Goannas 120 v Hawks 83
Q1 6.3 v 2.3
Q2 9.8 v 5.5
Q3 14.10 v 9.6
Q4 18.12 v 12.11
The Tokyo Goannas played out a tough, uncompromising match in oppressive conditions against a solid Eastern Hawks line up on Sunday, July 13. In 34 degree heat and high humidity, 15 brave and dedicated members of the Goannas squad journeyed to the Radisson Hotel in Narita to compete in the Japan AFL Top League, Round 3 match.
The first quarter was a tough contest with some big hits laid by both teams. The Hawks, which comprise of veterans and university graduates, consist of some old, wise heads and they made their intentions clear from the outset with some physical pressure and excellent use of the ball. The Goannas forwards were well supported by McGrath, Wilson and Huddleston who got plenty of the ball in the first quarter. Sullivan and Mitchell finished well with 2 goals a piece to push the Goannas out to a 24 point lead at quarter time.
The second quarter was a tough, even affair as the heat had an impact on all players. Constant rotations was the key and the Goannas were well led by Cumming and Phillips, who both played their best games for the club and provided excellent rebound from the back line. Cole on a wing had an impact and ran hard all day. Huberts in the ruck was dominating in one of his best ruck displays for the club and his deft tap work was Cox-like. The goannas held on for a three goal lead at half time and clearly had some work to do.
The Hawks got off to flyer in the third quarter and piled on 3 unanswered goals which brought the margin to within two straight kicks. However the Goannas responded strongly with some committed football and strong tackling in the desert-like heat. McGrath’s strong marking around the ground was a feature as was Cummings’blocking and run off play in the backline. Archer, Rudolph and Hill all chipped in with some assists in a spirited quarter which saw the Goannas reassert their authority on the game. Huddleston again won the ‘Rexona 1%er award’with a brilliant diving smother, at full stretch, which resulted in a Goannas goal. Ogilvy down back was the designated kicker and hit several targets to get the Goannas back on track. Berenholtz, in his first Goannas appearance contributed and his breakaway bounce deep in defence had everyone spellbound –including himself.
The last quarter was a solid, even performance by the Goannas however the heat was taking its toll. Liddell, who had a lively presence up forward went down with cramp, while Mitchell was removed from the ground after a heavy fall whilst flying for a mark on the fat side of the ground. Huddleston played no further part in the game after going off with a calf injury. Phillips kicked two nice goals in the last quarter including a boundary snap which earned him goal of the day. Wilson ran the game out well and his endurance under the oppressive conditions was quite amazing. In the end the Goannas ran out comfortable, but hard fought, 37 point winners in their toughest match of the year.
After the game, the team enjoyed a few beers, a cold outdoor shower and watched the Senshuu Powers V Komazawa Magpies game under the shade of a cherry blossom tree, before making their way back to Tokyo for some much needed sleep.
Special thanks to Roger for coaching/playing with the Komazawa Magpies team, which is an important contribution to ensure the continued development of AFL in Japan. He also happened to play a blinder and gather more than 30 kicks before tweaking that ‘Ol’hammy of his.