. Yasu played probably his best game for the Goannas and as usual Trav continually made contests and put his head over the ball when his team needed him the most. Two wins from two games, no one was more surprised than the players themselves, Heggsy was doing a grand job coaching and Team Manager Andy Dunlop was running a tight ship on the boundary line. As the boys were tiring we managed to build up enough steam to topple Malaysia by 2 goals in our third match. The Banter, playing with a new lease of life after locating some shorts that didn`t cut of the circulation in his knob region, was doing a great stopping job in the defensive half whilst the Pube took a solid pre siren grab to seal the win. Koichi looked like he had just dropped a load when he nailed his first goal such was the elation on his face. Before any of us had realized it, we were one game away from the Grand Final. Final hurdle was Thailand, a good bunch of blokes who were stationed next to us in the team tent line up. We knew, despite being battered and bruised and no chance of making the final that they would hit us hard and not go down without a fight. As it turns out we also ran out of legs and went down by 5 points in a great game. With 16 fit players all day and no bench rotation we simply ran outta gas. Ballsax rucked tirelessly all day and Ricey put in 4 solid games despite missing an absolute gimme 5 metres out directly in front. This is the only time I would ever put the corny expression `team effort` in the best players column, but for this day of footy it would be a sin not to. Everyone gave their all and put in till there was nothing left in the tank, it was awesome to watch from the sidelines. The Singapore Wombats and there small army of players (40 odd….) ran out winners over the Bali Geckos in a good hard final, No real surprises there. Needless to say the festivities kicked on well into the early morning… Some things of note: Flanno, Tsutsumi and Yasu being selected in the team of the tournament, well done lads, the Goannas scooping first prize for the best dressed team (and rightly so) with our classy yukatas, there were a stack of other memorable moments that would not be fit to read on a sports club webpage…the word for the trip was SPICE. Mention this one word down the clubhouse and you`ll be able to hear some ripping yarns in the dark seedy corners of the bar…till then, well done boys.